So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
The Unpaid Internship
It's bad enough that so many companies have unpaid internships. Recently I've learned that people are paying for the privilege of working for free.
We've gone backwards. In the Middle Ages, apprentices would work for free for their masters. Even so, the master had to provide room and board, along with actually teaching a skill. Slavery is bad, but at least the slaves have their basic needs attended to.
In principle, I have nothing against working for free. I do it all the time for family and friends. Heck, I'll even help out a stranger for free -brotherhood of man and all that.
Unpaid internships for a company are another animal entirely. It can be argued that skills are being taught. Maybe so. We used to call it on the job training. Wages were lower, because the worker had no skills, but they got paid. For me, the idea of paying someone to then be able to work for free goes beyond the pale.
If I work for free for family, friends or as a kindness to strangers, I'm part of the gift economy. The community is better for it. People's lives are just a bit better. If I refuse payment and tell the person to pay it forward, the good deed keeps on doing good. The world gets a bit better.
Work for free for a big corporation and their bottom line looks a bit better. Where has that brought us? To the point where they are even greedier and now require money for the joys of slavery.
Of course, I suppose some people really want to grow up to be corporate tools. In that case, paying for an internship is an excellent way to serve your new masters.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.