work


These are the days I miss college the most. When my job is so busy, so chaotic, and requires so much time that all I want is access to a library, with the quiet murmur of other students up as late as I am. A study carrel, a sprawling table so I can spread out, a closed off room to collaborate in, or breathe in, or just be in the presence of others, studying and working silently, but having the close camaraderie of knowing others are working, too. Sometimes, like for this project, it would be nice to know my bed is only feet away instead of miles, that my teammates could sit in a soothing place together and talk when we needed to. Mostly silence.

Savor it while you have it. There’s something special you won’t find anywhere else.

Advertisements

What I want to be doing:

  • Watching more West Wing
  • Composing a blog post about what I’ve been learning from West Wing
  • Read all the recent posts from new followers and maybe follow back
  • Read one of my many concurrent books on my list
  • Write just for me
  • Write just for you
  • Text a boy
  • See my family
  • Go buy new sneakers
  • Continue planning my trip, part 1
  • Go get my mail
  • Go for a walk
  • Take random and absurd pictures

What I should be doing:

  • Homework and reading
  • Getting to bed before 1am

What I am doing:

  • Well, you’re reading it!

Now that that’s off my chest, I guess I should actually get to work.

<sigh>

A week or two ago, I was given the opportunity to take a “How Do You Fascinate?” test, as part of an upcoming conference I’m attending. The idea, through apparent years of scientific analysis, is not to identify how you see the world, but how the world sees you. I answered a series of questions, primarily relevant to my professional life, and waited as my results were tallied, analyzed, and presented.

The Victor

My archetype: the Victor. Hey, wow. Okay. Awesome. I’m victorious (and, fine, maybe I had Hunger Games running through my head at that exact moment). I am results-oriented, respected, and competitive. If only I can live up to them all throughout my career! The competitive threw me, however briefly. I’m aware I’m pretty results-oriented, and it’s nice to see/know I’m generally respected. But competitive? Ask me three years ago and I would have said you’re nuts. But, being in the professional world, and in the kind of industry I am (very, very competitive), I guess I’ve become that. I always used to associate competitive with vicious. And I don’t think of myself as a vicious person: I get things done, I strive to be better, but I don’t think I’m mean about it. Maybe they aren’t, in fact, the same thing. We live in a competitive world. Though my workplace is, I believe, very equal, in general I’m going to have to try harder as a woman to prove myself. Stereotypes and sexism, however subtle or overt, still exist. And this will be throughout my entire professional life.

So, now that I’m a Victor, what are my “triggers?”

Primarily, I am driven by prestige. After that, power drives me. Can I just tell you how odd that feels? That this is supposed to sum up…me? I want to be the best and be recognized for it, and I want to leverage power to get things done. This is not how I would typically describe myself.

TriggersIn fact I’d go so far as to say it’s never how I’d imagine describing myself. When I look at it more critically, though, I can see it. I’m 24 and I know I can go places. I’ve known that for a long time, and I believe I’m proving it, or at least trying. I’m always climbing, always learning more. I’m pretty young to be able to do all that I can – and I truly don’t mean this to brag, I’m just saying: I work my butt off and it shows. I’m now a Senior Writing Associate at my company, I’ve been working towards additional certifications and trainings, I am recognized for doing good work. Professionally speaking, I am like this (or will be. Hopefully). It just seems to counter what I feel I am “in real life.”

Dormant Trigger: Passion

Click the picture to see full size

What actually stunned me was that passion was my dormant trigger. I am (at least, I like to think so) a passionate person. However much that intersects with emotions, I’m very aware of my emotions. But…I guess I’ve learned to keep them in check when they aren’t functional. That sounds weird, but especially at work, I try to leave my emotions at the door. And I’ve been pretty successful at it. To be honest, I wouldn’t last long in my company, or in my industry, if I let emotions rule. But I’m still in both, over two years later. I wouldn’t have survived the internship that got me this job, not in the least. It was tough. We’d get in at 8am (count yourself gone if you dared come in 2 minutes late more than once), bend our minds together, work like crazy, and maybe leave by 9pm, more commonly 10pm. One night we were there until 11:30, because the Metro would stop running at midnight and we needed to get home. Admittedly, there are still days like this. But there wasn’t any time to get worked up about it. The standard was incredibly high, and we got slammed on reviews. If you think the red ink on your college paper was bad, imagine getting rainbow-colored documents back with comments so long Word couldn’t show all the contents of each. But I digress. Suffice to say, however shocking getting the dormant trigger of passion was at first, professionally, I get it. And I suppose that “dormant” means it’s lying in wait for when I need it. So I guess I’m capable of passion? According to their website, “People with primary PASSION trigger can rapidly make emotional connections with customers, co-workers, and managers.” They are expressive, intuitive, impulsive, social, and transparent. The thing is, I’m pretty transparent. I’m not sure if I ever was any good at it (read: high school) and got continuously worse, or if I was never very good at it to begin with. I’ve certainly learned to present myself better, and speak better. But man if my boss(es) can’t read me like an open book.

Next up, how these triggers make me great or not so great.

Great:Advantages

Cool…

Not so great:Weaknesses

Again with the lacking emotion and connection thing. I’m not sure, other than the above, what this is a product of. But I’ve got to keep it in check. What the heck happened? Am I like this outside of work, too? And how can I go back? It’s unnerving.

On the plus side, I’m not terribly extreme. This compares me to “total intensity possible” from the test.

Intensity and Percentages

But passion is still the lowest. I have/am more trust, mystique, rebellion, and alarm than I do passion. Actually, I have a good chunk of rebellion and alarm.

Rebellion: innovative, independent, entrepreneurial, edgy, unpredictable.

Alarm: perfectionistic, reliable, routine-oriented, careful, rational

Mystique: understated, complex, rational, reserved, deliberate

So, interesting. Me, professionally, in a nutshell is results-oriented, respected, and competitive, with an eye towards power and prestige. This is how I fascinate. Am I fascinating? 😉

My boyfriend is moving to North Carolina. At least, it feels 99% certain. Not that I’d really know, he’s barely communicated with me about it. It’s only 9 hours away but I can’t be bothered to be kept informed. I am so frustrated, hurt, angry. It’s not even the job – he hasn’t had any other offers so this would make the most sense. He liked the position and the area (I think?). I’d be happy for him, too. He also has not heard back from other organizations, so I recommended that he call them and say “I have this offer, I need to know what your decision is.” Right? Isn’t that standard? To which his only response was, “No, I haven’t called. That doesn’t matter. They don’t give a shit about me.”

Well if they’re still having trouble making up their mind, they must care a little.

Let me break down the timeline:
He IMed me on Thursday, saying “oh, wow. I just got a call for an interview in North Carolina.” For one – please call me with something like that. It is a big deal. For another, that was pretty much all I got. No description, no interest level, nothing. So, he drives down Sunday night, stays over, interviews at 11am, does not call me all day (yeah, I’m more than a little curious), and when I finally call him at 9 at night, he tells me a bit about it, how then they had car trouble so they’re just sitting down to eat….

Fine. Later. I figured he’d head back up the next day, as that’s what he’d talked about. So, I called him from my place midday, since I managed to work at home, and suggested he swing by for dinner on his way up, since I wouldn’t be at the office. That conversation also did not go well – he was still in NC, working on some papers (because he finally had Internet? Which he doesn’t have at home?). So…no go. Nothing else all day. Not a peep. Finally late this afternoon I got another IM: migraine, still in NC, gonna go sleep. I was in a meeting so didn’t even see it until after he signed off. Well, by now it’s Wednesday, over 2 days since the interview and he has not told me whether he’s accepted or not. Whether he’s moving his whole life down there. So I called when I got home, woke him up (oops) and didn’t get a whole lot. He has not decided; he may not be qualified (though couldn’t tell me in what). He has not bothered calling anyone else in all the time that he’s been there, does not know when he might be headed home…

I sent him an email last night since I figured by then he’d decided. I felt it (he has conveniently not responded):
I know you’re going. And I know you’re frustrated that I’d thought we could eat together tonight when obviously we can’t. You told me your plan, and I thought I’d grab you as you swing through. So. I’m happy for you. This is a cool opportunity. Similar to your last job at [place] but hopefully better management. That doesn’t mean it’s exactly easy on me (I know, I’m constantly grouchy, right?). So just promise me a dinner before you go. Please. I won’t see you this weekend and by next weekend you might be gone. So, in the midst of packing, can you spare one night and come see me? You’ve barely spoken to me in all of this.

Now I continue the waiting game. It’s never been more frustrating. I would be happier for him if he was clear with me. That’s not BS – I am. It just isn’t clear to me that he understands this move affects me, too, affects our relationship. He isn’t good at expressing emotions. I know that. But the more he acts like this, the more he doesn’t appear to care, the more I start believing it. Because it does affect us. I see him far less, we can’t eat dinner together, he’ll probably buy a house ’cause he’s obsessed with that but has never paid mortgage or rent, he’s taking a big salary cut, I have no idea how often we’ll be able to see each other, we’ll never go dancing. Suddenly moving from 1-hour distance to legit long-distance is not exactly the way I saw this relationship going. So, life throws us tomatoes. And the one stable thing, him, in the past couple years, is suddenly being ripped from under my feet. After a year and seven months, I think I deserve to be kept in the loop on this. Now I feel like a jerk for yelling at him and waking him up from his nap to deal with his migraine. So, I guess I’m just a perpetual jerk. No, he calls me grouchy, or cranky. That’s what he said Friday, when I tried to prod him about it. Because I knew this would happen. He’d go down, get an offer, and have to make up his mind, fast. I wanted him to think about it before he got there, about the change, if it was worth it, if he liked the school. All he said was I was being cranky. Well, yes, there’s me, cranky again. Every other weekend. Or mopey. I wonder why he bothers sticking around, sometimes, if that’s what I’m like. Sorry, I actually care about you. I love you, though it was a bit of a nightmare to say it. If that counts.
Don’t even get me started on “you’re just being a girl” because my feminist will come out and bite. That’s BS.

 

EDIT: 11:38pm

Don’t get me wrong. I know how hard a decision this must be for him, too. Give up your relatively stable world for a job? Or finally have a job, with benefits? You know, it’s funny. You never realize how important benefits are until you get a job with one, or suddenly don’t have them. When you’re a kid, you never realize that all those doctor’s visits cost a lot of money, and that one of your parents/caretakers has to work, hard, to make sure they don’t cost too much to your family. That you can get that icky prescription to cure your constantly upset tummy without breaking the bank. I recognize the situation my boyfriend is in. I’ve had overwhelming support on this subject so far. Nearly 50 hits – the most at any time – on this post alone since I published it. I don’t post that often anymore. Within hours, I received texts, emails, and messages from people I haven’t talked to in ages, or ones I talked to yesterday. Full of love and support. What bothers me is this: my boyfriend and I, we’re in a partnership. And he isn’t letting me be his partner right now. I realize I’m biased but I’m also not a teenager. I understand. I want to always be there for him, but I can’t if he won’t let me. He’s there for me; I probably talk his ear off about insignificant details of my life, work, etc. If this is really how he handles big life “tomatoes,” I’m not sure this is right. Life is complicated, and hard. Chaos ensues. Compared to our potential life together, this is probably minor in the grand scheme of difficult scenarios. And if he’s going to dance around things like this, what point is my half in the relationship?

By the way, the definition of “relationship” is this: The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

I want him to be able to trust me, to talk to me. Only he can make this decision, but he can talk to me about it. Bounce ideas off. Talk his options through, what he’s feeling. Just to talk to someone. I wish he’d talk to someone. Because right now it’s not me. And if he doesn’t want it to be, all he has to do is say so. Tell me what he needs from me. That’s all. For now I guess I’ll just lay low.

Do I get it? Do I not? Do I splurge on something that could help me a lot? Is that a splurge?

Thanks to my pleading call to friends, I have somewhat settled on Herman Miller. I’ve heard a lot about them. The one I want is called the Aeron.

Thank you to Herman Miller for the picture (screenshot)

Aeron has some renown in the ergonomic world. HM has a 12-year warranty, which seems sweet to me. Their Return policy is nice.

Mods:

  • Small Chair Size (not standard Medium; I’m pretty small)
  • Adjustable Lumbar Support (instead of the Adjustable PostureFit Support, for which I’ve heard slightly less than amazing reviews)

I’m thinking about my summer. More than usual, my summer entails hours upon hours of work at a computer, typing. Some of that I’d like to do at home, for various reasons. In fact, my arrangement at work, though not perfect, is far better than the one at home. After a couple of hours at home, I can barely move my neck, and the pain lasts for days afterwards. I know stretches from PT, and after tomorrow’s session (yes, I’ll ask about the Aeron), I’m not sure how much it’s really going to help me. My job revolves around writing (which I love), so there’s no getting out of that. Besides, I’m also a nerd who plays select computer games. It’s just how the world works these days.

So? What do you think? This isn’t just a “buy a new chair” – this is buy the new chair.

<PS they’re having a sale so it’s this week or…well, more money>

I’m sitting here before you tonight having just made the final click of “Pay” for my student loans – ever. At least, I hope so. I’d be way more excited if I hadn’t been so confused by Sallie Mae’s interface. And also when that lovely amount clears my bank account…

So, college graduates: first of all, congratulations. You’ve worked pretty hard to get to graduation, and here it is. Well done. And hey – the world isn’t even going to end this year! You must have worked some magic through your years of:

  • classes
  • finals
  • mid-terms
  • frenzied 6am course registrations
  • stressful housing lotteries
  • great people
  • annoying people
  • people you were friends with 3 years ago and awkwardly aren’t anymore
  • friends you made yesterday and didn’t have a clue you’d get along with so well
  • parties gone right
  • parties gone wrong
  • parties you don’t recall
  • cool discussions
  • boring lectures
  • lectures that ended too soon
  • quad parties
  • impromptu snowball fights
  • boys
  • girls
  • too many all-nighters
  • one or fifty one-nighters

It’s all led up to this. This one day – no, couple of hours. A shiny piece of paper. All yours. First things first: it is totally natural to feel “kicked out” of college upon graduation week. Hey, maybe you want to peace and leave everything behind. But most of you don’t. This has been your community, your home, your life for 4 years and now everyone is scattering like the wind they arrived upon. Feel it. It’s okay.

My advice to you? Here goes. It is not comprehensive but it’ll do for now.

  1. Get a job. Skip to 10.
  2. Buy a suit.
  3. Breathe.
  4. Smile.
  5. Keep applying.
  6. In the meantime, keep busy.
    • Do anything -sitting. Pet-sitting, baby-sitting, house-sitting.
    • Try local stores for full or part-time work this summer.
    • Take an online class to keep your brain up.
    • Can you tolerate children? Be a camp counselor. Overnight bonus: you may not get paid a lot but they cover food and shelter, which is a plus.
    • Do something you love, or have always wanted to do but never had the time.
  7. Take a good, hard look at your resume.
    • Look up resumes in your industry. Read articles on how to tailor yours to meet that. Keep it short and relevant. Use action-packed words, not passive ones. Use keywords from job postings. Draw out any leadership roles.
  8. Keep applying.
    • When you start feeling really desperate (you’ll know), stop. I tried going the Government route. Did I automatically apply for 50 “Administrative Assistant” jobs anywhere in the country? Yes. Did I really want to be an Admin Assistant? Not in the least (personally). Was I willing to move anywhere at all? Not really. When I realized what I’d been doing, I stopped to take a step back. Did I get the job(s) I wanted? Nope. I re-started the whole thing with a focus on what I wanted and what I’d take for awhile.
    • Leverage LinkedIn and Monster. I got recruited by my current company that way. Join groups in areas you’re interested in working in and browse job boards and discussions. Join discussions. Do the same for organizations you’d love to work for. HR has their tentacles out, and one may snatch you (and even if it’s across the country or world, getting those messages alone feels nice).
  9. Work your connections: family, friends, old bosses. Can you do anything? Do they know of anything? Send your snazzy resume out. Repeat steps 3-9 until you reach 10. Roughly. (Or, go to grad school. Which I did not do, so cannot speak to.)
  10. Job goal complete!
  11. Find a place to live.
    • Living with others is cheaper but less private.
    • Living alone is expensive but all yours.
    • If you have time, think about all aspects of the potential place.
      • Accessible to a grocery store? Public transportation? Pharmacy? Hardware store for those first few weeks?
      • Safety: would you feel comfortable walking home after a fun night at the bar? What kind of access controls does the building have?
      • Commute time. You will spend most of your time at work – don’t opt for a heavy commute if you can help it, especially starting a new job. As noted in Tuesday’s post, it can be exhausting.
  12. Allow yourself to change. For some of you, this will be easy. For others, maybe not. You’ve learned a lot in college, changed your opinion based on new information, discussed world issues, but it doesn’t stop here. You will learn much more about yourself, your opinions may change a dozen more times, your lifestyle will likely change drastically. This is life. Let it happen. For me, a big lesson was about becoming “corporate.” I’d firmly believed that for myself, I’d never choose that life. Desks and cubicles, meetings, managers. Get me outside! But for most of us, life doesn’t work like that. And that’s okay, too. I’d thought, at first, “I’ve become one of them! Part of the machine!” and while that may be partly true, it’s not a bad thing. I make a good living sitting at a desk all day interacting with all sorts of people and participating in long meetings. I learn every single day. I meet new people. I set limits, and work to achieve a life/work balance. I look up events, both during the week and weekends, and do my best to catch a few now and then.
  13. Have fun! Never forget this part.
  14. Be confident: in yourself, in your opinions, in your skillset.
  15. Learn to cook and make your own lunch and dinner. It’s better for you (and cheaper) than skipping out to the local fast food chains and food courts. Trust me.
  16. Try to live without regret. You don’t get these years back.

That’s what I’ve got for you, for now. College may have been the time of your life – but the rest of your life can be, too. Go get ’em.

What are you most excited for? Least? What else do you want to know about “post-college” life? If you’re in “post-college life” what would you tell this year’s graduates? Throw a tomato back and I’ll try to get to it. 🙂

Are unpaid internships worth the frustration of not getting paid? Are unpaid internships “immoral,” as one article says?

There has been a lot of (revived) debate in the past week or two about the concept or worth of unpaid internships for college grads. Full disclosure: I’ve never had a completely unpaid internship: I’ve either gotten paid or gotten a living stipend. But I did live at home with my parents for one.

Are Unpaid Internships Over? (N0.)

Time says the unpaid internship is over. I disagree. The unpaid internship is far from over. The opening of this particular article draws us into the plight of a young woman who has had seven internships:

In August 2011, when Diana Wang began her seventh unpaid internship, this time at Harper’s Bazaar, the legendary high-end fashion magazine, she figured that her previous six internships – at a modeling agency, a PR firm, a jewelry designer, a magazine, an art gallery and a state governor’s office – had prepared her for the demands of New York’s fashion world.

First of all, why seven? The thing about internships is to pick them well, and then stop when it’s good for you. I mean, at first glance, that looks great: wow, she’s been able to land seven internships! For starters, it is in your best interest to get at least one or two paid ones. People, especially college grads, simply cannot afford to do seven unpaid internships. Also: you are worth more than that. It’s okay to turn down unpaid internships, to say “no” when you find out you’ll get nothing to live on. Three internships, between college courses, is great, and I’d suggest leaving it at that if you’ve gotten that far. As for during the school year, your focus should really be on not falling asleep in class. If it fits with your schedule, is educational, and doesn’t leave you scrambling to keep up in the school you’re paying a bucketload to attend, go for it during the semester. Otherwise, cool it.

As it turned out, Wang’s internship was just like many of the thousands of others: unrewarding in terms of both pay and marketable experience — not to mention the lack of a job offer.

That sucks. But, without knowing particulars, my word of caution and response to this is: do your research. Don’t take an internship for the sake of taking an internship. Study the organization or company, and the job description. Ask about it in the interview. What should you end up with when you finish this internship? Does the program lead to potential job offers? Every job you get, think: how will I put this on my resume? If you might as well be working at a grocery store, skip it and move on (and in late spring, start thinking about applying to a grocery store). Thanks but no thanks. Applying for internships is much like applying for jobs in this age: you will get far more rejections than acceptances. Far, far more. Keep counting. You’ve got to become an application machine. Keep a file of your writing samples, information many online applications ask for so you can do a copy/paste, and knock out cover letters customized to the organization. Yes, it is hard work, but so is the internship (hopefully in a good way), so it’s worth it.

As for the suing, both by Wang and the interns at Fox, I support them. If those were really their experiences, then that’s absurd. But I disagree that everyone ever must get paid, no matter what. Again, ask the right questions. Maybe these laws need to be reviewed, but if an internship passes the test, it’s legal and both parties are aware of it:

As more internships sprouted across the country, Congress passed a number of laws regulating them, including the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which specifically lays out a 6-point test, still in use today, for hiring unpaid interns:

1. The internship must be similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship must be for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees;
4. The employer derives no immediate advantage from the intern;
5. The intern is not entitled to a job at the end of the internship; and
6. The intern understands that he or she is not entitled to wages.

From the article, it sounds like the internships described did not follow all of these points, specifically 1, 2, and 4. I’m in no way blaming these individuals for taking these internships and then suing. I think this needs to be brought up, and students made much more aware of the facts. Then they can decide for themselves. But, be careful. Like jobs, schools, …  almost everything in life – all internships are NOT created equally.

Then there is this piece:

Then in March, another intern sued, this time a 25-year-old film student named Lucy Bickerton, who interned at “The Charlie Rose Show.”

“It’s so ingrained, especially in the film industry, that you pay your dues,” Bickerton says.“You keep your mouth shut and are thankful for anything that comes your way.”

I’m not in the film industry. I’m not sure if that’s true. But I do know one thing: you do pay your dues. Jobs are things you have to work for. You have to work very hard. The internship that led to my current job was exhausting in all capacities. I worked 50 hour weeks until they stopped allowing overtime. Then I just had to get everything done in just 40 hours. It was totally sink or swim. I was too tired, every day, to cry from the stress (most of the time). Luckily, none of those breakdowns happened in the office. Do I work for a terrible company? Of course not; I wouldn’t have accepted the job offer if it was. But my company holds its employees to high standards, and it pushes people. I have gained incredible work experience and opportunities from being there. I work with great people and know that I’m valued. You don’t have to be thankful for anything that comes your way, that’s up to you, but don’t expect to slide by. 9-5 is gone. I’d love to bring it back, but I can’t.

Bickerton says so many college students entering the workforce think internships will automatically lead to jobs.

Newsflash: internships do not automatically lead to jobs. That’s all I have to say about that. I had 4 throughout my “intern” career.

Are Free Internships Immoral? (Whoa. No?)

According to The Atlantic, work is work and free internships are immoral. First off, calm down. If we’re going the “immoral” route, I’ve got a laundry list pages upon pages long of things that are immoral. Unpaid internships is not really high on it…or there.

This article opens with a careful mix of story and hard facts:

This summer, millions of students — some graduating, some between school years — will spend the summer working. Some will work at restaurants and on retail floors, where working is called “working.” Some will work at think tanks and non-profit organizations, where working is called “interning.” Estimates put the number of unpaid interns every year between 500,000 and one million. So, in a country where working for free is mostly illegal, a student population somewhere between the size of Tucson and Dallas will be working for free, in plain view.

Interning is an actual thing, different from “work” or “jobs” in more than the name. According to Dictionary.com,

Job is defined as: a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price: She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.

Internship: any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession: an internship for management trainees.

I do like the “mostly illegal” line though. True, but with the exception of internships, specifically unpaid internships, which have laws from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in place to manage them. The author, a former member of the “unpaid intern nation,” now says: “I’m coming down in the second camp: Unpaid internships aren’t morally defensible.”

Again, the “moral” thing is weird to me. Let’s dig deeper.

If you have worked in the Washington, D.C., research or non-profit sector, you know that often the roles of an intern and, say, a research assistant overlap. The reason that companies pay one and not the other is that they know they can get away with it. A 19-year old student has little bargaining power, especially if she wants to work in an industry where unpaid internships are the norm. (“If you don’t pay me, I’ll go to that other magazine that has better muffins,” is not a strong negotiating stance.)

Yes, that’s a terrible negotiating stance. Research assistant and intern roles likely do overlap. Is one getting paid because they’ve had one or five of these internships and know a lot more than the intern? Or perhaps they are in grad school and have no choice if they want to stay in their program without going into even deeper debt. Or maybe, in some instances, they are doing the exact same thing, have the exact same experience, but only one of them is getting paid. That is an issue. That needs to be brought up and handled with an appropriate level of confidence and professionalism.

The broader effects of unpaid internships are (a) a tendency for employers to take advantage of young labor by offering the currency of experience in lieu of actual currency,

Yes…but as the author repeatedly points out, these internships – this experience – is crucial nowadays for college grads to get jobs. So, yes, sometimes “currency” comes in the form of experience. Just note my advice above and don’t go overboard on the unpaid internship thing. It’s not worth it (in my opinion).

and (b) a widening of the social inequality gap as lower-income students are implicitly barred from this so-called  “educational” experience, which is their gateway to full-employment in the field of their choosing.

This is a good point. Not being a lower-income student or worker, I’d like to see if any of the following make a difference.

  1. Take internships nearby so you don’t have to leave home. This is much easier in big cities, where many socioeconomically disadvantaged tend to reside. Plus.
  2. Call everyone: can you stay with family somewhere else? Your best friend’s parents? A cousin? An aunt? Just for the summer. Offer to cook twice a week, look after small children or pets when they want a break, clean.
  3. Remember that you are worth paid internships, too. Go get ’em!

This is not my area of expertise. This will be a longer fight. But never say never.

So, those are my two cents. Take it or leave it.

Have you had an unpaid internship? How did it go? Leave a comment or submit your own blog post.

Up on Thursday: my advice to college grads. I was there two years ago.

Next Page »