That’s rich

June 30, 2008

The obnoxious Sean Avery of the New York Rangers (that’s hockey – like baseball, but with a puck, a stick, skates and ice) made a splash when we learned earlier this month that he was an intern at Vogue Magazine. It turns out that the millionaire got a preferential treatment: he was paid minimum wage.

New York Mag has contacted former interns at Vogue and found a different reality:

For example, Sean is getting minimum wage for his work at the magazine, while real interns don’t get paid a dime.

Why did Vogue pay Avery a minimum wage and not its other interns?


Subsidized internships in Ontario

June 28, 2008

Students in Ontario may wat to take note of the program ACCELERATE where the provincial government provides CAD $16.89 millions over 4 years. Each internship will last 4 months and be paid about CAD $15,000. Sounds very reasonable. Even better is the structure of the experience:

Graduate student researchers will spend a minimum of 50 per cent of their time over a four-month period at a company, undertaking research on a problem jointly identified by the intern, business, a supervising professor, and MITACS, which is a federally funded network of Centres of Excellence that is managing the internship program.

Depressing life of an unpaid intern – Not?

June 27, 2008

Well well, who would’ve guessed: Fox News think that going unpaid is just the way to go. Of course, they don’t bring up any argument that hasn’t been mentioned before: it’s good for networking, it gets you experience, etc. But still, they fail to explain why it justifies being un(der)paid.

They should have stopped after their lead:

You arise with the sun, get to work by nine, stay at the office until six or later, but come Friday when paychecks go out, you’re left empty handed. Sound familiar? You must be living the depressing life of an unpaid intern.

80 employees, 40 interns

June 26, 2008

If a magazine has 80 employees and 40 interns, could it be that there’s something wrong?

Much like there is no free lunch, there is no free labour. It’s against the law in the US to hire people and not pay them. Calling them interns won’t cut it. – Review your internship

June 25, 2008 is another website where you can vent about your unfair internship or praise a fair one – or just check which employers are not exploiting their interns. It sets its heart to cover all 50 states, but falls short in many states, most likely because it was created recently. It is organized clearly, especially if you’re looking for reviews in a particular state or industry. It even allows to filter results by paid or unpaid internships and reports whether an internship was “great” for compensation when at least 51% of raters agree. It has a section where interns can find advice from industry professionals. This would be a good place to advise students on how to avoid or deal with an unfair/illegal internship. – Review your internship

June 23, 2008

We understand that it can be daunting to report an unfair internship to the authorities, even if it can be done anonymously. What may be easier is to write an anonymous review reporting your conditions. collects testimonies from interns. Feel free to talk about your good experiences, but also don’t hold back from saying out loud that some employers exploit their interns. If you were performing the duties of an employee without receiving adequate compensation, your internship is unfair. Help others avoid the trap.

Update (June 24): I just noticed that you can filter internships by compensation (paid/unpaid/credits) which is just great. I wish we could filter them by fair/unfair as there are some in both categories. It’s a testimony though to how confusing the interface is at the moment that it took me so long to find that critical function.

Pay to be privileged

June 22, 2008

Lindsay Gerdes makes the case in Newsweek against pay-to-intern schemes. She says that if these companies do the heavy lifting for you, you won’t learn to get a job yourself.

A personal favourite is certainly the claim by one of those companies that paying-to-work gives access to those who are not privileged: “it makes it easier for students from schools without tight internship connections to get the experience.” “But still have $10,000 to cough up”, we may add.