While reading though Stephen Marche’s piece in Esquire about “The War on Youth,” I saw this statistic:
In the early 1980s, 3 percent of college grads had had an internship. By 2006, 84 percent had done at least one.
I thought, “Damn, interns are like the new slaves.” Then I thought that I should Google “are interns the new slaves?” because surely somebody had written an article with that exact title. And write an article with that exact title they did. But then I was all like “Fuck it, I’m using that title anyway.” And I did. And here we are.
The scariest part of that statistic is how quickly this epidemic of collegiate slave labor spread. Everybody you know who ever landed a “real” job or ever wants to stand a chance of landing one has had an internship. And if they haven’t, it’s only because they couldn’t get one.
So now there’s an entire generation of us who A) paid more for college than any generation in history, B) are now saddled with more debt than any generation in history, and C) have to start off their careers by working for free. That shit ain’t right.
And we haven’t even began to describe the inherent shittiness of working long hours for no pay. It’s been a lot of generations since someone in my family was doing that. I interned at a magazine 3 days a week, transcribing interviews of B-level celebrities for most of the time. While I loved the environment and all the people I worked with, spending an 8 hour day writing down every word in an hour-long interview between two people is the worst thing ever. What did Bob Sagat say? Another dick joke? What’s that Reggie Miller? You suck just as bad in real life as you do as an announcer? It was horrible. I could have spent those long days with no class daydrinking or getting some afternoon delight or smoking an L and playing Donkey Konga on that Nintendo Gamecube my roommate stole from Gamestop. Instead I’m listening to a bad recording of an interview in a loud coffee shop of TWIN pop group Nina Sky (remember them?) trying to write down every word they’re saying. Wait, how do I tell which one is which? WHO KNOWS!
I’m not offering any solutions, I just think our generation has gotten screwed over in a million ways and probably a million more we haven’t even considered. So that’s the possibility of two million ways we’ve gotten screwed over by old people. This internship free labor nonsense has to go. Total slavery. Not as bad as African slavery, but…yeah…it’s pretty inconvenient.
Are internships slavery? Vote 1 for No and 10 for Yes.