Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Unpaid Internships

If you have followed the comments in any of my previous threads, then you know exactly how I feel about working for no pay.  This article from The Guardian gets it right.  Here's a quick excerpt:

"Perhaps most disappointing, given that the code was drawn up as a response to recommendations of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, is its failure to even cursorily explore the negative impact of unpaid internships on social mobility.
Skipping over the disadvantages faced by those without the resources to fund themselves while working for free, the code simply states blandly that recruitment should 'be conducted in an open and rigorous way so as to enable fair and equal access to available internships'."
As I have said before, I reject the idea that people should have to work for no pay. When an employer hires someone for a position, they are necessarily taking a risk.  Some candidates might be bigger risks than others, but it is the employer's responsibility to assess those risks in the application and interview process and make the best decision they can.  But they should not be reaping the benefits of free labor while they make that determination.  What incentive does a company have to hire someone for a full-time, or even part-time position in this economy when they are getting good work for free?  I realize the premise is that an intern is there to learn and gain experience.  But the reality is that many interns and post-graduates are doing the exact same work as regular employees but for no pay or a token stipend.

I'm glad to see someone in the U.K. is getting it right.  Now what about the U.S.?

4 comments:

  1. The U.S. is filled with cowards, physical and intellectual weaklings, sycophants, bums, cretins, pigs, thugs, freeloaders, exploiters, corporate tools, et al.

    Mainstream "economists" - i.e. corporate cheerleaders - refer to free labor as "the gift economy." One wonders if these "economists" would refer to their wives balling Pablo the muscled pool boy as "gift sex."

    The fact is that U.S. employers are making money off of this pool of free (and desperate) labor. In sum, these companies and business owners are exploiting these students. They are happy to take advantage of the situation.

    Once on JDU, some moron told me to intern for an established lawyer. He followed this up with "You will gain needed experience." (The poster was an older attorney, who went to a TTT and made out pretty well.) He was advising me to do something that he had never done. So I responded by telling him to "Perform oral sex on homeless men. (Do it for free, if you want.) You will gain much needed experience."

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  2. Nando, you have some way with words. :)

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  3. what happened to jdu?

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