Do you want an internship? It’ll cost you

January 28, 2009

The mainstream media (liberal, remember!) has one more priceless – or rather costly – story about unfair internships. The Wall Street Journal praises programs that ask for money in return for placements in unpaid internships.

But parents say the fees are a small price for giving their children a toehold in a treacherous job market.

How much more do we need to understand that we have a collective action problem? A parent that gives a “toehold” to his kid has just put every other kid behind and other parents will be pushed to do the same until everybody is paying to get a job and we’re back at square one. What do you do then to get ahead? You pay more. That’s how you go from accepting a lower pay, to accepting something below the minimum wage, to accepting an unpaid job and now to paying to get one.

But Megan, then 20, had already applied for 25 summer internships and hadn’t received any replies.

Do we need any more proof? Maybe this.

The program they used (…) is one of a handful of for-profit internship companies that have sprung up in the past few years.


Gina Philips, Los Angeles, a consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association, says demand from wealthy parents has led employers in the entertainment industry to create internships that otherwise wouldn’t exist, just to help raise money.

And I spared you all the justifications that finally, these pay-to-work schemes are making the job market more fair to the less fortunate. Lucky you.


To the highest bidder

March 30, 2008

Taking an unfair internship is paying to work considering all the work-related expenses that put you in the red. But, as this blog has mentioned before, some literally pay to get an internship. The New York Times reported in January that CharityBuzz is auctioning internships – and they go for several thousands of dollars. It’s so upsetting that they use charity as an excuse. It’s like taking human shields.

I had never heard of such auctioning, but apparently, “the idea isn’t new: elite private schools have also found fund-raising potential in putting internships on the auction block along with a cruise for two.”

At least, the paper acknowledges that there’s something wrong there.

If the idea of paying to work seems counterintuitive, it is. And critics point to the exclusion of the less affluent and the absence of merit as a yardstick. Even bloggers grumble.

Even bloggers? Who doesn’t?

(by way of The Editorialiste)