Thursday, 12 August 2010

The debacle of the unpaid internship.

As of late, the word on everyone's mouth is the hot topic of - unpaid internships. Most of us bright young things, all are particpating or are seeking the perfect internship.

Competition is tough, with the recession hitting retail sales, cutting budgets, career propsects are strive for new graduates. Even to just find temporary jobs to get some dosh, or just to fill the time it is looking bleak.

Therefore to actually get in a competitive and lucrative career such as journalism; it is dog eat dog. That is partly why I agree with unpaid internships for careers such as Journalism, as it based on experience, building contacts and freelance work. Perhaps not so much for other options like, businness surely if you studied for businness you know the in's and out's and therefore do not need as much "work experience"? Whereas with journalism it is necessary to get as much experience as you can. A social media hub, meeting people and getting your name known is the name of the game. If you have a transferable skill like nursing for example, you have already studied and gained experience as part of your degree course. Similarly to that of the trade of plumbing, or construction.

However, I do think it is important for employers not to take advantage of the lowly intern. In hard times, employers are tempted not to pay young eager interns a penny- yet expect them to do alot! Judy Johnson, a journalist for Wahanda reports that she is seeing more and more "job like" internships even one for an editoral assisant that doesn't pay,

" I've seen some that are listed as Editorial Assistant positions, and then you see the small print: We are unable to offer any remunertation at the time"... This is frustrating, I know".

This is shocking, and obviously is not what we term an internship, but plain exploitation. But if you are willing to take it on, then obviously it is your choice.

I think internships are great, and am on the hunt (as always) for one. But I do hope I won't be on a never- ending spree of unpaid internships. Because at the end of the day, as much as we all love to write, you need to put bread and milk on the table, (or whatever that saying is!)

Much the predicament I'm in now, I may have found a new job, but it's every day and permanent, good news for the bank balance :) But not so much for the career prospects. I worry that I will get swept up by the retail veil, and forget how I once had dreams of a different life. (how dramatic).

Somehow I hope I will get the balance, between making enough money to keep out the red, and progress with my career. It must be possible as many people manage it, and hopefully it will only be the time being for starting out. All questions, all wonders...what will the future hold? Do I do a masters? The NTCJ? It all seems to be spending alot of money, before you've made anything. Really all I want to do is work and get my teeth into it, so that's why I think internships- paid or unpaid are a good idea- if they help you get to where you want to be :)

Check out Judy Johnson's advice on her blog for her thoughts on the unpaid internsip, and her tips for the aspiring journo. Funnily enough one is to write a blog, ironic ;)

What do you think of the unpaid internship? Hit or miss? Let mee know with your thoughts! X

The internship everyone is dreaming of, pretty unrealistic but oh, the clothes.


  1. Like you say it's all about the balance, you don't want it to get to the point where you are trapped into more unpaid work. It does look great on your C.V and you can gain a lot but it does not put food on the plate and help you with rent etc .... If I had my youth again I would have done it, it may have gotten me further but I had to have cash coming in or I just have had no life. I had to study, work and look after my mother, but if you are in more of a flexible position than take it !!! For sure you will get a lot out of it, just don't get to catch up in it. Take what you need from it and try for something, you must have a plan or you can end up like some of my friend's did with people making a promise of work and leaving you too it after the inter ship end's. Great post xx

  2. Thanks for the advice :) I am going to go for it as I think for Journalism it is the only way forward. But it is tricky, hopefully you can get a balance by having set internships and booking time out of work. I need the money, but with no experience I am no where. I do kinda have a plan, to do the NTCJ in January. but thats money, groan. Hehee I promise I will stop moaning soon, my lot is not tooo bad! Thanks for following my blog, I loved reading yours it is wicked. Xxx


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