I’d like you to work for me and my company. I want your undivided attention focused solely on my organisation for the next few months. Full time. 9 – 5 every Monday – Friday. Some jobs might be tedious. Filing, admin, answering the phone…maybe even a coffee run but you’ll gain a lot in this working environment. Oh yeah, one more thing. You won’t be getting paid.
The opening to this post wasn’t something that’s been said to me directly but it may as well have been because ultimately, that’s what full time long term internships are asking of you. Before I go on, let me just clarify that it isn’t all internships that I’m mad at. Some companies do actually pay their interns, and I know that a lot of internships offer much more than just admin work. There’s some that are actually worthwhile because of the experience and responsibilities that they give you and the contacts that you’re literally rubbing shoulders with. Yes for those internships!
What I’m talking about is the full time, unpaid, lengthy internships because what your employer is actually asking you to do is work really hard for their company. For months on end. And not get paid for it… That’s pretty cheeky in my opinion. I understand that the life of an intern can be a pretty shitty one, and almost everyone who works in the fashion/editorial industry has gone through it, but asking someone to go without an income for you for quite a substantial amount of time is a pretty big ask!
The internships that can’t pay you but only want you to intern for a week or so is a slightly better solution to the problem. That way you get to learn about the career that you want to progress in, without draining your current account. The internships that only take up a few days of your week are perfect because then you have the rest of the week to earn money with a part time job. The internships that have no established end date, want you to work full time and offer no pay are the ones that are irritating my life right now.
‘We’ll cover your travel expenses’
That’s cool but I’m still working for nothing…
‘We’ll also cover your lunch’
That’s also cool but I’m still working for nothing…
I might seem ungrateful or naive but I just can’t commit to something that takes up all of my time and doesn’t give me any money to live by. I recently turned down a full time internship because there was no way I could support myself for 3+ months without an income. How do they expect me to pay for things, with all of the free lunches they’re giving me?
What’s your opinion on full time unpaid internships? Agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments!