Send me your best one

The point of unfair internships, their proponents would say, is that they teach you skills. That’s your salary. One would guess that it’s skills you wouldn’t get with an entry-level job, otherwise you would be paid an entry-level salary. Right?

Let’s take an example: a sports management major interns with a Triple A baseball team (Senior Interns for the Mud Hens, Calvin College, August 2, 2006). See the relevance? Let’s look a little closer.

Exoo’s works in the Mud Hens’s operations department, doing general maintenance for the team facility and overseeing ticket takers and ushers. (…) One of Exoo’s duties is to check every seat in the ballpark for wear or breakage. “That’s kind of tedious,” he says.

See: the intern is already learning. And he’ll have plenty of time to do so:

Exoo says he can easily work 12-hour days when the team is in town. In fact his first week on the job he put in 75 hours!

How did they recruit the right guy for this kind of responsibilities? you may ask.

“A previous student of mine interned at the Mud Hens,” says physical education professor Jim Timmer, who taught and coached in Cleveland prior to coming to Calvin. “He said send me your best one, and we sent him Dean.”

At least, the intern is on a scholarship and is getting credits for his work. Wait — getting credits for checking every single seat in the ballpark?

Sometimes it’s the salary that’s unfair. But when the internship is part of a degree, the duties can make an internship unfair. It should offer opportunities unseen to a new employee. In this particular case, the intern could stick like glue to the general manager during and between the games. He’ll have plenty of time once he’s hired to learn about seats checking.

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