The 3 People To Fear At Your Unpaid Internship

With the job market so far in the toilet that plumbing looks like the only viable employment option, unpaid internships are becoming universal. And why not? They provide a great way for struggling writers, artists, and photographers to delude themselves into thinking that they’re on the proper trajectory for a paying gig later. They stall the realization that very soon, we will all be 33-year-olds with Masters degrees in print-making, and, like $100k in debt despite never having held a real job in our given field. Until then, may I present to you the three people that you will definitely meet and that you should most certainly fear at the aforementioned internships.

 Put-Together Girl

This chick is instantly recognizable, because she almost always wears pearl earrings. You already know her, and you know that’s true. She’s somebody who never has frizzy fly-aways and has inexplicably white teeth and memos never gets crumpled up in her LeSportsac messenger bag despite the fact that you take the same subway ride to work everyday and do the same things in the same office and yet yours are literally always balled up like you’re in custodial services and picked them up off the ground as a professional courtesy as opposed to a person who holds the exact same job as this girl. Her very presence makes you aware of how much you don’t have your act together. She will be really, really nice to you. She will invite you over to her apartment and all her friends will be like her, leaving you swimming in a sea of pearl earrings and white, white teeth. She will offer to pick up the slack on some of the work you’re having trouble completing. Do not let her. She will usurp you. She may end up sleeping with your boss. She will be the rare case who gets invited back for the paying job after summer. Do not try to emulate her, because you will fail at this. The only way to beat her is to show your superiors that, despite her obvious put-togetheredness, you have something on her: you know who Sufjan Stevens/The Magnetic Fields/Smokey Robinson is, and she does not. You will not believe how far this will get you. Look for the pearl earrings, I’m not kidding.

Connections Guy

This guy could be anyone. Except that he’s not anyone, because his dad is a key investor/friends with the publisher/the lead singer of a mildly relevant 90s band. You cannot beat this guy, despite working harder than he does, knowing more about the industry than he does, and being better liked by your coworkers. So when push comes to shove (and push will absolutely come to shove because have you seen the ad revenues lately my god), no matter how good you are at this, you do not have the connections, and they will choose the guy who does. Best case scenario? A vending machine falls on him in the break room and he suffocates. Remember to make it look like an accident.

 Hot Guy In Band

This guy definitely works at your internship. You’ve met him in other facets of life, but mostly he is a distraction. At your internship, he becomes a trade hazard. You guys share witty banter. The publication/marketing agency/radio station starts covering some of his shows. Your superiors make a point of going to see him open for a slightly more important local band at a somewhat recognizable local venue. He makes you laugh. You are better at this job than he is, and everyone knows it. But he is eminently likable. And you end up hooking up with him randomly when he comes over to sell you over-priced weed, which you pay for because he is hot. And then he doesn’t call you. And then you have to make excuses not to see him. You become flaky about going to your internship. You are aloof when you do show up. He is still polite, still hot, and still in a band. Your work suffers. The internship ends, and you leave it with a little bit more job experience, a little bit less money, and another notch on your belt that won’t help you get a job that will actually pay you. TC Mark

image – Girls

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  • http://gravatar.com/nishantjn nishantjn

    If you’re going to put yourself in debts of and above $100k for an education in photography or writing or the arts, knowing full well what the job market for such studies has been like since forever, aren’t you already making a big mistake?

    • lsdjk

      Yep! I would have never majored in journalism if I had to borrow money for it.

  • Megan

    I’m so sick of reading stuff on Thought Catalog about not being able to get a job. Get your shit together, stop crumpling papers up, and be a professional. You’ll get a job. It took me 3 weeks to get a temp position and 8 more to turn that into a permanent one. It’s really not that hard, as long as you’re not picky or a total mess.

    • lsdjk

      Well said! I came out of college debt free because I’ve always worked my butt off to get what I want. I majored in journalism and took as many journalism-related jobs, some of which totally sucked, because that’s how you get your foot in the door. It’s not so much that this job market sucks as most members of my generation feel unnecessarily entitled. I started in a contract position at a global company after graduation, then landed a salaried position at another company almost a year later. Many people told me I was lucky for this, like I should bow to the gods for bestowing upon me such a gift as a job in this economy. Bullsh-t. I’ve worked hard my entire life, and that certainly didn’t stop when it came to taking the next step after graduation. Get off your ass and contribute to society instead of bitching about it.

      • Megan

        A-freaking-men. Our generation has been told way too many times to “follow our dreams” and “do what you love”. First though, try “doing what pays the bills” and see where it leads you. My job is far from my dream job, but it’s not that bad, and I’m proud to have it.

  • http://nikkisramblings.wordpress.com Nikki

    Reblogged this on confessions of an escapist.

  • KS

    As one of the Pearl Earring girls, I enjoyed this – well done!

  • E

    I’m the pearl earring girl….shit

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/some-honest-advice-for-college-students/ Some Honest Advice For College Students | Thought Catalog

    […] it? MUST INTERN OR ELSE MY LIFE WILL BE A GIANT FAILURE BUT OH MY GOD I CAN’T AFFORD TO INTERN AND WHY IS THIS SUCH A SCREWED UP SYSTEM? I hear ya, honey. Maybe this piece of advice I’m […]

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/10/some-honest-advice-for-college-students/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] it? MUST INTERN OR ELSE MY LIFE WILL BE A GIANT FAILURE BUT OH MY GOD I CAN’T AFFORD TO INTERN AND WHY IS THIS SUCH A SCREWED UP SYSTEM? I hear ya, honey. Maybe this piece of advice I’m […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/how-to-not-treat-your-intern/ How To Not Treat Your Intern | Thought Catalog

    […] hoarder. I often toss those words around in my mind, contemplating the true value of the (eight!) internships that I’ve had. These thoughts permeate every part of my brain as I connect my self worth to my […]

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/10/how-to-not-treat-your-intern/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] hoarder. I often toss those words around in my mind, contemplating the true value of the (eight!) internships that I’ve had. These thoughts permeate every part of my brain as I connect my self worth to my […]

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