Do Not Work Unpaid Internships

Sometimes, the job market is a place full of sunshine and rainbows where you are bukkake’d with offers.

But other times, it can be quite dark and depressing, especially when you’re in college or recently graduated. In a moment of desperation, you might consider accepting an unpaid internship. Here’s why that’s a bad idea:

By not paying you, the company is stating that you have no value. Chris Rock once said, “I used to work at McDonald’s making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? ‘Hey if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.'” If that’s what paying someone minimum wage is saying, imagine how much worse an unpaid internship is. An employer that won’t pay you will not invest in you. In their eyes, you are worth nothing.

This is doubly insulting considering that a lot of governments will subsidize the hiring of students.

Unpaid internships do not look good on a resume. Listing a job on a resume signals that someone was willing to pay for your services. In other words, they thought you had value. An unpaid internship does not signal anything because no one was willing to pay for your services. You could always lie and say it was a paid internship, but that’s not difficult to verify. And if you’re willing to lie about whether an internship was paid, why not go big and lie about the whole thing?

Unpaid internships do not contribute to your !@#$ you fund. Having a !@#$ you fund allows you to say no to bad deals. Unpaid internships delay the acquisition of that fund. Given the compounding nature of interest, it is imperative that you start earning money as soon as feasible. Money earned early is worth more than the same amount earned later.

As usual, exceptions exist. If you’re offered an unpaid internship under Peter Thiel, perhaps you’re the one taking advantage of your employer. But it’s more likely that the unpaid internship is of the cold-calling, making-photocopies variety. And some industries, such as big pharma, feature unpaid or poorly-compensated internships as the norm. However, those internships are reliable stepping stones to high compensation later and can be thought of as an exercise in paying your dues.

Instead of taking an unpaid internship, work at McDonald’s instead. A stint at the golden arches shows strong work ethic and an ability to work well within a team, if you can hack it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.