The 9 Reasons Internships Are A Scam

I saw this image on Tumblr and thought you guys should see it. I’ve never seen why internships are a problematic force articulated in such a simple, concise and accurate way.

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The image comes from a blog post by Sarah Kendzior, a notable writer and op-ed columnist for Al Jazeera English. While I’ve mentioned before that my previous paid internship is what helped me get my job at CC, I worked four unpaid internships before that, enduring, perhaps more stress than the people who worked at these companies because I was a full time student, had a part time job and was also a full time intern. These experiences are valuable but they shouldn’t only be accessible to the people who have situations where they can work for free.

What do you guys think?

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  1. djnemec says:

    Y'all need to become engineers… unpaid engineering internships are basically illegal (figuratively speaking).

    Speaking from my limited point of view:

    As much as I'd love skill to be the sole determiner of a candidate for hire, there's something to be said for experience. In my opinion, it's similar to someone being incredibly talented in his/her profession, but lacking communication skills. For example, large corporations have a certain "corporate culture" that isn't taught in most (if any) schools–the only way to learn it is through experience and while it's not strictly necessary to understand it to do your job, those who do will have much less trouble adapting to changes or "selling yourself" to others from whom you need help, info, or business partnerships. Between meetings, email discussions, and various other things, sometimes you're only doing specifically what you were hired for (e.g. writing articles) a couple of hours a day.

    That said, we need to do something about the massive educational debt that's "required" of us to find a job even though with the degree it's hit-or-miss whether or not you'll be successful at finding a place to hire you. Everyone tells us to "invest in our future" by taking out loans for school, yet many of these companies refuse to invest in us through paid internships.

    Personally, I'd prefer to make them illegal: if you can't afford to pay the intern, you shouldn't get to benefit from any work they do. Technically, there are very strict rules (in the US) regarding unpaid internships (e.g. the intern cannot do work that would otherwise be done by a regular employee and the company cannot benefit materially from the intern's work), but I highly doubt that even 30% of unpaid internships meet that criteria. Remember, internships are a "privilege" and instead of complaining you should just shut up and appreciate that you're getting work experience at all.

    Unfortunately, I can imagine that greedy companies or small ones without the means to pay for extra people would probably just axe the intern program altogether rather than pay up. Eventually, all of their "experienced" employees will retire and they'll be fucked because they refused to invest in young talent when the had the chance, but that's not too helpful for people looking for jobs right now =/

  2. Jennifer says:

    I agree with some points here. However from having done 2 internships and now having a job, I can say that they also can be useful

  3. rlewis9 says:

    Awesome article with good points that I wish more people would realize. I absolutely adore my internship, but that's because my supervisor understands my schedule and the fact that I am a student first. For the most part, however, so many internships are just unfair, and I find it hard to believe that supervisors don't know this. The way to get a job used to be qualifications – now it's doing unpaid work? But that only counts for the "high class" jobs. You can't even be a server in many places around me without experience. So what exactly are we expected to do?

  4. Ceener says:

    Technically you can say the above about anything that teaches anyone anything that in the end MAY help someone find their economic niche. :/
    Rich people don't have time (or the interest) to come up with a comprehensive list like that to make students suffer.

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