Skip to comments.Skip the internship: To really learn, get a job
Posted on 06/19/2013 4:46:57 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Whats an internship worth? As much as it pays, apparently. Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures had violated federal and New York minimum-wage laws by not paying its production interns.
The plaintiffs in the case claimed that they were doing work that paid employees wouldve done otherwise. And they got nothing out of it that paid employees wouldnt have. The judge agreed: Undoubtedly, [the interns] received some benefits from their internships, such as résumé listings, job references and an understanding of how a production office works... But those benefits were incidental to working in the office like any other employees and were not the result of internships intentionally structured to benefit them.
If thats the new standard, a lot of employers are in big trouble. Like politicians, for instance. Asked in 2010 how she could having unpaid interns when she wants other employers to be forced to pay the minimum wage, Nancy Pelosi replied: We train them in what we do here in government.
Sure, all those interns answering phone calls from irate constituents and stuffing envelopes will undoubtedly learn how a congressional office works. Is that enough to justify not paying them? Pelosi had better hope it doesnt come up.
In fact, though liberal politicians dont want to say it, a job is worth what an employee decides its worth. If a 22-year-old college graduate wants to work for free for a summer to find out how the senator takes his coffee, rub shoulders with some prominent clients or learn how to use the Xerox machine, let him at it!
The ruling, of course, will prompt many companies to end unpaid internships. As an article on the Atlantics Web site put it, Having young adults work for free is now officially a legal liability.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
I had internships with a congressman and judge in which I learned a great deal about the workings of these Government institutions. The connections also served me well. That being said, I can see that things have evolved over the years with some companies totally taking advantage of free labor for what they would have often paid to have done. At my last corporate job in the US I had an intern work for me, provided him quite a bit of insight - he even worked several months beyond the time required to earn the college credit because I structured his work to be quite meaningful. Other co-workers who could have had free interns passed up the opportunity because it did require work on our part - it wasn’t without its cost in the time devoted o mentoring.
I haven’t read the actual opinion - I do hope it leaves room for well structured internships, not the ones that have been so abused by companies that the kids really don’t get much out of them. At least the abusive internships should be gone.
It sounds like you did it right LibertyOh.
Internships are modern versions of indentures, and put training obligations on the employer in lieu of wages. It’s a contract, and the case is another example of the contempt for contracts that has developed generally—but especially in the public sphere.
I had a dozen interns work for two summer months in the newsroom when I was in the scribbling profession. Most all were good writers but the “beat” concept was new to them.
“...And they got nothing out of it that paid employees wouldnt have...” Ow, double negative...and a poor one at that.
My brain hurts.
At least Bilbo’s brain burner was written by a literate and intelligent man, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
Engineering internships pay nicely. Any job that does not pay is a joke.
I would imagine that most Democrats would be opposed to unpaid internships. I could be wrong.
Democrats are fine with unpaid interns as long as the interns work for Democrats.
My architect son’s first job in the profession was a paid summer internship after his sophomore year. That led to part time work during the school year and full time summers, then a position with the firm after graduation. It took him an extra year to get his masters because he was so busy.
I never figured out the idea of an unpaid internship. I started out at about twice minimum wage for a defense contractor while I was in college. Some of it may have been dull skut work which no one else wanted to do (oh, tape boy! Make a dozen copies of this and send it out to the project distribution list), but quite a bit of it was interesting, important work.
But the same work on an unpaid basis? Nope, I'll take the job down the street.
No pay but oh the perps, I mean perks.
Engineering internships/co-ops are great, that they are paid is the result of supply and demand. Hard sciences/engineering demand is much higher, compared to the supply, than history/political science/journalism.... I also had a paid engineering summer job after switching majors (and while I went to work in the Congressman’s office expecting not to be paid, they actually had a paid slot available they gave to me), in the right circumstances the opportunity to work for free can provide a tremendous learning opportunity. The problem is the abuse of the “apprentice” situation by those who give meaningless tasks instead of a good mix of more interesting work (committee hearings/research/writing and review of your work with very professional and constructive “criticism”). Fortunately I had very good internships (both paid and unpaid), but I have heard horror stories.
I was at an ‘all hands meeting’ for interns of a major corporation. It was half way though the summer. Part way though the meeting the guy talking mentioned paychecks or some such and let slip a representative number. Half the people in the room suddenly had very shocked looks on their face. A moment later the speaker apologized and said that was an engineering intern salary number... not one for all the HR and business office types. I tried not to laugh at all the shell shocked looks from half the interns in the room.