The unpaid internship is the latest craze sweeping corporate greed land. Basically, at some point in the past few years, corporation owners realized that, inexplicably, young people would work for free. This was a startling resolution as in the past, if a company offered someone minimum wage it was an insult, but now, if a company now paid people nothing, it was a “learning opportunity.” Hell, even the White House is getting in on the action.
Unpaid internships are a joke. Here are 5 reasons to NEVER take on an unpaid internship.
1) No one will respect you
As an unpaid intern, you are literally worthless to the company. A salary isn’t just money, it is a way companies prove to their employees that the employee is wanted and respected there. An unpaid intern gets 0 dollars, and receives 0 respects. There’s a weird perception by unpaid interns that because they aren’t paid, that they will get some sort of extra cred, or respect from their “coworkers”. Nope. Working folk tend to respect others based on how much they make. You make nothing, and will be treated like crap because of it.
2) The resume boost isn’t worth it
Here’s the thing about resumes: what you have done is equally, if not more than important than where you have worked. Even if you think prestige is important, almost any company or website that carries weight in its field provides paid internships to begin with. Yes, you need to have something to show recruiters, but the difference between “barista” and “intern at Losertech” isn’t much.
3) There are paying alternatives to unpaid work
One of the coolest parts of the internet is that it allows citizens to create and share their content with the rest of the world. What’s less cool is that companies have realized that this system is much easier if someone else creates that content for them.
If all you want is to produce for the world, there’s no need to do it for someone else. Start a blog or Tumblr and post your work there. Acquire the necessary software and make your own website, app, or video. There’s nothing wrong with being your own boss. That is, if you are able to motivate yourself.
Similarly, there are paying websites that want your work. I spent the past few years writing for Cracked.com. All I had to do there was sign up. They paid me, gave me experience, and even wrote me a letter of recommendation. I gained all of this from my own house. The key here is that there are ways to further your career without resorting to unpaid work. It’s just hard; recruiters capitalize on that fact.
4) You’re screwing everyone else
Do you know why unpaid internships exist? It’s because people are willing to do them. Don’t let this corporate greed continue. Refuse to play the unpaid intern game and companies will be forced to start paying for their employees again.
5) If you are good, you will make it
I know every young person has been scared into thinking that unless you do X, Y, and Z that nothing will work out as planned. That’s just not true. The only essential factor is your ability to work hard and hustle until you get what you want. You should want to be paid, and if you need to hustle a bit harder to secure that, so be it.