Sure, I love being a slave to other peoples’ desires. Just tell me what to do – anything you want, I’ll be right at your feet. I’m yours. My only purpose in this life is to serve you, master.
Some people expect this to be the common scenario of an unpaid internship. After experiencing one myself this summer, I have to say that it’s absolutely not true.
While it’s not necessarily like volunteering in an elderly person’s home, where you are compensated by a feeling of goodness for helping someone out of the kindness of your own heart, the benefits of working for free are tremendous.
I’m sure you hear it all the time – internships are a great experience. Yeah, they are, they look great on a resume, too.
If you actually do something with your summer rather than sunbathe and soak, employers will see that and you’ll be a choice candidate. But of course you’ve heard this all from your adviser.
The real reason why internships are great is because of the connections you can make.
When you make friends with your bosses, and keep in touch with them during the school year.
Maybe when a position at the company opens up, it will be yours.
That is, if you work hard enough. Even though the work you do is free labor, you still have to do it right. If you’re a good worker, and the bosses see that, you’ll probably be rewarded.
Since I worked at a magazine, I became close with the editors, who felt bad for me having to work three full days a week with no pay.
They gave me a free lance assignment on which I’d be working as a correspondent rather than as an intern. This landed me an extra $200 because I was paid as a correspondent. So it all worked out.
Even if you’re not compensated in any monetary way, you probably will have some kind of financial advantage over time.
So what if Merrill Lynch won’t pay you for eight weeks of work during your summer.
In the long run, the kind of experience you learned during those eight weeks will probably land you a job that makes big bucks when you’re in your thirties and forties.
And thirty and forty-year-olds can be a lot of fun as well. Don’t get me wrong, I want to stay in college forever, but there was some feeling of maturity that came over me every morning when I’d get in my car to drive the daily commute.
It gives you a better sense of responsibility, as well as a taste of whether or not you want to continue in your major for the rest of your life.
But it also makes you appreciate your last few semesters at college a little more.
I’d suggest being someone’s slave for a few weeks.
The experience and the connections are sexier than Abercrombie clothes and Steve Madden shoes by far.