The Next Generation

Our student newspaper published an article by a student who praises the idea of unpaid internships, insist that people who are not excited about them are spoiled, lazy and delusional, and suggests that working for no pay will bring untold benefits later in life.

This is in case you think my job is easy.

18 thoughts on “The Next Generation”

  1. They’re parroting what they’ve been told.
    “If you haven’t learned much about time management, teamwork or organization in your college classes, then an internship will provide you an opportunity to grow in all of those areas.”
    Oh my stars.
    Time management: Not writing your 50 page paper the night before it is due.
    Teamwork: Dealing with the flakes in your group project for class.
    Organization: I made my own damn outline for studying. Whee!

    I learned how to deal with bosses and coworkers and teamwork and how to prioritize things and to be organized at my paid jobs. My internship which I got post graduation, I learned specific job related skills. And I was paid.

    I wonder sometimes if internships aren’t some elaborate signaling device to show that you did not have to work your way through school but you know how to blow your nose. That you are a pliant and biddable worker — because you did FREE WORK.

    I’m cranky and old, so I feel like people should be pushing paid internships if they’re going to college or running a student careers service. Maybe you don’t get the full pay of an entry level worker, but you get paid SOMETHING so the employer doesn’t waste your time doing practically nothing or busy work because you’re a baby worker.


    1. “I wonder sometimes if internships aren’t some elaborate signaling device”

      It’s signaling, but it’s not that elaborate. Accepting (and fulfilling) an internship signals that your parents are the right kind of people. Period.

      We’ve moved from work being a grim necessity, to work being a right and now we’re headed at blinding speed toward work (beyond the least well paid and demeanig) being a _privilege_. And the system needs people with no hope of an internship (like the author of the article) to believe the system is fair and merit based…..


      1. “We’ve moved from work being a grim necessity, to work being a right and now we’re headed at blinding speed toward work (beyond the least well paid and demeanig) being a _privilege_.”

        – The most disturbing part is that people seem speeding towards that goal happily and joyfully. It shocks me that such a young person wrote that article. Aren’t young people supposed to be less obedient and accommodating?


      2. The young people are picking up on what’s around them, it isn’t that surprising. I think progressive people maybe need to stop being shocked at every development or evidence of irrational conservative values.. There has been a massive retrenchment of establishment values because even though there are a multitude of issues, people are on such an emotional tightrope that speaking objectively about issues is instinctively avoided. For most people imo.


        1. ” I think progressive people maybe need to stop being shocked at every development or evidence of irrational conservative values.”

          – You are right but I still can’t stop being shocked. last week, students started ranting against Obamacare in class. We only have students from pretty poor families. It is a mystery to me what they can possibly have against Obamacare. Of course, it’s their business if they don’t want to have insurance but I just don’t get it.


    2. “That you are a pliant and biddable worker — because you did FREE WORK.”

      – Yes, it seems to be something like that. There should be legislation that will place massive restrictions on this sort of thing. If there is no unique skill that can be learned in that internship, then it should be paid.


  2. Free internships = slavery. Just my opinion. If someone needs to learn time management, organizational skills and teamwork, they can learn all those things working at McDonalds and earn a small amount of money for their efforts.


  3. When I graduated from university with a degree in Marketing, I failed to find a job in my field. My lack of direct experienced (coupled with my eastern european last name) seemed to be the reason. In retrospect, I was wondering if an internship in marketing, even an unpaid one, would have facilitated my job search. I am now fully happy with the career path I ended up taking in a different field, but for those dreaming of work in the original area of choice an internship might be the solution.


  4. My daughter [the silversmith] went to an elementary school which had an unpaid internship for twelve year olds. She went to work with a small one person business for two or three hours a day twice a week for eight weeks. I think it led her to understand what was necessary to run a small business, which she does herself, now. It would have been illegal to pay her because of child labor laws, but I believe that it was a good idea. I do not know whether the school stilol does this.


  5. It’s not that I’m against the idea of internships per se, but I just feel like in the context of college, with so many people taking out loans, and many people needing multiple internships, it’s less training and more “I don’t feel like hiring entry level workers.”

    The feeling of “I don’t feel like hiring entry level workers” drives this explosion of post collegiate certificates which are then considered useless by employers who want “internships” and “experience” and have never heard of “transferable skills.” (Most HR departments, computer application systems and work agencies don’t believe in “transferable skills”, I have never encountered one that does in my life.)

    My mother keeps begging me to go back to school for anything. She grew up in a situation where education paid off much more quickly and easily than it does for me. I have a bachelor’s degree, a certificate, a mishmash of courses I took when I thought I might need as prerequisites to get into some other type of grad school and a failed year of law school.

    I raise a gimlet eye toward internships. Oh, and did you know that internships are exempt from many federal labor laws that don’t deal with compensation? (link is about how interns can’t file sexual harassment suits)


    1. This link is pretty scary. The whole concept of unpaid labor is scary and confusing. What are such people supposed to live on? Welfare? So the taxpayers will be funding free labor for certain companies? What about their benefits? Who will pay for their health insurance? Taxpayers again?


  6. Now i have a paid intership, that gets me roughly 200 euros per month… in a country where most things cost MORE than in Germany. Oh well, at least I finally got a job.
    Oh, and my employer does not pay me anything (and made it clear that he’s making me a huge favor, won’t hire me after the intership ends etc.), I am getting my pay from the State.


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