UCWbLing

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The Unpaid Internship – Cruel and Unusual or Necessary Evil? October 16, 2012

Unfairness, thy name is unpaid internship. During one conversation appointment this week, I fell into something of a difficulty: having to explain why I had done so many unpaid internships. My conversation partner, a finance graduate student, had already had a paid internship with an ample (if not exactly generous) stipend, and thought it was strange when I said I’d never had a paid internship. In the past four years, I’ve worked for several companies in several roles, but always unpaid and always with a paying retail or office job on the side so I wouldn’t run my bank account into the ground. I’ve spoken with other students in humanities or writing programs over the past few years and many of them reported similar experiences (with the exception of those who only did unpaid internships and let the budgetary chips fall where they may). I’m willing to bet that most of our readers in LA&S can relate, and most science or business students are thinking I’m crazy for accepting unpaid work. For me, the question becomes: why does the unpaid internship seem to be only the plague of humanities or writing-based fields? Does it actually do anything, other than drain our bank accounts? And what can we do to change it? (more…)

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