Conde Nast ended their internship program after being sued for violating labor laws. An intern, Diana Wang, felt that she was overworked without pay (55 hours a week!) and the law suggests that in order for interns to work without compensation (or school credit) they have to be doing work that relates to the field but the level of duties cannot be the equivalent of an entry-level position. Essentially, interns have to be like apprentices, they have to learn about the job but they can’t actually do the job other wise they are fulfilling the position and not getting paid. Interns all over the country are now suing Gawker Media, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Charlie Rose with similar accusations.
I am in favor of paid internships. I believe it’s totally a valid criticism if you’re an intern and all you ever do is get coffee and never get a chance to see or do anything relating to your field. If you’re acting as an editor but you’re treated like an intern and not compensated at all, that’s a problem.
However, the entitled comments from these brats make it hard to be on their side. Internships are a privilege. Many of them require you live in a major city. Many of them require you work for free. Many of them require a ton of your time. If your parents can’t support you for a three month summer internship, if you have to work and go to school full-time, you cannot participate in internships and you lose probably the most important competitive edge in the job market for entry-level positions. So when I read how ungrateful these interns were in the NY Post it really steamed my carrots.
“It feels like the people who sued kind of ruined it for everyone else because, I mean, if you don’t like your internship, you can cancel it. You can say, ‘I’m sorry, I quit.’ Not, ‘Well, I’ll stick it out and sue you,’ ” says Jenny Achiam.
Yes, because if you feel like your rights are being violated, you should never speak out.
“One time, Grace Coddington was selling her books, her Dolce & Gabbana books and her Tom Ford books, and [the interns] had to take them to the bookstore, five boxes of them, in a car, and we were told not to tell anybody,” says Lisa Denmark, a former intern, who was not eligible for school credit since she had already graduated. She was paid nothing for her work.
These are, in fact, the kinds of tasks most interns are given because they cannot legally have you writing cover features without pay. You’re actually not supposed to be given a substantial amount of responsibilities when you’re an intern. What did you expect? You weren’t lugging boxes around, you hopped in a car and dropped some books off. Those are the errands reserved for interns. Duh.
“It’s not because I didn’t have the tough bones,” Denmark clarifies, “it was because I would be scolded for not putting the tape on the mood boards correctly . . . if it stuck out a little or if there was a little bump in the corner of it, or if it wasn’t to their liking, I got in trouble.”
You didn’t “get in trouble.” You were corrected. You did something incorrectly and you were told. “Getting in trouble,” is getting a pink slip from the school principal, getting in trouble is being put on notice, getting in trouble is getting fired, getting in trouble is being put in timeout, getting in trouble is getting fined by the police . . . Adults don’t “get in trouble,” unless they do something illegal. You were spoken to like an adult. You are in a place of business, you were told to do something and you did it incorrectly then someone told you to fix it. You didn’t “get in trouble.”
“All of my peers in my major were suddenly posting these statuses where you would have thought it was the end of the world,” Achiam, 20, says, like: “ ‘There goes that dream internship!’ ‘Hearst it is, then!’ ”
Yes, poor you, now you and your entitled friends have to settle for a different prestigious internship while less privileged students wonder if they are good enough to compete with you.
“The interns were not allowed in the fashion closet when they did run-throughs,” referring to when an editor presents the final looks that will make it onto the fashion spread.
Shut up. You didn’t get to see all the pretty things? Poor you.
“The accessories interns [who didn’t quit] would go downstairs to the bar and take shots to deal with the OCD accessories assistant.”
Maybe you were crappy interns because you were drunk the whole time?
I don’t think these interns understand what an internship is. While Diana Wang has a legitimate case if she was acting as an editor or assistant because she was playing the role of an actual employee, these interns are just mad because they were actually treated like interns. Just because you are an intern at Vogue doesn’t mean you’re going to sit in on editorial meetings with Anna Wintour. As an intern you either get to perform a minimal amount of tasks related to your field or you run errands so that you get to be in the environment of the industry. You get to see how people behave in that industry, you get to learn about the etiquette of that field, you watch and learn. If you’re too busy complaining because you don’t like licking envelopes, then you’re going to miss out and that’s on you.
[Via. NY Post]