Friday, June 23, 2006

And those subway ads for computer programming school start to look appealing

Via Gawker, another rant about the idiocy of the unpaid, post-college internship. Blogger Toby Shuster begins:

Back in February, when I was fiercely dumping my resume into the enigmatic e-mail depth of publishing HR departments, never receiving a single goddamn response, I started applying to anything and everything I could get my hands on. Now it is the month of June and I am finally hearing back from a company that produces informational posters for medical waiting rooms.

Ah yes, the danger of typing "writing" into a search box on a job listing website. But, as the folks at Gawker point out, "When you’re feeling like your job sucks, remember this: You could have an unpaid internship writing medical posters." The medical poster position, as Shuster makes quite clear, provides a Metrocard and little else. I once saw a job listing for night-shift data entry, on Staten Island, for $9/hr, and was convinced that this was the worst office job ever. This internship might just be worse.

Shuster is right to refute the idea that what keeps her from taking an unpaid internship is a sense of entitlement. It's not a "sense" that one's entitled to compensation for post-college, non-educational work, it's that you are entitled to be paid by your job. But until we as a generation refuse to take unpaid work, this will continue. Because no advocacy group is about to leap forward and point out that well-off 20-somethings are being treated in ways that go against labor laws.


Anonymous said...

Maybe people should get with reality and realize that there are a hell of a lot of people who'd like to get a job in publishing or at conde naste and there aren't many jobs out there. Let's face it unless you have connections, a stellar resume or you are very lucky you're not going to get a job in publishing.

Anonymous said...

Writing is an easy job. It's a job that doesn't even feel like work, hence the job difficulty. Do something boring, emotionally difficult, or physically demanding and you'll have better luck with the jobs.

Publishing isn't the only job with unpaid internships. Ever hear of apprenticeships?