Twitter Rant of the Day: Unpaid Internships and Underpaying Jobs

Unpaid internships (and any type of unpaid work) really do need to be destroyed. You expect people to work for you, do the things you don’t want to do, spend their energy and time, completely for free?

You tell these people it’s for “exposure,” “experience,” or “for a good cause” like that’s gonna pay their rent. Y’all do realize folks have bills to pay, right? You do realize folks have to eat, right? It’s not like the ppl you want to take these unpaid internships can just get a second paying job. Not with the hours you want them to put in. You expect someone to work for you from dawn to dusk, and sometimes later, but you don’t want to pay them. How is that fair? And the people/companies asking for unpaid interns know good and fucking well they have enough money to pay them! You up here making hundreds of millions of dollars a year but don’t want to pay your interns? That’s bullshit!

If you want people to work for you, to spend their time and energy, compensate them appropriately! The apartment complex won’t take “experience” as a rent payment. The government won’t take “exposure” as student loan payment.

This goes for more than just unpaid internships too. This goes for folks who run websites  and blogs looking for writers too. You expect people to write about the most painful and personal things and do it for free. Then, when they (rightly) turn you down, you simply troll their tumblr, twitter, and wordpress accounts for what you want and use it without their consent. Or you ask for interviews saying their words will be used one way and then do something completely different, betraying their trust. Or, if you just don’t feel like asking at all, you steal their words and try to pass it off as your own on your blog/website. Then, after you’ve been called out for doing the fucked up shit you did, you try (and sometimes succeed) to paint yourself as the victim. That shit is not right and we definitely see you.

Hell, even the jobs tha do “pay” don’t nearly pay enough. The last job I had payed $7.55/hr. I easily should have been making at least $10-12/hr (if not more) for the type of work they had me doing though. I was only a sales associate but they had me setting prices, doing inventory, resetting parts of the store, training new hires, setting up displays, unloading & setting out new merchandise, working the cash register, doing returns and layaways, and so much more. When the people from the corporate headquarters in Chicago came to visit, they made sure to schedule me in because I was one of the only people who knew what the fuck they were doing.

I had my hands on damn near everything in that store. There were times where I quite literally did my manager’s job. I did all that work but was only getting $7.55/hr and they made sure my Black ass did not get full time hours, let alone overtime. There were times I looked at my schedule and I’d have 38.9 or 39 hours. If it looked like I might go over, they made me go home.

Before this argument comes up, there’s no way in hell I could’ve gotten another job. They way they scheduled me made that impossible. Add to that, I didn’t have a car so I’d have to rely on a city bus to get me from one job to another & back home. That was just not feasible.

So I was stuck at a job, making $7.55/hr, part time (which meant during the holidays I’d get around 35hrs/week but any other time of the year I’d only get 15-20hrs/week), with little to no chance to advance and after a year there I was looking at a 5 cent raise. No, you did not read that wrong, the oh-so-generous yearly raise was FIVE CENTS. One whole nickel. Oh, and those times I only got 15-20hrs, they’d routinely call on my days off to have me come in. If you said no, you’d basically be telling them to fire you. To put the cherry on the cake, I was actually doing better than a lot of the people I knew. Minimum wage at that time was $6.50/hr. I was making $1.05 more than most folks. Let that sink in for a minute.

So tell me, how the fuck is anyone supposed to live like that??? How? I’m just really fucking fed up with the state of affairs in the US work environment right now. People expect folks to work their asses off FOR FREE in unpaid internships that may or may not get them a job in the field they spent tens of thousands of dollars they didn’t have to get a degree in, or they expect you to work your ass off for a few dollars and change per hour, while getting shit on constantly by customers and other folks who simultaneously think they own you and their better than you because they have the office job or they’re in school, while you take it with a smile. If you don’t you’ll lose this shit ass job that barely fucking covers your bills and leaves you enough for food.

How is that living? That’s not even surviving. It’s just existing and I’ve been there for years and I don’t want to fucking go back there but I have to because once again I’m left with no fucking choice. And please, do not get me started on the jobs/people who don’t take you seriously if you don’t have a very expensive piece of paper from the “right” college or university. I’d be here all night and my blood pressure would be through the roof.