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When is a job not a job? (Lots of crappy, unpaid internship jobs for the taking)
Hotair ^ | 05/06/2012 | Jazz Shaw

Posted on 05/06/2012 8:06:54 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

No, it’s not a riddle. (At least not a very funny one.) But it's a question which many recent college graduates are likely now asking themselves, particularly given the fairly bleak jobs numbers for April. The Paper of Record reports that new job seekers, facing a market where a paycheck is hard to come by, are turning to unpaid internships in record numbers. And while such positions were traditionally common in media and charitable foundations, they are now spreading across all sectors of the private market.

The idea is that such a position gets your foot in the door, teaches you valuable skills and gives you something to put down as the first entry on your resume. But for many who take on these positions, the reality is quite different.

Confronting the worst job market in decades, many college graduates who expected to land paid jobs are turning to unpaid internships to try to get a foot in an employer’s door…

Although many internships provide valuable experience, some unpaid interns complain that they do menial work and learn little, raising questions about whether these positions violate federal rules governing such programs…

Melissa Reyes, who graduated from Marist College with a degree in fashion merchandising last May, applied for a dozen jobs to no avail. She was thrilled, however, to land an internship with the Diane von Furstenberg fashion house in Manhattan. “They talked about what an excellent, educational internship program this would be,” she said.

But Ms. Reyes soon soured on the experience. She often worked 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., five days a week. “They had me running out to buy them lunch,” she said. “They had me cleaning out the closets, emptying out the past season’s items.”

Ms. Reyes finally quit when her boss demanded that she also work both days of a weekend.

We shouldn’t take this as a blanket indictment of the entire process. I’ve worked with companies – particularly in the computer industry – where summer internships have provided teams with some useful extra hands during the summer vacation season and those same students returned and landed good jobs right after graduating. But the temptation is obviously there for some less scrupulous employers to take on some desperate grads and work them like rented mules while offering little in the way of training or experience in return. Doug Mataconis expands on this idea.

There are blogs and Twitter accounts that make fun the entire process of the summer interns that make their way into the offices of the District of Columbia every year, and while most of them are probably an exaggeration they point out a very simple truth — if people know that you’ll work for free, they’re very likely to give you a lot of crap work to do. Now, many will argue that there are advantages to the internship idea because it has the potential to lead to a paying job somewhere down the line, or at least that it’s something to put on one’s resume for future job interviews.

I suppose there’s some value in that, although I’ve got to think that there’s far less value to it in an era where jobs are few and job applicants are plentiful than there was when the situation was reversed. If you’re going to go down that road, though, you probably need to go into it with both eyes open and realize that you’re not just the lowest guy on the totem pole, you’re not even on the totem pole.

I wouldn’t steer people away from the idea of an internship if you’re simply not getting anywhere in your first job search, but it’s definitely a case of caveat emptor. Look over the conditions before accepting the assignment and determine – if you’ll pardon the phrase – precisely how much crap you’re willing to take in exchange for a chance to get your career kick started. And keep in mind that people who are not paying you are not due the same level of loyalty as a full employer, so if something good, including a paycheck, comes along, feel free to grab it.

The downside to the intern situation is that you still have to support yourself. This may be contributing to the increasing numbers of young adults returning home to live with mom and dad. If that’s not an option, you’d best hope that you’ve either got a friend with a couch you can sleep on or a trust fund.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: internship; jobs; unemployment

1 posted on 05/06/2012 8:07:01 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
My first job was "a crappy unpaid internship" job. That was back in 1973. The question for me then was, Do you want to work in your field or do you want to do something else? Naturally, experience in my field was essential to continuing a new career.
2 posted on 05/06/2012 8:10:39 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: SeekAndFind

There are some jobs out there, but it ain’t 2004, that’s for sure:

http://www.Indeed.com

http://www.Careerbuilder.com

http://neworleans.craigslist.org/sls/2988942248.html

http://www.Jobvertise.com


3 posted on 05/06/2012 8:12:08 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)
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To: hinckley buzzard

Interned for the US Park Police in 93. Got more than I bargained for..


4 posted on 05/06/2012 8:13:17 PM PDT by goseminoles
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To: SeekAndFind
Whiners. They should do a weekend of slave labor as a culinary student intern. I did learn skills and the ins and outs of kitchens, and sometimes I got comped meals, but it was a LOT of hard work for no pay.

The downside of interns for businesses is semi or unskilled labor without much motivation, unless they are internally motivated to learn.

I wouldn't have an unpaid intern. I want them to at least get a pittance for their efforts, so they can strive to improve.

/johnny

5 posted on 05/06/2012 8:17:35 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: SeekAndFind
But Ms. Reyes soon soured on the experience. She often worked 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., five days a week. “They had me running out to buy them lunch,” she said. “They had me cleaning out the closets, emptying out the past season’s items.”

Ummm...that's the fashion business, even if they do pay you. She would be better off getting a job in a retail store and learning how the business works - especially how to sell. The money in fashion is made by sellers, not by little girls with dreams of becoming famous designers. There are thousands of those graduating every year.

6 posted on 05/06/2012 8:18:06 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: SeekAndFind
Everywhere I've ever worked at least gave something to the intern. We bought them lunch, paid them a mileage allowance or something of sort.

It is not unreasonable for a prospective intern to ask for a 1-2 page written agreement of expectations or even to submit such a proposal.

A scrupulous employer would welcome such initiative and/or assign a regular staff member to ensure the intern had a decent experience. I've been that staff member on occasion (and even volunteered) with the understanding that time I spent to give the intern meaningful job experience would be paid back by being able to use the intern for the less glamorous routine work which comes with every job.

7 posted on 05/06/2012 8:19:25 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: SeekAndFind
Cry me a river.....in 2008 after several years of un/underemployment, I went back to night school. (This was before they started extending unemployment benefits...I worked odd jobs/sold stuff on ebay, whatever I could do to bring in cash.)

School cost a pretty penny - at 50, I will be paying back my loans till I die - PLUS I have a mortgage and three kids to put through college.

Because I had no practical experience in my new field I took an UNPAID internship. Worked hard, learned a ton, which helped me land my first job in my new field.

To have the "luxury" of just a student loan to repay and the ability to go anywhere in the country for work doesn't sound so bad to me.

8 posted on 05/06/2012 8:21:33 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Julia!!!!!! Don't Let Him Fool 'ya!!!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

To call it brutal would be an understatement...it’s truly a buyer’s market out there. Lots of places wanting Master’s degrees or higher to do mushroom work.


9 posted on 05/06/2012 8:25:33 PM PDT by M1903A1 ("We shed all that is good and virtuous for that which is shoddy and sleazy... and call it progress")
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To: hinckley buzzard

I worked as an unpaid intern then got hired at $20.00 per hour.


10 posted on 05/06/2012 8:26:11 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido

Years later I had an unpaid intern and ended up hiring her full time.


11 posted on 05/06/2012 8:27:40 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: SeekAndFind

If companies abuse this they will get the naming and shaming they deserve. But I agree, the option ought to be available. Having something extra to fill a resume with can help for the future.


12 posted on 05/06/2012 8:33:53 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: Larry Lucido
I worked as an unpaid intern then got hired at $20.00 per hour.

I'm still an intern but I have hope. This is America and I have hope.

13 posted on 05/06/2012 8:59:08 PM PDT by Randy Erickson
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To: Larry Lucido; Gamecock

And with Darin’s help, we’ll get that chicken.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icDXNHF-oEw


14 posted on 05/06/2012 9:41:06 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: SeekAndFind; windcliff; stylecouncilor

I’m very fortunate to be in the best and most satisfying job of my life coaching high school baseball. The pay is less than peanuts, but I’m less than three months away from the social security I paid into my whole working career. ‘Sure hope it lasts.


15 posted on 05/06/2012 9:49:41 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: SeekAndFind

One issue with internships is that they can be designed to discourage people from going into the field for their own good. I am running an internship starting next week and my goal is to show my intern that she would be better going into almost any other field.

I’ve been in my field for 15 years and I know there is no future in it, despite the supposed glamour. Fun and supposed glamour doesn’t put food on the table.


16 posted on 05/06/2012 9:54:45 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: SeekAndFind

One issue with internships is that they can be designed to discourage people from going into the field for their own good. I am running an internship starting next week and my goal is to show my intern that she would be better going into almost any other field.

I’ve been in my field for 15 years and I know there is no future in it, despite the supposed glamour. Fun and supposed glamour doesn’t put food on the table.


17 posted on 05/06/2012 9:55:01 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: hinckley buzzard

When I went to school if you didn’t get paid for it, it wasn’t a job.


18 posted on 05/07/2012 12:14:55 AM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again.")
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To: fella

“When I went to school if you didn’t get paid for it, it wasn’t a job.”

I never had the luxury of working for free, and always wondered about students who told me they were interning for big firms. Hope they kept those jobs (if they were ever offered); they earned them.

I was under the impression that hiring a temp accomplished the same thing as an internship (though it probably cost more): determining whether or not you wanted to hire someone after getting a feel for their skills.


19 posted on 05/07/2012 3:14:34 AM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: M1903A1

“To call it brutal would be an understatement...it’s truly a buyer’s market out there. Lots of places wanting Master’s degrees or higher to do mushroom work.”

What I take from this story is that the minimum wage has been reduced to $0 with some fancy lawyerwork.


20 posted on 05/07/2012 3:17:19 AM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: SeekAndFind

My son, as an architectural student, had an internship the summer of his freshman year. The firm was impressed enough with him to hire him part time, then full time during subsequent summers. When he graduated he walked into a job. It took him an extra year and a half to get his masters, due to full time work. Then he was hired away by another firm and is doing quite well.

Was the unpaid internship worth it? You bet!


21 posted on 05/07/2012 6:47:00 AM PDT by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: F15Eagle; MotleyGirl70; Cagey; Mr. Brightside; earlJam; Rb ver. 2.0; lesser_satan; Taffini; jdm; ...

Classic episode, and your post and Youtube link is definitely ping-worthy.

(Seinfeld ping - the ping list about nothing!)


22 posted on 05/07/2012 8:59:34 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: JimRed
My son, as an architectural student, had an internship the summer of his freshman year.

Was this his boss?


23 posted on 05/07/2012 9:03:07 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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