When did it become acceptable to work for free? No, I am not referring to volunteering for charity or helping out a friend with a project or any other noble causes you may take up in your free time but that dreaded phrase ‘please note this is an unpaid internship’.
Since I moved to Manchester three months ago I have been searching for a role as a Junior Content Writer and I cannot help but note the number of unpaid positions in proportion to entry level positions with a salary. Some of you may argue ‘but it’s relevant experience’ and ‘it will look great on your CV’. Yes it is experience, yes it may look great on my CV but as a realist nothing in life is free. I have transport to pay for, loans building up and rent to pay. Now I don’t know about you lovely readers out there but I cannot and will not work for free. You need someone to help out with blogging, edit an exciting new manuscript that has just come through or writing content for a brochure? Great, pay me the minimum wage and I’ll get started tonight.
And, please, let us not even get in to the legality of these unpaid internships. The law clearly states that if interns are expected to complete a defined list of duties and/or have set hours they are an ‘employee’ and therefore entitled to the National Minimum Wage. For the companies out there advertising unpaid internships… shame on you. Don’t mistake this post for bitterness or false expectations of a £30,000+ salary for a new, inexperienced writer but the concerns of someone from a not so privileged background as to be able to work for free for 6+ months with no guarantee of a job at the end of it.
If the ramblings of a disgruntled job seeker was of any interest to you this evening please feel free to visit some of the sites below for further reading on unpaid internships. Alternatively maybe you have your own thoughts on the rise of unpaid internships? Do feel free to comment if you do! For now TTYL.