I put in my time. I had not one, not two, but three unpaid internship while in college. I was the struggling college student who worked through being broke for the “experience.” I appreciate all the time I spent at those three companies, learning and doing things that I had only read about. I wouldn’t trade my experience gained at my internships for anything in the world.
After saying this, however, I need to bring up another issue. Are companies taking advantage of the job market and desperate fresh-out-of-college job seekers? As a qualified applicant searching for an entry-level in public relations, I have been seeing more “paid” internships for applicants holding degrees. So why would a company call a legitimate position an internship? I think it obvious that a large-scale corporation of any kind offering an hourly wage of $8.00 or less would be frowned upon, so they call that same position an internship.
Since the fate of the American job market remains to be seen, job hunters are settling for this measily wage because there are two options:
- Ride on a high (poverty-ridden) horse for months, struggling to pay rent & finally decide to take a job at your local friendly fast-food provider. You make more than minimum wage but only learn the difference between peanut oil and olive oil.
- Humble yourself, work ridiculously long hours for minimum wage, but learn the ins and outs of any given field. Hopefully a door will open at the end of the journey, thus making the entire internship that much better.
Of course I would choose Option 2. I just think if a company would create true positions and offer real salaries, both the economy and the confidence of Americans would heal. But until that time, pass me that paid internship.