Sunday, September 1, 2013

Internships and Temping---Is it really worth the hassle?

As a recent college graduate, finding a job in this economy isn't easy. While I had the opportunity ro temp with a company called Randstad, they screwed me over in the end. When they terminated my assignment with the company I was working for at time, they expected me to pay them. (There the ones who made the decision to the assignment, so why should I suffer?) Working for them was one the biggest mistakes I made in my professional career. But you live and learn.
However finding another job was not as easy as I thought it would be. Even though companies accept online applications, did you know that there is only a 2% chance that they'll even look at you application? So after all that time searching and applying for jobs online you've wasted time because someone who has some type of connection with the company will get the job instead. You may be much more qualified than the other applicant, but a computer is actually choosing who will get that call or email to set up a possible interview.
I was lucky enough to land an internship with a public relation firm in downtown Manhattan called Kwittken + Co. And it was even a paid internship, which is kind of unusual because a lot of employers give interns a stipend or the intern gets credit from the college/university their attending. I thought it would to a full time job opportunity, but it didn't. I did learn a lot about the public relations industry though. Looking back it was a great learning opportunity.
But some interns weren't so lucky. Just recently interns at the White House, have campaigned to end unpaid internships. From CNNMoney, "According to the White House website, its internships are unpaid, housing isn't provided, and interns should expect to work 'at least Monday-Friday, 9 am-6 pm.'  In my opinion if your working all those hours, they should be getting paid. Their working 40+ hours a week and only getting college credit, don't employers realize that college students have rent and bills to pay. With no money incentive, students may not have any motivation to do the job. It's kind of unfair because we do all the work and pay for credit, it's just not right. Recently,  an intern from Bad Boy Entertainment was appalled when she had the following duties:
-- answering telephones
-- getting lunch and coffee for paid employees
-- making deliveries
-- gift-wrapping presents
-- decorating the office during holidays
While I agree these duties are torturous, two interns on the Black Swan through Fox Searchlight won a lawsuit when a NY judge ruled the interns were entitled to compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor law.  Besides Fox Searchlight, NBC Universal got sued by former unpaid interns both interns were represented by the same lawyer! According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Universal was sued by former MSNBC intern Jesse Moore, who worked for the network's booking department in 2011. Moore is one of two plaintiffs suing. The other plaintiff, Monet Eliastam is suing the network for time spent working on Saturday Night Live in 2012. The complaint from these two interns states,“By misclassifying Plaintiffs and hundreds of workers as unpaid or underpaid interns, NBCUniversal has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees, including unemployment, workers’ compensation insurance, social security contributions, and, most crucially, the right to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.” Even Charlie Rose's production company paid $110,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by former unpaid interns.
The latest lawsuit adds to the growing intern-lawsuit canon. Companies such as Conde Nast, Gawker, Warner Music and others have been sued for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay minimum wage to interns.  However the timing of these lawsuits is no coincidence after the Fox litigation broke ground on the subject. Since then, attorneys have been preparing.
But if your just starting to intern a great book to have on during this entire experience was All Work, No Pay by Lauren Berger. Known as "The Intern Queen," she is the Chief Executive Officer of She is arguably the nation's most in-demand career/internship expert. She is truly an inspiration. During her college years, she completed fifteen internships for companies likes MTV, FOX, and NBC. Berger has been recognized for her work with young people and her entrepreneurial spirit has attracted millions of job and internship seekers.
Whether or not your just beginning your intern journey, you'll wonder throughout the entire time was it was really worth it? You'll definitely learn a lot, which is great but at times you'll still want to give up and quit. No matter what hard work and determination will when landing your first entry-level job!