The Brainchild of Unpaid Internships: The Nazis

(Article first published as The Brainchild of Unpaid Internships: The Nazis on Technorati.)

Bowl of Bourbon

“For those who enjoy the taste of variety”

“Your work at a factory will help build Deutschland” was probably belted out of the propaganda ridden speakers on a routine basis in Nazi Germany. Replace factory with ‘internship’ and Deutschland with ‘your career’ and you’re listening to the same BS projecting from your college adviser’s scam ridden mouth. The only difference is the person you’re hearing this from doesn’t have an odd little mustache. Or do they. . .

Instead of wasting your time wondering why certain college majors require the completion of an internship, because many already do, ask why not? From their viewpoint, the benefits are endless. Pimping out student interns to businesses adds connections to the school, potential fund donations, fees for the internship “course” and the department doesn’t have to pay for a teacher or equipment. All they have to do is continue blindfolding students from seeing the real picture.

Let me first throw out the disclaimer that not all internships are unpaid. There are a select few internships that follow the normal human principle of giving a paycheck to a person that does work for the company. Not pointing my finger at those. However, the majority of internships offer indentured servitude; oops, I mean “for-credit” positions. Allow me to let you in on a secret, “for-credit” is code for free labor. Some cake eating administrator coined the term; he thought it sounded a bit jazzier.

“With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor.” -NYTimes.

And to this, the index finger’s pissed off neighbor is raised.

The hyenas that support unpaid internships preach the so-called benefits of said position: experience, class credit, learning how to hustle, opportunity to get your foot in the door. How noble of an idea, put in hard work and reap the rewards later on. The American dream. The concept is just like buying something on credit that you can’t afford; you’re only kidding yourself. The American nightmare. Beneath the surface of this utopian concept, the true beneficiary is not who you would expect: the employer.

But federal regulators say that receiving college credit does not necessarily free companies from paying interns, especially when the internship involves little training and mainly benefits the employer.” – NYTimes.

Look around, you’re at a company with 16 employees and 8 interns. You really think they’re looking to increase staff by 50%? Do yourself a favor, start playing Clue, not Monopoly. A new flock of sheep will be filing in the next quarter. To pass go in this game, you don’t just have to avoid getting taxed. You have to pay the piper to just roll the dice.

Essentially, at the forefront of this broken concept is the hypothesis, “If students are required to complete an internship, they will be better prepared for a career after graduation.” Grand idea, but there’s a reason it hasn’t become a theory. The patsies that are relaying this scheme to students need to notify their superiors that it’s time to close the curtains on this charade. The presence of many imperfect variables is causing this experiment to become an ultimate failure.

To fully understand how ludicrous it is to require internship experience, you have to look at the circumstances that are in play for a college student. The majority of college students take a full course load each semester. On top of that, many have a part time job during the school year and work full time over the summer to pay for tuition. Students are left with a dismal catch-22 situation: either take the internship during the semester when they are working and attending class or over the summer; instead of working at a full time paying job.

Both options come with thick wrinkles that call for an industrial iron to flatten out. For the intern-during-semester route, you have to find an opportunity within driving distance of campus. Schools do not place students at internships; that’s so Commi. Instead, students are expected to find an opportunity themselves. Time for real world experience in capitalism kids! Students have to compete with their fellow classmates for the few internship opportunities in the surrounding area.

Unfortunately, the situation always plays out like being the 2nd captain in pick-up basketball. The 1st captain gets the tall, athletic player and you’re stuck with the guy that has a gimp leg. All of the promising paid internships that are located near campus are swept up by those who have an “in”. For the rest of us who don’t have the fortune of a Dad that golfs with big wigs, we’re left with the scraps. This, of course, happens to be the stale medley that is far away and doesn’t pay. Thanks, but no thanks.

As a result, many students have to resort to interning over the summer. For students that have to support themselves financially, it’s like throwing giant stones on their already sinking ship. They lose out on all the money they would have made at a regular job for an unpaid position that will eventually catapult them to the stars!

“Some of my friends can’t take these internships and spend a summer without making any money because they have to help pay for their own tuition or help their families with finances,” she said. “That makes them less competitive candidates for jobs after graduation.” – NYTimes

The notion that internship experience will lead to a higher salary career is initially ass backwards. It has gotten to the point where many students are paying for their time as an intern. Add this expense to their mound of student loans and you’re looking at a recent graduate entering the real world drowning in debt. Please, Mr. Cake Eater, can you toss out a lifesaver?

To put an end to this unjust scam, it’s time to start shining a fluorescent spotlight on the weasley exploiters that enable this travesty to continue. Only under this hot light and scrutiny will they break a sweat and admit wrongdoing.

The businesses that have unpaid internship positions should be subject to public stoning. Knowing full well of how hamstrung students are, they take advantage of their desperation to fulfill the requirement. The tyrants’ stance on internships is centered on the thuggish premise, “Why take the toll road when we can veer off to this service road. We’ll avoid the fee and it isn’t exactly illegal.” They’re taking advantage of the situation and reaping the benefits without getting penalized.

Boorish advice from one pimp to another pimp; explaining to employers the vast benefits of taking in indentured servants:

“Take advantage of low-cost labor. Interns are an inexpensive resource. Their salaries are significantly lower than staff employees, and you aren’t obligated to pay unemployment or a severance package should you not hire them on full time. Moreover, while their wage requirements are modest, they’re among the most highly motivated members of the workforce.

The pimp continued, “Like Leonidas in ‘300’ said, ‘Give them nothing, but take from them, everything!”

Whether it’s negligence, sheer stupidity, or some shady monetary reason, the colleges that require students to complete an internship deserve the sharpest stones. They aren’t putting any traffic cones up to block the crooks. The trolls are either waving the exploiters through or are too ignorant to realize that they need to be put up. When a bully is stealing a kid’s candy bar, you would think the parent would say something instead of looking the other way. Maybe they’re going halfsies on the Twix bar? Who knows.

Now, after being pelted and bloodied, the scoundrel administrators should listen to a very simple solution. DO NOT REQUIRE; have internship “course” as an elective, under one condition. This solution would save many students from financially crippling themselves. For the admins that are hell-bent on students taking internships, one condition MUST apply. All internships taken for course credit “through” the school must be paid positions and an elective. Every single ghoul recruiter that steps foot on campus looking for interns must be offering wages for the duration of the internship.

“About 60 percent of students who did a paid internship in the for-profit sector received a job offer by graduation, while only 38 percent of students who’d participated in an unpaid internship in that sector had an offer by then.

Time to make the change, pimps, if you want to be able to continue the “we want to better prepare students for the future” spiel.

And to the shady businesses, be prepared.

The blindfold has been ripped off. We are now putting up the cones.


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