Are Unpaid Internships exploiting young people? Here’s one shocking and depressing story:

7 months passed and I reached breaking point as I sat in a meeting discussing a £10,000 social media campaign the company had paid for. The bleak realisation hit me; they could afford to shell out for this and expect ME to run the campaign, yet they were still unwilling to reimburse me.

Wow, that’s depressing. Seven months? Working for free? I know how tough that is because I’ve done the same, working for free in one of my first ‘jobs’ waiting for the point at which I would get paid. Luckily I did, but not after I’d put in 4 months work. I’d learned a lot, but in retrospect I was definitely exploited. And the producer could easily have dipped into the fee they’d made on the project to give me a ‘bonus’ for my commitment to them.

Unpaid internship advice

When you set up unpaid internships, make sure they have a time limit at the outset. Give them 2-3 weeks of your time unpaid. If they’re not going to pay for your services after that, they’re unlikely to ever. You’re better off changing companies where you’ll learn different skills and ways of doing things plus more contacts. These skills and contacts are more likely to get you a paid position than staying in the same abusive work relationship for months.

Good on the writer for bringing her internship to a close. Learning when to walk away from a bad employer (even if the job is good) is hard.

via Mind of a Loon

Gavin Ricketts is a Producer/Director with over twenty year's experience. His courses on finding work in the creative industries has helped hundreds of Film and TV Crew win more work.