Skip to comments.Work Is Work: Why Free Internships Are Immoral
Posted on 05/15/2012 8:56:45 AM PDT by C19fan
This summer, millions of students -- some graduating, some between school years -- will spend the summer working. Some will work at restaurants and on retail floors, where working is called "working." Some will work at think tanks and non-profit organizations, where working is called "interning." Estimates put the number of unpaid interns every year between 500,000 and one million. So, in a country where working for free is mostly illegal, a student population somewhere between the size of Tucson and Dallas will be working for free, in plain view.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
On the engineering side, I always paid interns minimum wage, but they could be a money sink, too. The only bright spot was when you found 'the one' and were able to move them up the payscale because they were good.
I completely agree with the headline. Let the interns pay the employers for the skills and experience that they would otherwise be getting at no charge.
What a stupid writer!
Abolish the unpaid internships and watch gender studies, sociology and similar majors wither on the vine.
It is possible to work without producing anything, public employees are adept at this.
I never did find a job that "used" my degree, and I attribute some of that to a distinct lack of work experience.
What the heck, I went into IT instead, and it keeps my bills paid. I can't complain.
Its the same with raising the minimum wage. stores won't hire the same amount of baggers and pay them more, they'll hire half as many and work them harder. Those on the left are uniformly ignorant of basic economics.
My issue in “Unpaid” intenships is that it is legalized extortion. “Wash my car”, or “Get my coffee” is hardly on-the-job training. It’s legalized slavery.
If the intern isn’t worth half or even a quarter the pay-rate that a degreed professional “fresh-out” is worth - fire him, and invest the money in someone worthy of the job.
In my experience, we hire “Interns” at a substancially lower rate of pay than we do Grads without any experience. We assign the “Intern” a series of tasks at a level of sophistication that will determine whether a more permanent job offer is going to await him at the end of the summer.
In “the old days”, it wasn’t unusual for a good peforming Intern, with a positive attitude to be offered not only a job when he graduated, but the final semester “paid for” if he would commit to start at the company at graduation.
The Internship served dual purposes. It gave the company a low-cost “trial” of an Intern’s attitude, committment and capabilities - but it also gave the Intern a glimpse at what the “real world” was like when he graduated.
The “Free” Internship offers none of the benefits these programs used to offer - and advances a form of slavery that will discourage students. And given the quantity of students graduating with a meaningful degree on the decline - it’s very short-sighted.
Now, for graduates in “Women’s Studies” and other non-sensical degrees - what did they expect to do when they graduated? They can serve me dinner, wash my dishes and weed my lawn. But, they should be paid at least minimum wages while they do that.
Let the market decide.
The left is hell-bent to insure that no young people work. have experiences or education outside of their ideological influence.
Everyone must be fully dependent on Big Brother.
There was a thread on there just a few weeks ago about graduates who got their degrees in Fashion Marketing, being forced to work "internships" for free. They were working 40-50 hours a week, getting coffee, picking up trash - on an "internship" program that provided neither training, experience nor any benefits whatsoever.
This amounts to extortion - and before you say that there are no jobs for this degree, I suggest you look at your local Kohls, Walmart, Macey's, Dillards, Foley's, Target, Shopko, Target, Sears, Penny's and even Costco and Sam's Club. The stores sell and display various goods the way they do for a reason. It doesn't happen by accident. There are untold thousands of people behind the scenes, making these decisions. To prey upon these folks, and that is what the free internshi programs are - is nothing more than a step into indentured servatitude.
Now, if they want to pay them minumum wage, and have them work like any other person; until they EARN their position - that's fine. But, demanding "Free" work, without pay, benefits, time-off - is simply economic slavery.
It was harsh, but it was real. If you could last through that, you started gaining your rep, and good job offers flowed. I left culinary school and moved directly into a kitchen manager position, based on referals from those I had interned for.
Fine, I’ll pay them $2.35 an hour and they earn the tips...
I was fortunate enough to have a paid internship (significantly abover minimum wage at the time), and the employer treated me well. Even better, I received school credits toward my degree, and I eventually worked with a senior systems' analyst that taught me a lot about software requirements and design. The icing on the cake was that I got to work with a very cutting-edge development tool, and I learned how to become very creative with it, which made me even more attractive to that employer.
I didn't just jump into the internship and get that from day 1, however. I had some, more menial tasks--perhaps to show them my mettle, or to show them my perserverance. So I can't help but wonder if these non-paid interns, with a little fortitude and a positive attitude, couldn't work into getting more responsibilities, and larger, more complex projects?
Sure, there are a lot of companies looking to save a buck, I get that. But good people with good skills are hard to come by, and if someone has proved themself, why wouldn't a company consider giving them more challenges? It could be win-win for both.
I’ve seen an abusive form of unpaid internship. It has a term of one year.
How convenient. When the term expires, there is a fresh crop of graduates ready to take their places.
Reading the linked article, I noticed how the writer segued from “summer internships” to internships in general.
Many of these unpaid internships are the ONLY way into a desired career field for some people, and they are primarily in urban areas with high costs of living. This limits the pool to those children of the well-to-do who can AFFORD to work for free.
A great way of limiting upward mobility and making sure that everyone in that career is of the same socioeconomic strata.
Free internships are almost the only way that a recent graduate will gain real work experience. The lefty complaint about internships is that they would prefer to see more on the job training without all the prerequisites of degrees. It’s a way to try to force private business to hire people for jobs and get the businesses to foot the bill for the education and training.
But, how long could you afford to commute, bringing your lunch, paying for gas, insurance, car payments, clothing, utilities, rent and everything else when your pay is ZERO?
Now, if the pay was Minimum Wage; I agree.
But, when a person is “forced” to work for nothing, then we have legalized slavery. I see this as a very bad thing.
The way you had your internship, is the way that internships were designed to be. Menial tasks to judge your mettle, prove yourself worthy of the investment of time and effort for advanced training - then the opportunties opened up.
Even back in the day of Apprentenceships, the apprentice was paid something. Even board and room is better than ZERO.
>>>Its legalized slavery
Compensation doesn’t have to be money to be worthwhile.
The interns receive non-monetary compensation by putting the possibly impressive position on their resumes. Colleges and employers indeed look at this.
The value is far greater than minimum wage. Running to Starbucks for Mr. Big at Megabucks Corporation or Bleeding Heart non-profit will differentiate this job applicant from the herd when applying to college or for a job afterwards.
These positions are often political gifts to the children of friends. They are not put in important positions, but as someone commented, they can cause damage.
In any case, why interfere in a free market situation?
Unpaid internship is a method of obtaining employees while not paying for them. Having observed the college internship system first-hand, employers, with few exceptions, use the interns for go-fers, etc. No real learning experience, no income, just free work for the employers.
An internship should be treated as a real job, paid at least minimum wage, and having a true work experience.
How long can you afford to work 40-50 hours a week, for free? You know, pay rent, eat food, pay utilties, gas, car payment, buy clothes and all the other assorted living expenses?
Doesn’t this pretty much garrentee that only people of a certain economic strata (or with parents from that strata) are every going to “qualify” for a position?
Or consider the very ‘real world’ scenario. 1 day before you complete your internship - you are replaced. Thank you for your service - next sucker please.
Good questions. I suppose many of today's students would use student loan money, which is a bad answer, I do admit. Were I not paid, I couldn't have done it.
I do think that no one is "forced" to take these internships; they are still voluntary. If I were a student, I would definitely look for a different job with pay, even if I couldn't claim it as an "iternship" assignment. Then, I would look to learn whatever business I was in, to gain as much knowledge about business concepts.
Whether that's in retail, construction, whatever. Learn about book-keeping and accounting, learn about the IT systems, learn about inventory management. If you worked at McDonald's, but could legitimately say that you took on additional assignments to manage inventory, or that you produced weekly and monthly sales' reports, that will catch someone's eye on a resume. Of course, you'd better be the best fryman at that franchise before you ask for additional work.
What you refer to are management problems. Interesting, but in the 2 "internships" I held, I never had to wash anyones cars or get coffee, unless I was getting some for myself.
What I did in the first, at a radio station, was write news stories, do simple engineering tasks, like loading commercials onto carts, swept floors, untangled cables, and anything else that it would have been too expensive to have a paid person do. But I learned alot. Eventually I got into production and more sophisticated engineering tasks.
At my second internship (a recording studio), I untangled cables, swept floors, emptied ashtrays, and learned how to properly mic instruments, as well as microphone selection. And the little things, like making sure that a pair of headphones across the studio wasn't plugged in while recording a Marshall stack, because the Neuman U-47 mic would pick up the sound and cause phase problems!
Though I have never actually gone into either industry (have you ever tried getting a PAYING job at a recording studio?), I learned TONS of stuff and gained experience I never would have gotten had the radio station or studio had to pay me.