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Follow me on Twitter @MattBors and order a copy of my latest book, Life Begins At Incorporation.

Originally posted to Comics on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The one thing worse than being an unpaid intern (4+ / 0-) being Steven Colbert's unpaid Jay the Intern.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 06:59:17 AM PDT

  •  Matt, didn't you get the memo? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MHB, art ah zen, Hohenzollern

    unpaid internships are all about white privilege.

    What do the Defend-NSAers-at-any-cost hope for society to gain from Snowden turning himself in and standing trial? I suspect it'll be a cold day in hell before any of them finally give a reasonable, coherent answer to that question.

    by happymisanthropy on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 07:19:16 AM PDT

  •  new to this topic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MHB, art ah zen, Hohenzollern, rbird

    Why don't "interns" get minimum wage?  

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 07:21:21 AM PDT

  •  i love that the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hohenzollern, Yoshimi, DaddyO, catwho

    guy's screen has a girlie picture on it.  ain't that the truth!

    "I am an old woman, named after my mother. my old man is another child who's grown old." John Prine (not an old woman)

    by art ah zen on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 07:28:29 AM PDT

  •  "Senior intern" is a thing, by the way (4+ / 0-)

    A Google search led me to this charming job ad, supposedly targeted at students:

    Not only do you have to bring your own laptop, you have to commit to working at least 30 hours a week. (While attending school?) Otherwise you will only be eligible for a "junior" intern position.

    In fairness, the "senior" interns are paid a stipend--at the conclusion of their service!

    • (0+ / 0-)

      From their website:

      Our Vision

      We would like to live in a world where:
      All people can lead free and dignified lives.
      Every person who wants to help another has the ability to do so.
      No opportunities for action or collaboration are missed or wasted.

      Our Mission

      Idealist connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.

      Idealist is independent of any government, political ideology, or religious creed. Our work is guided by the common desire of our members and supporters to find practical solutions to social and environmental problems, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect.

      So, in essence  it's a social network, and the organization isn't responsible for the content of the "opportunities" listed, the member companies are.

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:26:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fucking wow (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I only hope to become a senior serf when the time comes. In that bright sunny future of America, when the New Feudalism finally returns...I'll be ready.

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:51:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is "at will" employment in our current system (0+ / 0-)

      Employers have the power to hire and fire for any reason, without explanation. Apologists tell job hunters that they are free to go somewhere else if they don't want to pay their dues and intern for free.

      Okay, let's take "at will" to the next level. How about a social media service that prospective employers can use to anonymously track the work history and performance of interns and then quickly, painlessly pluck the best ones from unpaid positions into actual jobs with salaries, benefits and a longer-term commitment?

      Watch how quickly the companies that abuse talented interns with false promises scramble to lock them down before they lose them. Watch the lawsuits as companies try to hamstring their unpaid personnel into non-compete clauses with indefensible contracts.

      The problem here is that employers, with government help (i.e. union busting) have destroyed the idea that employment is a contract between employer and employee. Employers still expect loyalty, yet they do all they can to eliminate the business risks of hiring, developing and managing their permanent workforce. The linked internship above actually states that candidates "will receive a stipend at the end of the internship that is commensurate with performance".

      The employment contract must acknowledge a sharing of risk and a mutual benefit. Healthy Capitalism recognizes that labor and capital dance together, and any system that shifts all the power to capital, ironically, is no longer capitalism.

  •  But what about the perks? Based on the... (7+ / 0-)

    ...reading material on this guy's desk, I'd guess that sexual harassment is a perk in this particular internship.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:09:53 AM PDT

  •  What this comic doesn't show is the mid level (8+ / 0-)

    employees underpaid because an intern can do some of their tasks for free - thus lowering the pay throughout the company.

    •  Quality of the Work Will Suffer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, JeffW

      As more work is given to the interns, more oversight responsibility is put on the mid-level employees as an unwritten part of their "additional duties." This makes them de facto work leaders or supervisors without the recognition or pay.

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:29:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember when comics used to be funny (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The iPad image got a grin out of me... But there's nothing funny about this master/slave relationship. Not even ironic...just sadistic. seven the Year of Jubilee...she'll get that paying job. That's the plan, right?

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:47:36 AM PDT

  •  Law Requires Paying Interns (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know about other states. But NY law requires anyone whose work is assigned to contribute to the revenue of the company be paid at least minimum wage. If they're an "unpaid intern" they can't spend any time doing anything that is assigned to make the company money.

    Of course some people might waive that right to try win favors (and so maybe get a paying job). But anyone can report the employer, who'd face penalties. Even the worker themself - like if they don't get that paying job. So I suppose "unpaid intern" would be a way to guarantee a paying job comes out of it. Or at least a payment, for blackmail.

    Everyone should learn these laws in highschool. I expect neglecting that is by design, to keep us down.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 10:21:23 AM PDT

    •  It's abused left and right (2+ / 0-)

      Interns are supposed to be getting industry exposure and learning about the company, not doing any serious work.

      Instead they tend to get treated as house-elves by upper management at most places.

      My company does offer field internships during the summer, but they're the real deal and it earns them class credit at the local university to boot.  

      The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

      by catwho on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 01:09:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  not-funny: too true in 1 % Pres-Romney-Economy (2+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 12:32:01 PM PDT

  •  In my day we had a thing called (2+ / 0-)

    "On-the-job training." It was considered a recruitment tool. They paid you, and they trained you. It was considered a good thing. Those days are gone with the wind, but the KKK is making a comeback. Gah!!!

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 01:11:54 PM PDT

  •  I recently sat in a panel discussion... (2+ / 0-)

    ...for engineering students at our university.  One of them asked about the value of summer internships, and what to do if they don't get one.  

    We all said summer internships are super awesome and pay off in so many ways and go for them---this is in engineering, however, where internships are paid, well, and often do provide significant post-graduation job opportunities.

    But then, to answer the second question, a CS professor piped up:  if you can't get a summer internship, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from spending your summer doing your own productive thing, like writing your own apps, or taking part in an open-source project, and still having something significant to put on a resume, possibly even something cool you could demo in a job interview.  

    It's not going to make you money (unless you manage to sell a few apps,) but there's no gatekeeper stopping you from doing something cool on your own, in your own time and at your own pace.

    That was a really brilliant point, and it highlights even more the idiocy of unpaid internships.  If you're going to work for free, you could just work for yourself---and instead of getting coffee or sorting mail you could be doing exactly the cool things you want and learning exactly the technical skills you want.  

    There is no logical reason to have an unpaid internship, except that someone has acquired a position of authority that allows for the exploitation of workers, and has decided to abuse it.

    Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

    by Caj on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 01:14:47 PM PDT

  •  internship is about maintaining social class (0+ / 0-)

    That poor intern is being terribly exploited.  But her corporate lawyer dad and art gallery manager mom are the real victims.  Her parents are probably paying $3000 a month for her Williamsburg apartment, plus her grocery, restaurant, bar, club, and European travel bills, probably paid $50K plus a year for her liberal arts degree, and now she isn't being paid by that awful frat boy with the coffee.

    I was raised by a broke single mother and had to achieve everything on my own.  I started as a dishwasher.  I know damn well that it would have been a lot harder if I had been black or a woman ("affirmative action" merely moves the lucky few who would have been successful anyway up one notch, sending the guy who would have had a full scholarship at University of Michigan to Harvard instead, while doing nothing for the kids who aren't taught to read; this is not a knock on affirmative action, just a fact).  But being white didn't make it much better.

    It's even tougher now, but you can still do it to some degree in health care and some other fields that are professional but involve hard study and hard, honest work, where the barriers are things like GPA and standardized test scores, and where your skills can be certified.

    The internship thing was less of a big deal in my day, but even then I was mainly excluded from "glamour" jobs, let alone high pay easy work dumb guy jobs like certain types of "money manager" things.  I could not work for free.  My student aid, coupled with my ability to live an extremely frugal life, got me through the school year but I needed to work, too, and I needed to work for money.  My brother broke into the hard work end of the entertainment business, I guess that's a sort of "glamour".  But if I wanted to edit novels, forget it, you have to have parents who support you for years while you "intern" for that type of thing.

    Not needing to work for pay is the definition of the George W. Bush class.  I'm not at all bothered by that.  I want rich people to pay their fair share of taxes and not be allowed to buy the government, but I have nothing against them.  But let's not be full of crap.  The unpaid internship ensures that some talented but poor person who needs pay can't sully that particular environment with his or her lower class vulgarity, because he or she can't work for free, because food and shelter and clothing and transportation cost money.  It ensures that some over-ambitious plumber dad who tries to make his daughter a Vogue editor will run out of money before she ever gets paid.  It keeps the riff-raff out.  That's what it does and let's not talk crap about it.  

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