If you’re a college student and you’re lucky enough to have a paid internship, good for you! But with gas prices escalating by the day, you better believe these opportunities will soon be a thing from the past.
Many companies, such as Cisco Systems and S.C. Johnson & Sons, are among those that allow their employees to telecommute instead of driving back and forth to the office each day. Where does that leave the interns? Let’s be honest – most internships are segways for soon-to-be entry-levelers to make their connections and possibly land a job after graduation. But let’s not kid ourselves. Interns work long hours and usually perform minute and overbearing tasks for barely minimum wage (most supervisors bestow the work they don’t want to do to their interns). So now, with oil prices rising, many companies are looking to pinch every penny they can. And that might mean getting more work for less money – or none at all.
For some industries, unpaid internships are necessary to get into the business. Of course I’m referring to show business. Many young hopefuls venture out to New York City or Los Angeles each June after graduation, hopes set high, all trying to find a place in the entertainment world. Most will work as a server or bartender at night to pay the bills, while floating in and out of various agencies as a temp during the day, all hoping to prove themselves – or better yet, meet the right person – to give them their big break.
But what are the uncompensated interns who are required to work full-time or over-time supposed to do? Destroy what youth they have left filling up the weekend with a second or third job to make ends-meat?
This is why it’s so disheartening to be an intern with today’s economy. As Generation Y children, we’re the ones growing up with greater ambitions, higher goals and, frankly, superior job skills – arguably better than those who proceed us – yet we’re left to scrape the bottom of the barrel.