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Thread: Unpaid Internships: Exposed

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    Default Unpaid Internships: Exposed

    This article dismantles so many arguments that I hear all the time that piss me off to no end. A lot of the logic used to justify unpaid internships is similar to the logic used by employers who justify underpaying their employees. A little while ago, I made a thread about how ridiculously underpaid most legal assistants are, and how they're basically asked to be 80% of what a paralegal is for about 1/6th of the pay. And some of you suggested that it's okay because of the experience you're gaining!

    Also: see this link for more info:http://internjustice.com/

    When they said "sit down", I stood up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    And some of you suggested that it's okay because of the experience you're gaining!
    And it's still true.

    I have no idea if it's still done, but when I was a teenager in high school in England all students had to do mandatory "work experience" for a couple of weeks. Basically unpaid internships. And it was a very valuable experience.

    The only point your image raised that resonated with me was the issue of equality and class mobility. However, those problems will always exist in capitalist societies. If these currently unpaid positions suddenly started paying minimum wage preference for these positions would still often be given to those from the more affluent backgrounds. That's just the way things are. And yeah, I do hate that, but how do you hope to improve it?

    I also expect a lot of the positions would suddenly just disappear. Existing employees would be expected to expand their duties to cover the additional tasks rather than paying a new employee to do them. Companies regularly "downsize" and "streamline" in order to reduce costs. I doubt they would hesitate to simply eliminate the intern positions if they stopped being "economically feasible".

    How come this is such a major issue for you? Just curious.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    And it's still true.

    I have no idea if it's still done, but when I was a teenager in high school in England all students had to do mandatory "work experience" for a couple of weeks. Basically unpaid internships. And it was a very valuable experience.

    The only point your image raised that resonated with me was the issue of equality and class mobility. However, those problems will always exist in capitalist societies. If these currently unpaid positions suddenly started paying minimum wage preference for these positions would still often be given to those from the more affluent backgrounds. That's just the way things are. And yeah, I do hate that, but how do you hope to improve it?

    I also expect a lot of the positions would suddenly just disappear. Existing employees would be expected to expand their duties to cover the additional tasks rather than paying a new employee to do them. Companies regularly "downsize" and "streamline" in order to reduce costs. I doubt they would hesitate to simply eliminate the intern positions if they stopped being "economically feasible".

    How come this is such a major issue for you? Just curious.
    If UIs were eliminated and the companies made their existing employees cover what was previously the intern's workload, it would make those employees less productive in other areas. This would make the company less productive and profitable overall.

    These companies didn't create these UI positions because they were trying to be nice and offer experience to recent graduates. They did it because they realized that they needed more labor time to produce at the level they wanted. If someone is doing the work that they need to be done, the company should pay them for it. The only question is: How much?

    That's a complicated question, but I know that no matter what factors were introduced, I'd still feel that these interns deserve compensation that allows more than just people being 100% supported by wealthy parents to be able to afford to take on such internships. Of course, this would also require legislation since it's wage that is below the minimum.
    When they said "sit down", I stood up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    And it's still true.

    I have no idea if it's still done, but when I was a teenager in high school in England all students had to do mandatory "work experience" for a couple of weeks. Basically unpaid internships. And it was a very valuable experience.

    The only point your image raised that resonated with me was the issue of equality and class mobility. However, those problems will always exist in capitalist societies. If these currently unpaid positions suddenly started paying minimum wage preference for these positions would still often be given to those from the more affluent backgrounds. That's just the way things are. And yeah, I do hate that, but how do you hope to improve it?

    I also expect a lot of the positions would suddenly just disappear. Existing employees would be expected to expand their duties to cover the additional tasks rather than paying a new employee to do them. Companies regularly "downsize" and "streamline" in order to reduce costs. I doubt they would hesitate to simply eliminate the intern positions if they stopped being "economically feasible".

    How come this is such a major issue for you? Just curious.
    Yes, but you can't compare an unpaid internship of 2 weeks and of 6 months

    For the rest, it depends a lot of the internship... Honestly, all the ones I did (except in one law firm where I was lucky enough to find a lawyer who would train me), I filled labour contract position. In one of them, I learned a LOT... during the first month. After that, I pretty much had the autonomy required and I could just do my thing alone. In one of them, I was required to teach my new boss what I was doing... Nobody I ever had on the phone knew or would have guessed I was an intern.

    I was paid 300 a month, working from 9 a.m to 8 p.m.

    In another one, my boss, and the only one doing law in the company, decided to leave 2 months after I got in. I was part of the negociation so that she could leave for her new job early. So the next 4 months, I was the only legal in the company and took are of everything.

    9 a.m to 8 p.m. => 350 .

    If you cannot pay someone who does a normal job in your company, then you shouldn't run a company.

    Of course they would hire people. Maybe less. One employee for 2 interns. But they would because most interns fill REAL jobs.

    As for the learning thing... of course, for a little while. But when you start being efficient, you need to get paid.
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    Harley, I defer to your experience in this matter, though I would suspect your experiences as a legal intern may vary significantly from, say, an intern in the entertainment business.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    Harley, I defer to your experience in this matter, though I would suspect your experiences as a legal intern may vary significantly from, say, an intern in the entertainment business.
    I was a legal intern in the entertainment business

    No but yes, you are right. You can make generalizations about thess things and I don't pretend I know about every single situations. All I know is my own experience and the experience of the people around me. It concerns law, marketing and communication. Everyone of us, at one point, got an underpaid internship that wasn't compensated by the learning experience. And that was a real job.

    The contrary is true too. As I said, I had an underpaid internship (though better paid than the others) where I learnt plenty, for 6 months, and it was terrific.
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