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Taking an unpaid internship

GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 225 Junior Member
About 2 weeks ago, my business communications professor forwarded me an email about a local brewing company that was looking for an intern, for the summer. The email was from the owner of the company and he specifically wanted someone to help them out with social media marketing. I thought this could be an interesting opportunity and would be good experience for me, since I'm only a freshman student.

However, the rest of the email indicates that the position would be unpaid. The company would give apparel and free beer as compensation. I do love free clothing and free beer would be great---although I'm not of drinking age so that wouldn't apply to me :)

I just wanted some opinions. Do you guys think it's worth it to take an unpaid internship? My gut feeling is no. I'm an accounting major, so my ultimate career won't have anything to do with social media or marketing. Also I kind of feel like unpaid internship are a bit lame.
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Replies to: Taking an unpaid internship

  • mommymetalmommymetal Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    Well, the first question is what plans do you have for the summer? I'm not one to say take an unpaid internship, but if you have no other jobs lined up, why not? It's something for your resume and who knows, maybe they'll see that you're an accounting major and you can get some experience with their accounting dept too.
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 225 Junior Member
    I'm not even sure if it's full time, but I assume so. The email that the owner sent was extremely vague.

    The main points of the email are:
    -unpaid, but receives free apparel/beer
    -need help ramping up social media presence/content
    -internship will take place during the summer

    He mentions nothing about needing a marketing major, needing to be at least junior standing or any specific coursework that he would prefer.
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 225 Junior Member
    My other plans were to just work at either Barnes & Noble or Old Navy this summer. So nothing too special. I was interested in the internship because nowadays it seems like every college grad needs internship experience to be competitive in the job market
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 856 Member
    edited May 16
    What else would you do over the summer?

    To me this sounds like a rather cool way to spend the summer, which will be both pleasant and highly educational. While it doesn't pay, it is *probably* less expensive than your university (unless you have very good financial aid). Would you be allowed to take a growler back to your parents from time to time?

    There is an old saying: "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, in practice there is a big difference". Seeing how a company really works from inside is very valuable.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 11,365 Senior Member
    I have no issue with unpaid internships if they provide good mentoring and learning in an area that moves you forward along an intended career path. Not sure this one does from your description.

    On the other hand, does a social media job for a smallish company need to be full-time? If you can squeeze it in as a part-time position in addition to another summer job making money, might be worthwhile.

    Questions:
    What else do you have lined up for the summer?
    Is it near your home or other situation where you have free room & board?
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 225 Junior Member
    @DadTwoGirls Well I have a full ride, so my university technically costs nothing lol. I was drawn to the company because I kind of thought working in a brewery would be cool. And could you explain what "Would you be allowed to take a growler back you your parents from time to time" means? Not familiar with that phrase.

    @doschicos I have nothing lined up for this summer. But since the position is helping with social media (AKA: updating Twitter/Facebook/Instagram accounts), I feel like that could be done from the comfort of home. Nothing about it would be difficult
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 225 Junior Member
    @twoinanddone Oh wow, it had no idea it could be illegal. In the email, the owner included this :"Our company just received it's Federal license to manufacture beer as a Microbrewery".

  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 11,365 Senior Member
    If you have nothing else to do, why not? Arrange it as a part time position and look for something else to keep you busy and make some $$ the rest of your time this summer.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 856 Member
    edited May 16
    "Would you be allowed to take a growler back to your parents from time to time"

    A growler is a reusable large bottle of beer. Typically growlers are refillable, and have a screw top. In the cases that I am aware of the customer purchases the growler and the beer, takes it home and drinks the beer, washes the growler, and then when they go back for more pay less because they are only buying the beer and not the bottle that it is in.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 60,256 Senior Member
    I would think this brewery would NOT be giving an underage employee beer to take home. Perhaps the parents could come in to pick it up.

    Is having a social media presence really a full time job?
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 11,846 Senior Member
    Having a federal license doesn't make it a government position. Private companies have to pay employees minimum wage, has to comply with state and federal safety standards, has to pay the employer's portion of taxes and withhold taxes.

    There are requirements for offering unpaid internships and from what you wrote, I don't think this company is meeting them. They want you to work for free.
  • TanbikoTanbiko Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    The majority of the incoming sophomores probably do not do work relevant to their future career during the summer. At least none of my kids did. If money is not an issue it is an interesting internship that will come up during your future internship and job interviews. You will tell them that while you are a GreenTea Fanatic you worked for the beer. Just make sure you do not work from the comfort of your home but meet people and learn the business. If you have time look for the opportunities to intern in the accounting department too.
  • MaryGJMaryGJ Registered User Posts: 514 Member
    Social media experience probably won't help an accounting career. Unpaid internships should be valuable experience that is WORTH what you should have been paid. I'd give this one a miss.

    You might see if any local banks are hiring tellers.
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