My Future

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad For Not Applying For Internships

Experience is good, but it don't pay the bills.

Internships are a great way of getting experience, networking, and learning new skills.

However, there comes a time when you’ve passed the point of working for free and only getting a letter of recommendation for six months’ hard work.

Yes, work experience is valuable, but here’s why in the long run doing heaps of internships actually suck.

It’s Just Nice To Get Paid

It’s OK if your internship is one month or two — that’s fine. But when I see internships advertised for SIX MONTHS without pay, it’s just plain cheeky of them. How can a uni student who usually has very little money to begin with, support themselves while working once a day for six months, for FREE? Is the work experience even worth it? Absolutely not.

If you value your work and you are good at what you do, you should get what you’re owed.

It Might Be Illegal

Yep, your unpaid internship could actually be against the law. Internships that are covered by your university, and count towards your course load, are completely above board.

But if it’s not, and you’re required to produce content for the business, or obligated show up for a certain period of time, then you are working for the company. This means that you are entitled to the national minimum wage and the company is breaking the law.

If you want to know your rights before taking an internship here’s a link.

It’s Unfair

Employers definitely take advantage of the fact that students are happy to work for free in order to expand their resume. This means they’re happy to increase the time of the internship so they can continue to get free labour out of you.

Only do an unpaid internship if you are sure that you will get a job within that company, or a similar company, when it’s over. And since there really isn’t a way to guarantee that, unless your employer puts it in writing, then it’s a no-go.

It’s unfair that the employers favour those who can work for free and put others who can’t at a real disadvantage. Some of us need to pay our rent so we can live!

You Deserve More

Don’t get me wrong, internships are a great foot in the door and can teach you a lot. But there comes a time when you need to remember that your time, effort and work is valuable. Whether you’re using your brain to think of ideas for a company, writing articles, or using your skills to design something they will get some use out of, doing it for free is like saying your work has no value. Don’t undersell yourself.

You spent all this money on your uni education, so you deserve to get paid for your hard work.

You Don’t Get Benefits

Apart from not getting paid, you also don’t have the same benefits as paid employees. Did you know that as an unpaid intern you’re not protected against discrimination or harassment at work? Not exactly the ideal work environment. And you obviously don’t get sick leave, annual leave or super.

So if you’re umming and ahhing about whether or not to get more “work experience”, don’t fret. There’s some pretty good reasons why you shouldn’t be anyway.

Sophie Nicolas is studying a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and is an aspiring writer, dog enthusiast and thrift sho fashion icon.

(Lead image: Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23/abc)