Monday, December 31, 2007

Tell me About your Unpaid Internship

Ever worked for free? Or for a crappy stipend that barely covered your transportation? Worked for lattes?

Unpaid internships have become a rite of passage for eager undergrads who yearn to get hands-on experience. At their best, they offer an inside look at otherwise intimidating industries. At their worst, they're filing, answering phones or coping with bosszillas. Often the most prestigious gigs are unpaid and with monstrous companies with booming annual revenues. You're qualified. You work. You don't get paid. What gives?

I'm working on a feature right now for FiLife (Dow Jones/IAC site that launches in a bit) about unpaid internships - the companies that do it, when is it legal and why it sucks.

Please drop me a line (marypilon@gmail.com) if you've ever done an unpaid internship (meaning you didn't earn at least a minimum wage for the hours you worked). We're adding these companies to our Wall of Shame and leveling the playing field.

Here’s what we’ll do with this information: We’ll call the institution, confirm that they require credit or don’t pay, tell them what we think of that practice and give them a chance to comment. Then, we’ll post those comments on the Wall. Here’s what we won’t do with this information: We won’t publish your name (unless you want credit for nominating the offending institution, which is cool with us – just be clear in your e-mail).

Because we can save the world, one pissed intern at a time.