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Taking an unpaid internship

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Replies to: Taking an unpaid internship

  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    Based on some of your responses, this internship wouldn't be worth my time.
    By next summer, I will have taken accounting I & II, a marketing class and a management class. So I will actually have some type of valuable coursework and not be useless to a company. I guess I'm just eager to start working in the business world
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 20,857 Senior Member
    If you can do it part time while working a paid job, why not? I don't think that any experience is wasted. It sounds like fun, and you never know what it might lead to.

    My eventual career in technical/corporate communications stemmed from a job I took to make some $$ while preparing to try to get into another field. Somebody came around with some brochure copy, and said, "Is anyone here willing to proofread this?" I, the English major, raised my hand. They came back and saw me looking at it with a quizzical expression. Long story short, I ended up rewriting most of it and they hired me to be their corporate copywriter.

    Always raise your hand and seize an opportunity is my motto.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 12,194 Senior Member
    Any PAID opportunity. Would you have raised your hand if you weren't being paid? I like my job but wouldn't do it for free. There is a difference between volunteering for a charity or the government and volunteering for for a corporation.
  • JustGraduateJustGraduate Registered User Posts: 559 Member
    edited May 17
    Yes what they're doing (free unpaid labor at a for profit company) is pretty much illegal.
    It would be a fun conversation starter for a resume though. Am guessing you're not going to get a lot of guidance from the company, other than when you show them something they'll either like it or they won't.
    If you're kinda interested I'd tell them you'd do it part time - say mornings till noon, 4 days a week but you need the rest of the day to take a job that makes $. They certainly should understand that. If they want you more, they can cough up $ - or find someone else.

    EDIT - if you talk to them and they say they want samples of your work RUN. That means they actually want someone with experience for free, which is a big.red.flag.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 5,663 Senior Member
    D had 5 unpaid internships over a period of 3 years. 4 for credit(s). Not illegal here, apparently. I see no reason why OP shouldn't try it if he is interested. One of the things D has made clear from all her work is that money is not her ONLY driving force. Of course, that attitude is not the norm, as seen here.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 20,623 Senior Member
    No and no. They are looking for free labor and it is not legal. If I were you parent I would tell you to get a job as a babysitter, dog walker, cashier, any job where you could get paid. As a free labor, how serious do you think this employer is going to make sure you are productive and well supervised? You could end up wasting your whole summer.

    One of my kids was offered a job at a summer camp for less than the minimum wage when they were charging top $$ for their services. I told my kid that I would prefer if she were sitting at home eating bon bons than to be giving away free labor. She ended up getting a job at the legal aid where her Uni paid for her internship. It wasn't that much more money, but it was within her interest and it paid a minimum wage.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 12,194 Senior Member
    D had 5 unpaid internships over a period of 3 years. 4 for credit(s). Not illegal here,

    Unpaid internships for college credit are fine. Unpaid internships for government agencies are fine. Unpaid internships for private companies are not fine.
  • doublebachdoublebach Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    I don't see how you could take on this internship being as you are under age 21.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 12,194 Senior Member
    ^^Why? It's not a job tasting the beer. Many states allow 18 year olds to serve liquor, to work in restaurants, to drive trucks delivering liquor.
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    @sylvan8798 I think my situation is different from your daughter, considering I wouldn't receive college credits for this internship. But did your daughter intern for established companies that have some sort of reputation? The position I'm looking at is with a new start-up company.
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    Bottom line, if what the beer company is trying to do is technically illegal, I'd rather not work for them.
  • beth's mombeth's mom Registered User Posts: 3,294 Senior Member
    I have nothing against unpaid internships, so long as the student can afford to forego the summer earnings and pay any additional costs of the internship (housing, transportation, etc.) and, most importantly, the internship will benefit the student. At a minimum, an internship should provide meaningful work in a field related to the student's course of study and some mentorship. To be a "legal" unpaid internship, you should earn college credit for it as well (although I view that as a disadvantage since you'd likely have to pay for the credits). If you're an accounting major, I don't see that experience in social media will do you much good. I'd be more inclined to get a paying position, even if it's lifeguarding or waiting tables.
  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN Registered User Posts: 2,694 Senior Member
    edited May 18
    My guess is you wouldn't learn much from this internship, it sounds like a new or small company that doesn't have the resources to do social marketing so they are looking for some tech savvy kid to come in and do it for free. Lots of small businesses do this...have some high school or college student set up a facebook page, a twitter account, set them up on review sites and fluff some reviews, figure out how to get their name to come up in google searches. You aren't getting paid and it doesn't add much value to your career in accounting. It sounds like just busy work for you. If they can't even pay you minimum wage, that says they don't have the resources to offer you anything.

    If you aren't making money, is there a volunteer agency (like Second Harvest Food Bank, etc) that could use some office help? If you want to make some money, you can look at malls, outlets and summer activity places (theme parks, tourist type places) for summer gigs.

  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,294 Senior Member
    Unless you really needed the money, I would take the internship with a smaller potential growth firm over a minimum wage hourly position. A few months ago, I had a meeting with the owner of a couple of new car dealerships. I asked him how he got in the business, and he said that when he was in college studying to be an accountant, he got a job washing cars at a local dealership. When he graduated, he got a job being an in-house accountant at the same dealership. He did this for various dealership groups and got to know the entire operation backwards and forwards, until he saved enough to buy his own dealership when he was 35. Now he owns multiple dealerships and is easily worth $10,000,000+.

    If you think you might be interested in this industry, take the position, but since you are unpaid, ask them to teach you the entire operation. Learn how to clean the fermentors, go out on sales calls, make some deliveries, etc. Just don't let yourself be cooped up in front of a computer.
  • my2caligirlsmy2caligirls Registered User Posts: 493 Member
    I think it has the potential to be a good resume builder and opportunity to learn something about social media. When you apply for an accounting internship next year this will be more impressive to have on your resume than Old Navy. At a minimum, probably a good idea to explore it further and see what the scope of the internship is - maybe a day or two a week would be ideal and I'm sure the "social media" work will be more challenging than you might think. Social media done right can drive incremental business and is much more challenging than you may think.
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