Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Free Work.

It all started when I began moving. I thought, 'oh this is a great opportunity to intern at a few places, get a feel for some career fields and see where I wan to settle.' I had this image for the next few years of my life but let me tell you, that image has yet to really come true.

       a. A student or a recent graduate undergoing supervised practical training.

Now if only it were that easy. 

When I went into college, I was under the impression that once college was done, I would intern somewhere and that would either lead to a job or help me nail down another job. Little did I know, the modern day "intern" is just an excuse for employers to lock out entry level workers while getting some free labour. 

Am I the only one who thinks this is down right shitty?

I have interned at three different places, each for about 3-4 months each time. None led to a real job (granted, I did get a freelance small gig from my most recent internship at Post City magazine that I al totally thankful for). I keep telling myself that the harder I work, the more internships I work, the more experience I tuck under my belt, the easier it would be to get a job. I keep telling myself 'this is normal.'

But my question is: why is it normal? Why is this okay? 

Internships are logical. It's actually a great way to work and get experience. I know a lot more after my three internships then I knew before. And, in all reality, I'm looking for more internships. But what are we really gaining? It doesn't stimulate the economy, it's not helping freshly graduated students or young adults, it's not helping young people be successful (not always but I'm sure there are cases). For the employer, it's probably great. Free work from someone you don't truly have to be nice to or respect and who is absolutely without a doubt replaceable and this work can continue on for as long as there are universities and people.

I've been reading a lot of articles from all over the country about interns, internships and people who are fed up with not getting paid. I want to join that bandwagon. While I love my current job for the people, let's be honest. I'm not earning as much money as I could be. I'm not using any of my real talents, I'm just being me (professional, respectful, efficient and just damn good at my job). I would love a job where I feel I'm using my college degree or my brain. I would love a job that is challenging and pays me for my talents. 

I feel like it's mostly career fields that fall into a creative career: writing, art or fashion. But I could be wrong. Have you worked internships that led to nothing? Or have you worked internships that led to a great opportunity?

I hope to get there someday.  


  1. I haven't had any internships per say, but when I was studying to become a zookeeper, the best way to get your foot in the door was to volunteer there. I can say without a doubt that the first job I got as a zookeeper wouldn't have been a possibility without the contacts I made volunteering. My supervisors went to bat for me and definitely helped me secure the position. However, the volunteer program was a feeder system for jobs. Make sure the internships are geared towards hiring and not just towards obtaining free labor. Good luck!

  2. I understand your frustration. One internship/contract employment has helped me with further jobs. I find, as you, that internships are a way for companies to have free labor, but internships make the job market difficult to enter into.

    Currently, I love my jobs. I am subbing and writing for the paper. But, what I want to do is event plan. So, I"m trying to make my way into that field soon.

  3. Ughhh how annoying. I've never had an internship, but I've never worked in any of those fields you mention either. I have friends who have managed to get hired on full-time after doing an internship with a company but I'm starting to think that's unusual. Super lame that you're going through this. :(

    1. I feel like internships are mainly in writing/art/creative fields, unfortunately. My boyfriend was in an internship with the company he's now with for 6 months but it was a paid internship. Sometimes I think I'm just failing at life because I feel I'm the only person in the world who can't find good work. I think being in a foreign country isn't helping, however. But is that just an excuse?