Working for free is not a way to jump-start a career… change?

Finally, someone who gives advice on internships while warning against unfair ones. The Sun-Sentinel (February 25) provides this piece of advice:

Unless you’re in a formal internship, working without pay for a profit-making company is illegal. That’s the word according to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and state labor laws may also apply because free work to benefit a business is considered exploitation of workers.

And my favorite:

Even if it weren’t illegal, giving your time away makes you seem desperate, encouraging unprincipled employers to devalue your talent and abuse your generosity.

Of course, it’s too bad this was written for a 43-year-old who wants a career change and not for some graduate, but the content could be exactly the same. Think about it before accepting an unfair internship: you may be reducing your value rather than increasing it.

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