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22-22-22: A 22-yr old willing to work 22-hr days for 22-thou a year.
March 2, 2013 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Are interns the slave economy of the US? Internships are increasingly becoming industry standards; the time college graduates work for little or nothing and get the valuable experience they need to get a "real" job. In the meantime, they are saddled with student loans they can't pay and living with mom and dad.
posted by DoubleLune (179 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Should have gone ahead and majored in philosophy - they wouldn't be worse off than with a business degree really.
posted by thelonius at 11:25 AM on March 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


22 thou a year? where do I sign up?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:26 AM on March 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


Bring it on. The sooner we get a new labor movement and recognize that unions aren't just Mafia backed organizations that killed Jimmy Hoffa the better.
posted by Talez at 11:31 AM on March 2, 2013 [46 favorites]


When you think about it, firms are double-dipping here:

First, they externalize their training costs by having workers pay for their own training- that is, college. Then, once they're out of college, they externalize their labor costs via the carrot-on-a-stick of the unpaid internship. Maybe if you work really hard, you'll get noticed and they'll actually start paying you. In the meantime, they get free work.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:32 AM on March 2, 2013 [63 favorites]


This is just another barrier to entry, isn't it? It's already difficult for people to pay for college and then a masters. And after that work is done, people are expected to work for free in very expensive markets like NYC or SF. Who can afford to invest themselves like this?
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:35 AM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm confused by the terms "intern" and "internship". What makes it an internship? Why isn't it called a job? When did "volunteering" become "unpaid internship"? I'm not being snarky here. I am genuinely curious about this.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:35 AM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I've got a friend who keeps referring to American exceptionalism as 'intellectual bondage' and 'slavery' which makes it really difficult to have a fruitful discussion that doesn't eventually end up somewhere near a Godwin.

“Is a tweet labor? Is a Facebook post labor?” Mr. Perlin, the author, asked.

Everything that is produced by work is labor you dunce, fun has barely anything to do with it.

“It was a huge room filled with her own field of marijuana plants,” Ms. Schiller said. “She conscripted me for no pay to harvest it overnight. She makes $35,000 per crop and it goes straight to her retirement account.”

The intern’s payment the next morning: a breakfast burrito.


Somehow I don't think that falls under the purview of advancing your artistic and cultural pursuits but I suppose that's debateable. Look, it's really difficult to get that dream job if your end goal is something that produces entertainment or academia or the like, all of which thrive and are abundant during times of prosperity but are the first to go during a recession. There's a larger issue here, of corporatism and regulation and of a flagging economy that seems shirked in favor of yet another 'oh noes american dream, boo hoo, trigger word twentysomething'. And maybe it's just me but this article seems remarkably distant from the feeling of what it's actually like to be between the ages of twenty and thirty and overqualified.
posted by dubusadus at 11:36 AM on March 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


An entire generation of kids are chasing the dream jobs they've been told they should pursue in order to be happy, and now these jobs are held in front of them like a carrot on a stick by people higher up the ladder. It's like a form of torture.

> The sooner we get a new labor movement and recognize that unions aren't just Mafia backed organizations that killed Jimmy Hoffa the better.

Unless I missed it, unions were conspicuously absent from that article. Anecdata; some of the most vociferously anti-union people I've met have been people in their 20s, I suspect because a) unions have been demonized for their entire lives and b) they've been raised to believe they're going to beat the odds.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2013 [28 favorites]


Firms don't want to pay for training, they don't want to pay for benefits, and now they just straight up don't want to pay for labor. And we're letting them get away with it.

The really awful thing is how this kinda crap totally paralyzes social mobility, the only people who would be able to get/deal with years of unpaid work are people who already have all the benefits and money, not to mention the ability to pass through the High Ed system without taking on a mountain of debt.
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on March 2, 2013 [51 favorites]


It's interesting that the article (and to be fair, I may be misreading it) describes this cohort of unpaid and underpaid interns as "less affluent" and I think there's a huge elephant in the room here. They're not less affluent; for the most part it's only the children of affluent parents who can afford to work at these jobs. It's not just a way to get cheap/free labor, it's a barrier that prevents working class and lower middle class young adults from getting onto the first rung of the white-collar ladder. When I was applying for jobs as a recent college graduate, I found that all the positions advertised as "entry level" asked for 1-3 years of experience - experience that can only be gained by working for free or for pennies, and that's after spending anywhere from 50 grand to a quarter million on a college degree. I think that's what bothers me the most about this.
posted by capricorn at 11:44 AM on March 2, 2013 [116 favorites]


The Invisible Hand is, in actuality, a well-lubed fist.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:45 AM on March 2, 2013 [34 favorites]


a) unions have been demonized for their entire lives and b) they've been raised to believe they're going to beat the odds.

It's more like unions have gotten huge and are poorly managed and the smartest, most politically aware twentysomethings aren't under the Obama camp, they're over at Camp Ron Paul where they tell boogeyman stories about 'reform' and 'progressivism' and the kids wake up each day thanking God for their sovereignty.
posted by dubusadus at 11:47 AM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aren't most union jobs blue collar work? It's maybe just a social status thing.

Internships are historically much worse in Europe so one might view this as American companies adopting an exploitive European practice. Afaik European internships are rather limited in durations though, not likely Americans will copy that effort to make them look more legitimate.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:47 AM on March 2, 2013


Unless I missed it, unions were conspicuously absent from that article. Anecdata; some of the most vociferously anti-union people I've met have been people in their 20s, I suspect because a) unions have been demonized for their entire lives and b) they've been raised to believe they're going to beat the odds.

It's absent from the article but some bright young charismatic spark will eventually have enough of the system and read a history book. The straw that breaks the camel's back is coming and when it does it's going to break it hard.
posted by Talez at 11:47 AM on March 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


The Invisible Hand is, in actuality, a well-lubed fist.


"Well-lubed?"


Luxury.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:50 AM on March 2, 2013 [24 favorites]


Most of the interns I know are the children of the very affluent. Their parents paid full freight for college and continue to support them.
posted by Peach at 11:50 AM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


One reason that unions deserve the criticism for is that they also often use a form of internship.

I worked 4 summers as a student at the Molson Brewery in Toronto. We paid union dues and received 50% of the full time wage, had to buy our own safety boots, which rot out every 2 months or so, and provide our own clothing (full-timers did not), could be fired or let go without union protection, and had to do hazardous work that the full-timers refused (like standing on top of the bottle cleaner checking for problems causing bottles to crack while inhaling caustic fumes and having to stand on top of broken down beer cases to slow down the heating up of the steal plates in our boots). The full-timers were mostly drawn from the summer student pool. So effectively it was an internship system.

I'm pro-union but one big huge problem with unions is that there is far too strong of a got-mine membership ideology where people outside the club are left for the wolves. Then the unions wonder why the public doesn't support them when the wolves start heading their way.

Labour really needs to stop being part of the exploitation of other labour.

Of course all those full-timers got laid off or moved to Barrie when the plant closed. There was barely a peep from their union which was husbanding their resources for fighting battles at larger plants within the industry.

So yeah I am pro union but the ones I have experienced didn't work for me at all and barely worked for others either. So I guess the relationship is pretty complicated.
posted by srboisvert at 11:55 AM on March 2, 2013 [39 favorites]


It's absent from the article but some bright young charismatic spark will eventually have enough of the system and read a history book. The straw that breaks the camel's back is coming and when it does it's going to break it hard.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. You are envisioning some scenario where interns employed by thousands of different employers form a collective association and those diverse employers agree to respect a single collective bargaining agreement?

Because I understand that may be something you really want to happen, but I have a hard time imagining how it actually could happen.
posted by modernnomad at 11:57 AM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently I've been overpaying my social media team.
posted by pwnguin at 12:04 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah the "interns" are getting free training they don't need for jobs they don't need while living for free because Mom & Dad have bought them a 1BR in Manhattan so they can get "a leg up" in the business world which is code for having a great time in your 20s doing networking so in your 30s you can schmooze your way to a position that requires no actual skill other than the abilities to wear unironed Pierre Cardin without looking rumpled, openly and brazenly tipping maitres'd for vials of blow and continuing to sound trendily déclassé after five Elit vodkatinis.

It's arguable the world would be a better place if the children of the wealthy would just cut right to the vodkatinis after prep school thus leaving higher education and professional job slots open for those who would actually take the training and put it to use, but it's my hypothesis that doesn't happen because the business world would collapse if competent people tried to run things -- that's clearly not how the system works.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:04 PM on March 2, 2013 [21 favorites]


What makes it an internship? Why isn't it called a job?

They call it an internship so they can pretend they aren't flouting wage laws.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:07 PM on March 2, 2013 [26 favorites]


They aren't all rich. Several of the people in the article are working cafe jobs and juggling other jobs. Many don't have health benefits.
posted by discopolo at 12:10 PM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


Unions in this country have declined consistently over the years. Want a union where you work? I will move my company then South. Or I will outsource the work.
The important figure: if every worker in America worked at the minimum wage, labor would still be significantly cheaper overseas (Far East).

The national Labor Relations board still has a tilt toward management, and unions have suffered by this since the Ronnie overthrow of airline controllers' union.
In a lousy job market, there will always be thousands of college students willing to take unpaid internships to bolster their resume and also because of a blind believe, not unlike lottery tickets, that they may hit the jackpot.
posted by Postroad at 12:13 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not just the entertainment industry that's falling into this pattern of pulling out the bottom white-collar rungs. AmeriCorps does something analogous in the non-profit world. Get kids right out of college, pay them a piddly stipend, put them in jobs that might have nebulous boundaries and may well be replacements for what were previously full-time workers. Health benefits are lousy. The higher-ups running your program may or may not believe you if you come forth with grievances about your placement.

If you luck out and get a good site or grit your teeth and bear a shitty placement, however, the whole non-profit world opens up to you. I am one of those dreaded entitled mid 20-somethings, and most folks I know my age who are established at non-profits started out as AmeriCorps members. In many cases, they got brand-new positions created for them after their official service was over. Meanwhile, in my AmeriCorps cohort, all the people who came in with children and families to support quit before they could finish out the year and earn the benefits like the education award. I quit too, but for different reasons. I wonder a lot about what my life and my subsequent employment history would look like if I hadn't.

So many non-profits are run so heavily on the backs of very young people with no ties in the organization's community, it's ludicrous.
posted by ActionPopulated at 12:13 PM on March 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


They aren't all rich. Several of the people in the article are working cafe jobs and juggling other jobs. Many don't have health benefits.

This! The whole reason the system sucks is because it's not just the wealthy who are taking on internships. Plenty of folks are adding an unpaid internship to their 2-3 jobs because...well, that's what you have to do. It's not just in the glamour industries, either, it's endemic to the nonprofit/NGO world as well.
posted by threeants at 12:14 PM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


Generation X Is Sick of Your Bullshit
Ain't endorsing the views presented, just found it on-topic and amusing.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:14 PM on March 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


(As one particularly egregious example, all United Nations internships are unpaid and most are full-time, in famously affordable cities like New York and Geneva.)
posted by threeants at 12:17 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there's a huge elephant in the room here

I don't know about the US, but this is pretty explicitly true in the UK. Class, in the UK, is a bit like race in the US.* People strongly identify with 'class' groups which they see as obvious and iron-clad but which are so nuanced and odd that they're impenetrable to outsiders. And everybody knows that you're not supposed to be class prejudiced, while class prejudices are so ingrained that people find it difficult to overcome them.

Anyway, a few years ago I was at Famous University, and people kept coming up from London to give us recruiting talks. They went like this:

"We are a diverse company in the modern world, and we want to recruit the best people from all class backgrounds. All you have to do is work for free for two years while living in London, and you might have a chance at a job!"

By analogy (race in the US being tied up with income, just as class is in Britain), I wonder if these American internships are (in part) subtle ways of keeping out people with the 'wrong' racial background.

*not saying that racism isn't a thing in the UK, just that it's nowhere near as complex or all-pervasive as in the US... in the US people will often say that classism is bad because it's disguised racism. In the UK, people will often say the reverse.
posted by Dreadnought at 12:19 PM on March 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


jeffburdges, I don't know which Generation X that article is talking about, but it ain't me. Guess it's because I'm more of a Generation Yer due to delayed education and know how badly Gen Y has been fucked, first hand.
posted by Yowser at 12:21 PM on March 2, 2013


By analogy (race in the US being tied up with income, just as class is in Britain), I wonder if these American internships are (in part) subtle ways of keeping out people with the 'wrong' racial background.

I think there was a lawsuit against ad firms for discriminating against African-American applicants.
posted by discopolo at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2013


Most of the interns I know are the children of the very affluent. Their parents paid full freight for college and continue to support them.

I would love to have an internship- but my parents can't afford to support me. I bear no ill-will against people who have one, but it sure stinks that nobody will hire me because I don't have experience, and nobody will give me experience because my parents can't afford to pay my rent in a major city while I work for free.

Meanwhile, I'm living in the intellectual and economic wasteland of eastern Maine. Internet, you're all I've got.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:26 PM on March 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


An entire generation of kids are chasing the dream jobs they've been told they should pursue in order to be happy, and now these jobs are held in front of them like a carrot on a stick by people higher up the ladder.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Foosnark at 12:34 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Are interns the slave economy of the US?

No, they're the indentured servants. Grad students are the slaves.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:36 PM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't see how this can continue, I'm in my late 20s and most of the people I know have unbelievable student loans and are still jumping from internship to part time gig to contract job to unpaid 'social media director' to whatever, desperately trying to find someone who will at least pay them something. Everyone is juggling multiple gigs that all fucking suck, pay nothing, have no benefits, and are going nowhere and we are supposed to be grateful for it.

We are the generation who's work lives are defined by precarity, and our parents wonder why we are approaching 30 and aren't starting to think about buying houses or starting families. The fact that my parents had 2 babies and their first home when they were my age is mind boggling. I feel lucky that I can choose to live in a studio apartment by myself rather than with 6 roommates.

I read editorials calling us "entitled" because we played by the rules, went to college, took on as much debt as we were told to ("any amount of debt is worth a college degree" I heard over and over and over again by people who paid cash for their degrees from their part time jobs 30 years ago), and are now pissed that we get fucked at every turn no matter how hard we work. For what? A system we have no investment in. No one I know has a house, a 401k, a path up the workplace ladder, or a government that has done anything but gleefully pursue austerity policies.

And still, the colleges are churning out young people with absurd debt burdens and no hope of any 'real' job except maybe some internship crumbs from the people who've already got theirs. Unless there is a huge turn around in the economy, it just seems to me that this is going to reach a breaking point eventually.
posted by bradbane at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2013 [78 favorites]


I feel like, as a grad student in a technical field who got a stipend, I was more an indentured servant and the unpaid interns are the slaves.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:38 PM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


I am proud to participate in an unpaid internship program for the entertainment industry.

Our program is run entirely by alumni of our alma mater with the exception of one official adjunct professor who makes his primary income from the industry. It follows all applicable federal laws about the type of work our interns may perform, their hours, and how much benefit firms get from their presence and work.

Yeah, it's an alumni network, but the alums mainly pass along job opportunities and advice on what kind of shit not to take in an often shitty business.

The part I'm proudest of is that our program takes into account the financial means and domestic backgrounds of the students. There are no entertainment industry dynasties in our internship program. Every year there are more women than men, more ethnic minorities than in the student body as a whole, and more students who need the grants than not.

Our program is done right. Our alums and former interns work hard to keep it that way. It's what every "old boys' network" should be.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:39 PM on March 2, 2013


I got very lucky in terms of internships — Mine were all for college credit and were at a magazine where I was already working, so I was able to parlay doing shit distribution jobs into writing and learning about writing. I know that it was a way to not pay me what I was worth, but since the magazine was always just above broke, it wasn't as galling.

The rule I hold to now when selecting interns is that 1) You have to be getting college credit for it, and 2) If I am not teaching you something, I should be paying you something. I get tetchy, since the org I work for is a non-profit, and a lot of folks I work with (especially the more affluent) have no problem with free intern labor.

One thing that I would like to see more enforcement on is the labor laws surrounding internships — if the NLRB or whomever (DoL?) forced companies to actually use interns within the legal parameters, the system would be a lot healthier than just every publishing house wanting free labor from skinny, fuckable 18 to 25-year-olds.
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


...every publishing house wanting free labor from skinny, fuckable 18 to 25-year-olds

Is that part of the internship deal, too? The bosses expect literally to fuck the interns (and not just figuratively)? Is that a widespread problem?
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 12:55 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Firms don't want to pay for training, they don't want to pay for benefits, and now they just straight up don't want to pay for labor.

I wonder when they'll realize that no one (including their workers) can afford to pay for what they produce?
posted by jb at 12:55 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Invisible Hand is, in actuality, a well-lubed fist.

Not always that well-lubed.
posted by jb at 12:56 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading this makes me glad that I chose my major to be Computer Science. I am interning at a major tech company and I have had all expenses paid to fly halfway across the world, stay in a fancy apartment in an expensive area, and I am getting paid a high 5 figure salary.
posted by kiskar at 12:58 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


“It was a huge room filled with her own field of marijuana plants,” Ms. Schiller said. “She conscripted me for no pay to harvest it overnight. She makes $35,000 per crop and it goes straight to her retirement account.”

The intern’s payment the next morning: a breakfast burrito.


silent observer would probably pay at least a couple of hundred bucks for a tip leading to a bust

i can understand why ms schiller would not want to do so, but her boss is an utter clueless idiot who is sooner or later going down

i had a boss who, as a side project, had me help clean several pounds of good stuff

payment was in kind, but it was one hell of a lot better than a lousy breakfast burrito

but that's the problem - we have a class of people in this country who don't value anything unless it's theirs and don't value anyone unless they're above them and they want something from them

they want to work people ungodly hours while there are many people who are begging for work

my advice - get a halfway decent factory job if you can - it sucks, but at least they pay you and it's not as long a long shot as this bullshit is
posted by pyramid termite at 1:02 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading this makes me glad that I chose my major to be Computer Science. I am interning at a major tech company and I have had all expenses paid to fly halfway across the world, stay in a fancy apartment in an expensive area, and I am getting paid a high 5 figure salary.


While I am earnestly glad for your success and I am happy that this article has allowed you not to take it, or your good life decisions, for granted I would like to point you in the direction of this short, youtube soundbite.
posted by sendai sleep master at 1:07 PM on March 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


According to a 2011 Pew report, the median net worth for householders under 35 dropped by 68 percent from 1984 to 2009, to $3,662. Lest you think that’s a mere side effect of the economic downturn, for those over 65, it rose 42 percent to $170,494 (largely because of an overall gain in property values). Hence 1.2 million more 25-to-34-year-olds lived with their parents in 2011 than did four years earlier.

Wow.
posted by kettleoffish at 1:08 PM on March 2, 2013 [15 favorites]


Is this a strictly US thing? I've worked for 25 years in Canada and not only have I never worked for a company that hired unpaid interns, I've never known anyone who has ever worked as an unpaid intern. It's a concept I've only seen in movies and tv shows.
posted by rocket88 at 1:11 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Canadian former unpaid intern here. I know a lot of 'em. Definitely not strictly a US thing.
posted by saturday_morning at 1:14 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


This gets especially frustrating as an international student, because you're bound by labor laws that make unpaid internships pretty much the only thing you can legally work in substantially. Currently in the US I'm only legally allowed to do work-study at minimum wage for a maximum 20 hours a week (my work-study job has nowhere near that number of hours). Scholarships are low on the ground, and what student loans? Cash all the way - usually through mega inflated exchange rates.
posted by divabat at 1:17 PM on March 2, 2013


Most of the interns I know are the children of the very affluent. Their parents paid full freight for college and continue to support them.

I'm getting a kind of "first world problems-esque" tone from some that say that it's only children of the affluent that have this internship problem, and well, who cares about their problem because they're rich, right?
posted by FJT at 1:19 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


> No one I know has a house, a 401k, a path up the workplace ladder, or a government that has done anything but gleefully pursue austerity policies.

My experience has been a little more confusing than this. I've been going through my 20s clinging to jobs that weren't super-fun, didn't pay super-well, and didn't lead to super-great careers (or any careers, really). And all throughout I've been hearing that steady drumbeat of DREAM JOB, DREAM JOB, DREAM JOB, "but what do you really want to do," and so on. It's been as bad on MetaFilter as anywhere else, really. But whatever, I've kept my head down and kept my nose clean, and it's great to have any job, especially one with a salary and benefits.

Meanwhile, a younger acquaintance of mine is a doctoral student in psychology. He recently got married and put a down payment on a house. A grad student I know in anthropology just bought a new Jetta. I used to rent a room from a young, married 20-something couple: she worked as a non-profit admin and he was unemployed and getting an MA from University of Phoenix. They lived in a house they owned, drove newish cars, etc.

It really fucks with your head. What do I shoot for? Am I over or under? What is the new "normal"?
posted by Nomyte at 1:33 PM on March 2, 2013 [12 favorites]


Poor kids don't have an internship problem. They have a working at Starbucks and Walmart problem.
posted by angrycat at 1:40 PM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


Basically every internship in the country is illegal, right? Wasn't Obama claiming he was going to crack down on this? Did that ever go anywhere at all?
posted by gerryblog at 1:41 PM on March 2, 2013


Fake internships. Say you run a media company in New York or whatever, and you don't have enough money to pay your interns. But you're ethical (yeah, this is where we split from reality), and you'd prefer not to run your business using superexploited labor. But you want to give young strivers a leg up. So what you do is you offer internships that secretly have no work requirements whatsoever. The kid getting the internship gets to claim n years of work experience with your company, while also having time to support themselves with a day job in an unrelated field.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:41 PM on March 2, 2013 [15 favorites]


It really fucks with your head. What do I shoot for? Am I over or under? What is the new "normal"?

It's luck. Oh, we can't say it because THAT would undermine the whole Horatio Alger narrative bullshitted into our gaping mouths and excreted from generation to generation and "luck" would imply it's something people may need some help and protection from rather than bootstraps, but it really, really is luck.

For example, I worked at what would be considered a Good First Job with a number of other people about my age. I was the first to leave, into a management-level job at a Big Important Company. A number of years later, I'm an independent consultant with a decent salary but I mooch off my wife's benefits because she's got way better than I could get on the open market. The reason I have the main gig that fuels most of my income is over 12 years ago I made friends with a guy who eventually opened his own company and 10 years later I was free and he needed someone to do what I do and I'd dumb-lucked into experience in that field (got hired, again, because I knew the right people and they like me), so hey ho, here I am.

Prior to my life as a freelancer, I'd been laid off four times. All of these were strong companies with good track records, but one thing or another happened. A product didn't catch on. In the most egregious case, we had a CEO come in from outside and promptly layoff everyone who actually did things while keeping the management firmly in place and was genuinely shocked when the company tanked (you'll be delighted to know he is now CFO somewhere else, of course).

Anyway, of my coworkers, one of them has made his way into actual six-figure salary management because he picked the strong company with a good track record that just happened to explode. A couple got married and settled into jobs in the town we got started where they've more-or-less peaked, and a fair number of them are unemployed after various layoffs and things.

We all had similar backgrounds--early 20s, some college to a bachelor's at most, CS or retail experience--and there's no rhyme or reason or pattern to the way things worked out. A friend of mine that worked there is going to be losing her job and came to me for advice and I finally realized I could offer nothing really useful or substantial because my course has been so bizarre and required knowing the right people and having them think highly of me, events breaking just as they should have, and no other major crises. I just turned down a full-time job making a reasonable salary in a good metro area that I had literally no experience in, but got an interview/offer because over a decade ago, I did some freelance work for the hiring manager and she kept me on LinkedIn because she thought very highly of my work. It's not exactly repeatable.

And like I said, we've smoothly navigated various crises. My wife was just in a near-accident that involved her hitting a curb but, fortunately, not plowing into the semi that pulled in front of her. It was about $500 to fix the damage (replace a wheel and the front tires). There was a point that would've destroyed us financially. Earlier this year, someone did a hit-and-run on my car that would've been $2300 to fix but, fortunately, it fell under my uninsured motorist coverage (which fortunately I had!), so it was $200. And like I said, there was a point where that would've destroyed us financially. And that's just this year!

But saying "it's luck" is denying centuries of cultural conditioning that you can make it if you try and all you have to do is check these boxes and you'll be a-ok. It undermines the entire narrative of the US to imply that maybe the homeless aren't worthless, lazy rabble and the unemployed aren't defective in some way, which would imply a need to take care of those people.

And the hell of it is, if I viewed the world through just a slightly different lens, I'd be telling you about how I just worked really hard and by god anyone can do it, but I recognize my extremely good fortune.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:07 PM on March 2, 2013 [77 favorites]


It's fun to complain about how big business is screwing over the poor interns.

But look at all the industries mentioned in the article - they're all on the decline. Book publishing, TV, "New Media"? These are companies wondering if they're going exist in ten years.

If you switch coasts over to Silicon Valley, you'd be hearing a different story. The last interns I worked with were well-paid, had flexible working hours, and were given better projects than us "regulars" - they got technologically-interesting projects with no actual deadline (since they weren't reliable), and no boring maintenance work.
posted by meowzilla at 2:20 PM on March 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm 42, have been underemployed almost my entire working life and am facing unemployment. This whole economy of outsourcing, offshoring, computerization, longer hours, "multitasking", working on off hours, work "contests", getting Baby Boomers to volunteer or do "working retirement", unpaid internships, free work on spec, degree inflation, bizarrely high hiring requirements, the "jobless recovery"... It's all really, really daunting.
posted by jiawen at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2013 [17 favorites]


It's fun to complain about how big business is screwing over the poor interns.

I know a couple of people who have gone back to school after getting expensive BAs in another subject, specifically to get computer science training, and are now interns for tech companies (in their late 20s). I am happy for them because I know that's going to benefit them in the long run.

I just think it's telling that they made a choice on an ECONIMIC basis to scrap their four year degree, go back for more training, and get an internship in a brand new field because the idea of just getting an entry level job in their field was such a pipe dream.
posted by kettleoffish at 2:46 PM on March 2, 2013


It's luck...

Certainly, but there's a fair bit of truth to the old Thomas Jefferson quote: "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."

Even the people who "luck" into plum jobs, have to have something to recommend them. Nobody is going to offer to make me managing partner of Skadden-Arps, even though I'm a presentable white male with a J.D.

And those white males who go from predictable disaster to disaster at every company they "luck" into being CEO of, still have something I lack, though I'd probably be no worse than them at those jobs: they know the right people, and the right things to say, and the right places to see and be seen. I don't, and (critically) I haven't exerted any effort in becoming that sort of person. So although I've worked hard, I haven't worked hard in the right way to have that kind of luck.

I think part of what's happening now is that people expect there to be a predictable, luck-free path to prosperity, and (as Ghostride The Whip says) no one wants to believe (or admit) that there isn't. But until enough people call bullshit on the "just work hard, take the student loans, do the internships, and you can make it just like Zuckerberg did" line -- and do it before they've chained themselves to those non-dischargeable debts -- life is going to keep sucking for all have-nots, and start sucking for more and more of the have-somes.
posted by spacewrench at 3:06 PM on March 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


> Are interns the slave economy of the US?

Slaves? No. Come on. Stop it.

If you stop showing up at your internship, you will not be hunted down and brought back in handcuffs to the office, forced to continue working.

Not even metaphorically.
posted by desuetude at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


Well, all those poor darlings featured in the piece could have moved to North Dakota and made real money, but instead, they went for much less well-paid, but far more glamorous jobs in far more glamorous places. I know plenty of interns in show biz, some of whom have shit jobs working for jerks and some of whom have great jobs working for artists. Almost one of them ever want to be a grip or a gaffer or even a cinematographer--they all want to produce or direct.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm about to start college again.

There are six semesters in the program I want to get into. Four of them have required internship credits. No information about pay, either. On the bright side, they admit the entire point of it is to understand how actual businesses in the field work so you can understand it. There's also a required class on basic accounting (yes, in a graphic design program).

So some schools are at least trying to prepare you.
posted by mephron at 3:13 PM on March 2, 2013


There's also a required class on basic accounting (yes, in a graphic design program).

It's to get you in the door of a production house in Burbank while you wait for one of the current creatives to either quit, get fired or drop dead.
posted by Talez at 3:20 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Generation X Is Sick of Your Bullshit

Hah. Yeah, Generation X got fucked over just like this generation. The difference is that we didn't expect anything different so we weren't surprised. Young people today appear to have expected not to be fucked over. To which I say: welcome to life, kiddies.
posted by Justinian at 3:32 PM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


Justinian: Hah. Yeah, Generation X got fucked over just like this generation.

No, you didn't. You got at least 10 years in the economy before it coughed and died and that makes a lot of difference. I know I'm measurably better off than the people who are becoming adults now - I managed to get a couple of decent jobs before I went back to grad school and I'm sure that'll help a lot, and they can't. The fresh college graduates now are much worse off, and the people who are kids now, I just don't know what'll happen to them.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:43 PM on March 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


To which I say: welcome to life, kiddies.

and indeed nothing shall ever improve
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:43 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, all those poor darlings featured in the piece could have moved to North Dakota and made real money, but instead, they went for much less well-paid, but far more glamorous jobs in far more glamorous places.

I have a friend who is doing the very glamorous work of teaching basic writing composition and getting paid jack for it. He is in his late twenties and living with his parents. I will hop on the phone to tell him his plight is because he is such a silly boy to think that teaching is somehow important.
posted by angrycat at 3:45 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm getting a kind of "first world problems-esque" tone from some that say that it's only children of the affluent that have this internship problem, and well, who cares about their problem because they're rich, right?

Well, no. The problem with internships is the lack of fair pay. Fix that and the internships are better for whoever takes them, rich or poor.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:45 PM on March 2, 2013


"Slaves? No. Come on. Stop it.

If you stop showing up at your internship, you will not be hunted down and brought back in handcuffs to the office, forced to continue working.

Not even metaphorically.
"

I took it more as the Aristotelean slave labor required for people to live the good life (including doing philosophy), where you can answer more affirmatively. But it's kinda hyperbole and a half.
posted by klangklangston at 3:48 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


But it's kinda hyperbole and a half.

Especially considering that the agricultural labor force and the prison population are right there.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


Here's another elephant in the room: intelligence. Employers don't hold carrots over the heads of really, really smart kids with an engineering degree. They get snapped up fast. It's everyone else who gets the carrot, myself included, unfortunately. And it's not just in creative industries either. Pick pretty much anything with benefits. I don't see anything wrong with rewarding people who've hit the genetic lottery, but in a future utopia it would be nice to have the option of feeling useful and having some measure of control over the future of ones life.
posted by Halogenhat at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2013


work "contests"

Yes. This. Here's a contest where you do advanced data analysis on some of Facebook's data for free, in multiple rounds, and the winners get...an interview at Facebook.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 3:55 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Halogenhat:

Intelligence isn't quite the guarantee as you think it is. Engineers are doing ok, but scientists are in pretty bad shape right now. You can end up doing either endless post-docs or adjunct teaching for less than $35k/year (possibly with no benefits), even with a Ph. D. Oh, and the longer you adjunct teach, the less employable you become (post-docs help up to a point, and then hurt).
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:57 PM on March 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


Whenever the next tech boom is on and companies can't fill enough positions, we need to put them through an intern period. Maybe HR can come over and mow the lawn for a month and we'll think about it.
posted by crapmatic at 4:10 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


kiskar: "Reading this makes me glad that I chose my major to be Computer Science. I am interning at a major tech company and I have had all expenses paid to fly halfway across the world, stay in a fancy apartment in an expensive area, and I am getting paid a high 5 figure salary."


Halogenhat: "Here's another elephant in the room: intelligence. Employers don't hold carrots over the heads of really, really smart kids with an engineering degree."

Compared to newspapers, acting, (bioscience?,) and advertising, computer programming is a skill that relatively nobody outside our generation knows anything about. I figure it's mainly a combination of older generations staying in the workplace for longer, and certain college departments needing X number of students to balance the budget, regardless of the student:expected job opening ratio.

Even then, there's still pockets where carrots in front of treadmills are common; the video game programming industry has people beating down its doors, and the hours and wages are lower as a result. I'm not about to cry game coders though, when their skills are easily transferrable to a wide variety of other places hungry for them.
posted by pwnguin at 4:18 PM on March 2, 2013


I think I have read a few studies that show that once you go up a few standard deviations on the bell curve for intellect you are basically fucked in terms of happiness.

All the really truly smart people I grew up with that were singled out and were told they were going to do amazing things, the kids that they themselves knew they were destined for Big Things...those guys are all unemployed now. These are kids that got the maximum possible score on all the standardized exams, never had to try, were effortlessly perfect at whatever they took up and intimidated all of their teachers. These are the kids people describe when they say the type of education system we need is the one that inspires a sense of wonder and greatness, they were able to accomplish that inside of a rather uninspiring rural public school education system. With no exceptions they are now living with parents in their late 20s or quite literally homeless.

Whereas only ten years ago they might say something that was breathtakingly brilliant, or cut to the bare naked truth of an immensely complicated subject in the middle of third period social studies while the rest of us were fantasizing about the tantalizing stale cardboard pizza we would be feasting on in only a few short minutes. Because honestly who wants to know why insurance companies were created to save money but end up costing everyone more in the long run just to fill their pockets? Can't we all just ignore that instead?

So the middling group who were never encouraged to find happiness and spiritual fulfillment in their jobs? The metaphorical ditch diggers? Those that compromised and settled are all doing more or less okay these days. Because we're used to the slow death of our morals and hopes and dreams. And we all know what happened to the last quartile of the rural high school system.

I know we're supposed to buy into all of this crap propaganda about boot straps and that but when I go to work and look at my coworkers and think back about the literal geniuses I know who can't find a job to save their life I can't help but feel that there's a missing generation of lost intellectuals that is completely, forever lost to us.

.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 4:21 PM on March 2, 2013 [36 favorites]


I know 3 friends who all have ~22 year old brothers. All of them are living with their parents, none of them are employed full time, and one of them sells drugs on the side to make ends meet. I don't envy the undergrads in the class that I'm TAing. I'm not doing much better since I'm currently one of the academic indentured servants, but I'm at least making rent each month (although I don't have a position for the summer, and the sequester has me sweating bullets about my prospects of finding funded work). It's pretty grim all around.
posted by codacorolla at 4:30 PM on March 2, 2013


Almost all of the smartest kids I knew in high school -- the ones that knew the answers to every question, or, like hobo says, the ones that could analyze contemporary journal articles and engage in serious conversation with PhD's in various fields ... the kids who were the very bleeding edge of the intelligence curve -- are now in various stages of un or underemployment, drug addiction or mental health-related disability.

I grew up in Silicon Valley and none of my friends went on to found the Next Microsoft or the Next Apple (there are already Microsofts and Apples. Why do we need more?). Almost none of them work for major tech companies (there is already a massive Indian diaspora in the Bay Area that feeds upon tech jobs like a greedy vampire). If anything, they've grown up to patronize bars, weed dispensaries and VTA stations.

Such is the fate of genius in the New America.
posted by Avenger at 4:35 PM on March 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


That was my first post. But I have been reading metafilter daily for six years. Seems that those on this board are actually the people one or two SDs above average you are talking about (not me though. Lol?), and so their idea of what it is to be smart is skewed. Seriously though, I heard the "being an adjunct professor is worse than being in the hull of a slaver" argument for four years straight from every prof who wasn't tenured, and I'm still asking where to sign up for a life of romantic intellectual lower to middle classedness.

I will admit that i have known one or two kids so gifted they could not interface with other humans. But if you are playing the odds, it matters. Toss in the depressing "the robots are coming" post about automation a few weeks ago, and everyone who is not a robot engineer start running.
posted by Halogenhat at 5:00 PM on March 2, 2013


Especially considering that the agricultural labor force and the prison population are right there.

Particularly since the amended Constitution explicitly allows the enslavement of convicts.
posted by srboisvert at 5:02 PM on March 2, 2013


there is already a massive Indian diaspora in the Bay Area that feeds upon tech jobs like a greedy vampire

Hey, this is kind of a fucked up thing to say.
posted by liketitanic at 5:05 PM on March 2, 2013 [15 favorites]


There's some pretty clear law out there that says internships are supposed to teach something, that they aren't supposed to be turned into free labor. What a joke. When I worked for a media company, the interns and the youngest hires were treated just as this article described--required to be available on Blackberry round the clock, seven days a week.
A strong Labor Department on a state or federal level would put a stop to the worst of these abuses.
As far as internships, even middle-class parents are squeezed to support their kids' unpaid labor because every employer is demanding they have them. Why working isn't considered as good as an internship is beyond me. Yes, the wealthier were always able to do this and it's why the magazine industry tended to be rich, upper-class white girls getting launched into their careers via internships. But this seems to have spread well beyond the media and entertainment industries.
And, unless I misunderstand the European system, I don't think those interns are coming out of college owing a fortune, having no health insurance except what mom and dad can provide, etc. In fact, when I think about Obamacare, and that it's great I can provide my daughter's insurance when she graduates, there's the downside that the cost of insuring the younger generation has been transferred from employers that should supply it to the parents.
posted by etaoin at 5:17 PM on March 2, 2013


> But saying "it's luck" is denying centuries of cultural conditioning that you can make it if you try and all you have to do is check these boxes and you'll be a-ok. It undermines the entire narrative of the US to imply that maybe the homeless aren't worthless, lazy rabble and the unemployed aren't defective in some way, which would imply a need to take care of those people.

Luck is the story of my life, every piece. I am the luckiest man alive.

I was born in Soviet Ukraine in a family of factory workers. We came to the US under the auspices of some kind of moribund refugee program. If we hadn't come, my mother's plan for me was to send me to spend weekends with her second husband, watching him cobble shoes and get drunk with his buddies.

I finished middle school in the US. In 8th grade, my mother's husband's family neglected to tell us about the lottery system for high school. My middle school art teacher took it upon herself to take me to interviews and basically got me placed at one of the best high schools in the city.

I finished 5th in my graduating class. That did take some work, but I've always been a nerdy kid. For college, I applied to a couple of SUNY schools, a couple engineering schools (RIT and RPI), and some Ivy League longshots. I got accepted to my SUNYs, but they gave me minimal financial aid. Aid at RIT was $7000 short of semester tuition, even with federal loans. Neither Brown nor Columbia wanted me. I was filling out my matriculation forms for RIT and wondering about private loans when I got a 25th-hour email from Johns Hopkins that they came up with money for a full ride for me.

A couple of years after graduating from Hopkins, I was unemployed, broke, and chronically ill. I was driving along in an old beater when the engine started smoking. I pulled over and the car promptly caught fire. I was completely unharmed.

Later that year my illness was becoming life-threatening. I had no money to my name and was behind on pay for a high-deductible insurance plan. A kind soul drove me to a local emergency room, where they informed me that they were very surprised I wasn't dead yet (for reference, I had 3 g/dL of hemoglobin). The hospital patched me up and I was released almost as good as new after a week-long stay. My illness turned out to be easily and cheaply manageable. The cost of my stay and treatment was completely forgiven via a charity program.

A few days ago I reached 7777 favorites on MeFi. On that day, I got a lucrative surprise job offer. I really had no idea it was coming.
posted by Nomyte at 5:20 PM on March 2, 2013 [39 favorites]


The abuse of interns is merely a symptom of the larger problem, that is, our "free market" system produces more graduates than there are graduate jobs. Classic supply and demand: prices will fall, and keep falling until supply matches demand. How low can prices go? Apparently zero, as evidenced by people willing to work for free.

In Australia, I can sort of see a reasonable explanation for graduate unemployment - we're a regional hub for education - large amounts of overseas students come in and then after graduating take one shot at applying for a graduate job, if they can't get it then they leave. I've heard HR managers say it's typical in the industry to get 2500 applicants for the 40 open positions they have a year. A friend of mine told me last week a single job opening attracted 100 applicants.

In a way I sometimes wonder if some kind of central control system is needed, like we do for doctors: if it's known the system can only support an additional 10,000 new doctors per year over the next 6 years (since the limit is the number of interns hospitals can support), then doctor training places are restricted to 10,000. It would truly be a crime if the system allowed, say, 30,000 people to enter medical school, spend 6-7 years of their lives, and go deep into debt, only to turn around and tell 20,000 of them, sorry, there is no place for you in the system. What a waste of societal resources...
posted by xdvesper at 5:24 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hey, this is kind of a fucked up thing to say.

Fucked up and accurate? One of the reasons 22 year olds can't get jobs is due to out- and in-sourcing. We can't just turn over our IT industries to other countries where the pay is markedly smaller and then wonder why our young people can't find quality jobs in those sectors.
posted by Avenger at 5:26 PM on March 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


A fundamental cause of this is our limping economy and lack of jobs. If there were more jobs, those rich-kid interns would be employed on Wall Street, in marketing, in Hollywood, by lobbying firms and non-profits, etc, because those firms would be growing and would need new employees and there would be fierce competition to fill those jobs. Instead, there are no jobs, and the demand side can essentially set the price at zero. There was an article in the NYT a couple weeks ago about how service jobs are increasingly requiring college degrees, because why not? If you can get someone with a college degree for the same price, why not do it? And the reason they can is because those people can't get jobs elsewhere -- the price has been driven down by the huge oversupply relative to demand. An 8% unemployment rate and an economy that hasn't truly grown for over a decade have huge indirect effects on all of us, wherever we are in the hierarchy -- the price of labor is driven down at all levels, and no matter how much experience you have, you will be making much less (via absent promotions if nothing else) than you otherwise would be. I'm definitely not arguing against unions pushing for better wages, but one of the main advantages of stronger unions would be to force national policies that encourage growth (and not just for the 1%), so that competition would prevent employers from being able to set what are essentially negative wages at the bottom, which is killing all of us, from unpaid interns to upper management (though not, of course, CEOs). And instead we're getting more bullshit austerity.
posted by chortly at 5:32 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I empathize with these people up to a POINT.

They need to unionize pronto but they won't! . . . because these baby parasites just perpetuate their bullshit exploitation system because when one of them "makes it big" he/she ultimately decides that THEIR lickspittle need to "pay their dues" because that's how things are in the big time.

These poor deluded idiots should have done something actually PRODUCTIVE, like nursing school, because then they could work 60+ hours a week, AND make enough to live on and they would help the lot of their fellow man.
posted by Renoroc at 5:36 PM on March 2, 2013


Fucked up and accurate? One of the reasons 22 year olds can't get jobs is due to out- and in-sourcing. We can't just turn over our IT industries to other countries where the pay is markedly smaller and then wonder why our young people can't find quality jobs in those sectors.

I meant "xenophobic and racist" for values of "fucked up," actually.
posted by liketitanic at 5:40 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


These poor deluded idiots should have done something actually PRODUCTIVE, like nursing school, because then they could work 60+ hours a week, AND make enough to live on and they would help the lot of their fellow man.

I hear you up to a point, but you must realize that there are also local areas of under and over-supply of nursing graduates, that the job market is difficult to project 3-4 years out, that it isn't everyone who has the inclination and the requisites for a nursing program, and so on, etc. Really, your comment just looks like ones of those irrelevant "you should have majored in XYZ!" that always plague these threads. Every sector of the workforce is susceptible to market distortion.
posted by Nomyte at 5:41 PM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]



I meant "xenophobic and racist" for values of "fucked up," actually.


Yah. The fact that you are describing a real situation doesn't give you license to be rude about it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:42 PM on March 2, 2013


Really, your comment just looks like ones of those irrelevant "you should have majored in XYZ!" that always plague these threads. Every sector of the workforce is susceptible to market distortion.

+1
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:44 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Department of Labor laws are very clear; the DOL needs to enforce them. I work for a non-profit cultural institution (and am jointly in charge of intern management) where we could very easily get unpaid interns desperate to break into the field. We desperately need free labor given our tight budgets, but really, we can't justify unpaid interns ethically or legally, so we don't have any. I know we're unusual that way, but really, the DOL could make bank if it would/could start prosecuting. I'm not a lawyer by any stretch at all, but the language is quite clear and easy to understand for a reasonably literate person.

And really, arts orgs are some of the worst in this respect--there's such a high demand for jobs in this sector, despite the very low pay for most workers. And then folks look around at conferences and hand-wring about how not-diverse is the conference attendance (and therefore the field). Makes me want to bang my head on the wall.
posted by smirkette at 5:59 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nothing America-only about it. When my wife was graduating from her masters from this university in London, her option was an unpaid internship with A UN agency in Jakarta. There was this prestigious liberal think tank that had an opening for an intern who has not only done academic work in public policy, but also can maintain their servers and hardware, and do it for free. I joked that not even mixing my wife's policy chops and my tech experience would be sufficient for that one.
posted by the cydonian at 6:00 PM on March 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Are interns the slave economy of the US?

No, the mostly black and latino inmates of the prison economy are. Is this a trick question?
posted by signal at 6:54 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I knew a lot of really smart kids in high school too -- nearly all of them are employed in high-prestige, high-wage jobs. What's our secret, you ask? Why, it couldn't be simpler! We graduated high school in 1998.

Kids today are graduating into the worst economic catastrophe in eighty years. That's why they're not getting good jobs. It's no mystery, and it's certainly not their fault.
posted by gerryblog at 6:57 PM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


Avenger's comment about greedy Indian vampires is intriguing. It's led me to realize being accepting of other cultures is really the product of a kind of privilege. If you have a good job and a pretty good life, then you probably won't see any problems with other cultures. And if they do bother you, you can afford to move to the suburbs where everyone is the same. Once jobs stop disappearing and money gets tight then...well, look up the 1930s in a history book. MeFi loves to feel smug and self-righteous about how accepting they are of gay people, minorities, etc, without realizing that that attitude can only come from a certain amount of privilege. Not to say that the comment in question couldn't have been phrased a little more tactfully, but the sentiment shouldn't surprise anyone. Stuff like this is only going to become more common. And people think I'm crazy when I say money is the most important thing in the world. Go ahead and completely empty your bank account and tell me how sane you feel.
posted by MattMangels at 6:57 PM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


What's the difference between an unpaid intern and a volunteer? Why is one considered to be a victim of exploitation and the other is considered honourable?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:59 PM on March 2, 2013


What's the difference between an unpaid intern and a volunteer? Why is one considered to be a victim of exploitation and the other is considered honourable?

Interning is wage labor without the wage; in many high-demand fields it's becoming the price of admission to the class of paid workers. Volunteers set their own terms and don't do it in lieu of paid work.
posted by gerryblog at 7:02 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


etaoin: There's some pretty clear law out there that says internships are supposed to teach something, that they aren't supposed to be turned into free labor.

The kid who's working a crappy internship isn't going the blow the whistle on the thing that's going to "get their foot in the door".

As mentioned upthread, the creative industries are one of the most notorious abusers of the internship. My last undergrad credit was a record label internship where my supervisor worked there nine months for no pay just to get a job in the mailroom.
posted by dr_dank at 7:03 PM on March 2, 2013


There's some pretty clear law out there that says internships are supposed to teach something, that they aren't supposed to be turned into free labor.

I thought it was even stronger than this, that companies are literally not allowed to derive value from their interns at all. (Perhaps this only applies to interns that give educational credit?)
posted by gerryblog at 7:08 PM on March 2, 2013


Firms are not allowed to gain an immediate advantage from the activities of their interns and on occasion may actually face a disadvantage.

Here's the official federal rules.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:16 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought it was even stronger than this, that companies are literally not allowed to derive value from their interns at all. (Perhaps this only applies to interns that give educational credit?)

No, that's exactly it: the org can't derive any timely value from the unpaid intern: having in unpaid intern should cost the firm more than not having one. Clearly, this rule is being violated like crazy across fields. But again, the DOL isn't enforcing this law and the economy's in the shitter, so young people are being exploited left and right.
posted by smirkette at 7:33 PM on March 2, 2013


What's the difference between an unpaid intern and a volunteer? Why is one considered to be a victim of exploitation and the other is considered honourable?

A volunteer is supposed to provide value to the org at cost to themselves, voluntarily. Their service is for the the sake of the org's good, not their own. Truly, a good volunteer is worth more than an intern because you can legally ask them to do things you that you would pay personnel for, which you cannot legally do with unpaid interns. Volunteers can increase capacity when you can't afford additional head-count.
posted by smirkette at 7:38 PM on March 2, 2013


> Avenger's comment about greedy Indian vampires is intriguing. It's led me to realize being accepting of other cultures is really the product of a kind of privilege. If you have a good job and a pretty good life, then you probably won't see any problems with other cultures. And if they do bother you, you can afford to move to the suburbs where everyone is the same.

I'm going to shield my eyes against the total je ne sais quoi of this comment, and note that there's both academic and polling research that shows that meeting people from diverse backgrounds is in fact more likely to lead to accepting attitudes, and living in homosocial environment is actually more likely to promote narrow-mindedness.

And none of that "when push comes to shove," "nature red in tooth and claw" stuff, please. It reflects very poorly on you. My coworkers are people from Nigeria, the PRC, Puerto Rico, and Long Island. I don't care if a person from India (or a robot, or a penguin) takes my job. It's employers systematically skewing the job market that people ultimately dislike: exploitative visa policies, massive labor outsourcing, etc.
posted by Nomyte at 7:40 PM on March 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


MeFi loves to feel smug and self-righteous about how accepting they are of gay people, minorities, etc, without realizing that that attitude can only come from a certain amount of privilege.

I just don't think this is true. The fact that xenophobia has been linked to the economy is historically true, but that doesn't mean that antiracism and opposition to prejudice are the purview of privilege, as though low-income people and struggling people can't be and aren't in solidarity with people whose "interests" appear to be at cross purposes.

And I don't think there is anything wrong with my pointing out that it was a fucked up thing to say.
posted by liketitanic at 7:41 PM on March 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yah. The fact that you are describing a real situation doesn't give you license to be rude about it.

I think calling immigrants of color vampires is pretty rude, too. But please, don't mind me! It's not really racism when the person calling it out is angry or rude, right??
posted by liketitanic at 7:43 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aaah, grand old tradition. Capital using race and religion hatred and distrust to divide the labor force and keep control. Amazing, how the same methods work, whether it's 2000 BC or 2013 AD. We really learn nothing, do we.
posted by VikingSword at 7:45 PM on March 2, 2013


I work at a college that requires each undergrad -- in, I will admit, "career-focused degree programs" -- to do two internships. I think they are going to start paying students during the internships, because kids were dropping out when they realized they would have to stop doing paid work in order to do an unpaid internship.

And the school's leadership realized that, you know, since we were trying to get them experience before they graduated so they could skip the lowest rung of the ladder, maybe we ought to be part of the solution. It made me a little proud to hear that news.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:55 PM on March 2, 2013


According to various polls, young people today - for the first time in our history - believe that they're going to be worse off materially, than their parents.

They're right.

You can't lose years and years underemployed or working for free and not have it reflected in your life earnings. You will have less for present day living, and less saved for retirement.

And it doesn't stop at money. How many people are going to be motivated to start families while working as interns? How do you propose to support a family when you're working for no pay? Should your parents perhaps finance not only your indentured servitude - in the hopes that one day you'll be able to buy your way out - but maybe they should just resign themselves to financing your entire family.

And what do you think will be left for future generations once your parents are gone and have less assets to leave you, because they had to support you for so long? And what then will you, with your mediocre earnings leave to your children? There is downward movement generationally.

The entire society becomes impoverished, except for the very top, which grows ever richer. Not very stable.

But then again, if you can't afford kids, there won't be any future soldiers left for the revolution to come, so I guess it's a win for the 1%.
posted by VikingSword at 7:57 PM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


I work in the finance industry, which I know is somewhat reviled here on MeFi, but I wanted to contribute to the discussion as a young person who graduated in '08. I just found a new job in the industry after being laid off and unemployed for a few months, and my wife has been searching for a full-time job here in NYC for over a year despite having a master's from a good school. It's tough out there.

I don't come from a rich or prestigious family - I'm the son of Asian immigrants. I studied engineering at a not very impressive state university on academic scholarships, didn't do any internships, but when I graduated in the summer of '08 I had full-time job offers just from going to the campus job fair to get some interview experience, and plenty of my classmates had a fairly easy time finding jobs too. It basically felt like if you had a pulse and a degree in engineering you could find a decent job, maybe in the middle of nowhere, but still offering a stable middle-class lifestyle.

Instead of taking an engineering job, I did a master's in finance, taking out student loans to pay tuition and support myself. The economy imploded in my first semester. Everyone in our class did a mandatory "paid" internship during the first quarter of '09 - I put "paid" in quotes because the hiring company paid our school a fixed amount of money that went towards our (non-trivial) tuition costs instead of paying us directly. But the company still had to pay that money - enough to live on for three months - they didn't get anything for free. Finding an internship in finance in November '08 was tough, obviously, and finding a full-time job graduating in summer '09 wasn't a cakewalk either, but we all managed. I paid off my debt in my first year of work, and after three years of work and having survived one layoff, I think I'm doing OK for myself. I realize how lucky I am to be in this position, but it's not like it was handed to me.

And the thing is, I took a non-traditional route into the industry. I think the archetypal finance worker is a white male who majored in business or finance at a fairly good school (not necessarily Ivy League or even "Public Ivy"), played some kind of sport, who did summer internships in finance. And I'm sure privilege has a lot to do with it, but at the same time, finance internships are almost always paid. Not enough to be making bank, but enough to room with a bunch of other interns over the summer without starving.

And while hard-working and ambitious, I would describe most of them as just being of average intelligence. When I worked at a large bank I once went through the resumes of everyone entering the front office trainee program, and it was amazing how cookie-cutter and generic everyone was - mostly white guys who fit the profile I described above, and a couple smart Asian or Indian kids. Nobody who stood out as brilliant.

So I guess I don't really know what I want to say. It's tough out there, for sure, but there are still some industries that don't exploit unpaid intern labor that people coming out of school can find good jobs in. I guess the problem is that in high school people tell you to follow your dreams in college, and most people's dreams don't involve studying engineering. Mine certainly didn't, but my immigrant parents indoctrinated me enough as a kid that I felt like I had no other choice - even though they didn't pay a cent towards my tuition.
posted by pravit at 8:09 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think there is anything wrong with my pointing out that it was a fucked up thing to say.

Certainly not. And I'll concede that Nomyte has a point in that exposure to other cultures, not just prosperity, can lead to greater acceptance of people who aren't like you. I'm just saying no one should be surprised if some of the progress made with regards to racial harmony in the latter half of the 20th century is at least partially undone by a disintegrating economy. Or to put it bluntly, money absolutely does buy happiness, and it's easier to be a nice person when you're happy. Look at how popular it is to hate on Baby Boomers—when resources get tight people tend to resent people that have those resources. I wouldn't be surprised at all if a Silicon Valley/Bay Area firm that employs a lot of Indians or other non-whites is eventually the site of a mass shooting by some aggrieved, deranged white guy.
posted by MattMangels at 8:10 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


The "Indians steal our high tech jobs!" "Chinese drive up real estate prices!" whinging have picked up steam across North America, in addition to the usual drivel about blacks, Latinos, and immigration in general. What a shame. Avenger's post could have been written by me, except for that one line blaming the misery one experiences/sees on an exploited group instead of the exploitative system. It's an increasingly common sentiment, and I have come to realize that I may have to leave Vancouver/Canada at some point as the xenophobia balloons along with the cost of living. Hostility is a lot harder to face down when I'm already living below the poverty line.

The even bigger shame is that, if I move back to Taiwan, I may have to turn a blind eye on the racism and xenophobia toward workers from Southeast Asia. I'm getting depressed just from visualizing the social outing: some of us try to keep from crying as we talk about our times in Canada or Australia. Half an hour later, the talk turns to Filipinos and Indonesians "stealing" jobs from Taiwanese youth. To conclude the evening, we share a blood oath vowing vengeance on South Koreans, denouncing Samsung's plastic products and K-pop's plastic stars, even though half of us secretly stan multiple K-idols and most of us prefer Galaxy S3 to HTC One X.

Everything went to hell for me when I was born a human instead of a panda.
posted by fatehunter at 8:14 PM on March 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


Angrycat--is your pal teaching In a public school? Where there's a union? Last I checked, the NYT story didn't mention public school teachers. And if ou pal wanted to move to North Dakota, he'd probably make more money.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:20 PM on March 2, 2013


It's not really racism when the person calling it out is angry or rude, right??

I'm not sure why it can't be both.

But many people feel that crying racism is an overused tactic by oversensitive people who have an overdeveloped sense of self-importance. For those individuals letting them know they're being rude is something they're much more likely to hear.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:36 PM on March 2, 2013


Metafilter: Everything went to hell for me when I was born a human instead of a panda.
posted by LiteOpera at 8:51 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


My sense of self-worth is probably overdeveloped (as I like to think it's above zero), but Avenger's comment was a direct attack on a minority group, which is plainly racist and xenophobic regardless of my sensitivity to the issue.

1) This post is about companies exploiting interns/entry-level workers. The consensus of this thread casts those companies as vampires that feed on the workers. To turn around and accuse a group of workers as vampires who feed on jobs, for the sole reason that they belong to a racial minority, is not defensible any way one slices it.

The above is a rational argument. Here is my oversensitive one: a few years ago my cousin committed suicide after months interning at a SV company. She frequently had to work 70+ hours per week and was under constant pressure to "perform" on an entry-level position. Then she cracked.

It boggles my mind that workers living the grind my cousin went through (she wasn't Indian, but the point stands) could be described as the "vampires" in this scenario.

2) A "diaspora" usually has more immigrants than visa workers. How are Indian Americans less American or less deserving of American jobs than, I don't even know, white Americans or whatever Americans?

Again, the oversensitive version: my uncle, who had been an American citizen for decades and spent almost all of that time contributing to SV bottom lines, was tossed aside like a deprecated feature during the financial crisis and had been alternating between temp gigs and unemployment ever since. I just don't see how he had been the ~vampire feeding on jobs that had belonged to Americans more American than him, but I'm indeed biased.
posted by fatehunter at 9:25 PM on March 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


I wonder how much of this is a product of being 22.

I didn't start my undergrad until I was 21, because I was working and saving money. I graduated into the slumping Canadian economy of nineties. There was plenty of ink splashed about how we were going to be fucked, worse off than our parents and probably moving in with them, too.

I spent the year after graduating increasingly desperate for work, and then finally gave up and went to grad school, largely to get the student loan people off my back, but also because I knew I could earn $12K-ish a year as a TA. In a round about way, grad school led to full time work, but only because of volunteer work I was doing on the side. I dropped out of the programme when I got a one year contract that required a cross-country move. I was 30. I got lucky and the 1 year contract turned into a permanent job, then there was some bouncing around the country, freelancing and poverty, and now I am again fully employed with a very attractive salary, full benefits and a pension. I started that at 38.

If we're talking net worth, there is no question I am worse off than my parents were at my age. By the time they were my age they were 20 years into their 25 year mortgage. As a single woman who didn't start earning serious money until her late 30s, I am several years away from a down payment, even (and it's looking increasingly unlikely that I will go the home-owning route at all). I finished paying back my $50K in student loans right around age 40.

But I am also, unquestionably, better off than I was at 22. I suspect Gen Y will be, too. This intern class, in particular, I predict will eventually be just fine, though possibly not working as movie producers or book publishers in New York and LA.
posted by looli at 9:53 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like a broken record on Metafilter, but so many of the postings here are part of a much bigger picture - and that is that all the OK jobs are going away in almost every field and they are never coming back (until there's a major overhaul of society).

It's a perfect storm with two causes. The first is that automation is in the process of destroying most first-world jobs. Whether it's manufacturing or retail, education or music or publishing, your job is in danger from the computer or the internet or the robot.

This was to be predicted and was (though I think no one guessed that manufacturing would be the last to go and that the information fields like publishing and music would go first).

The other is the rise of the strange death-cult of the free-market, where greed, competitiveness and ruthlessness are revered as virtues, and ethics are for effete losers. America and the UK remade their countries around this madness, and then they destroyed the system that allowed them to get there, so there's no moving back without a discontinuity.

The government's stance has moved from, "Let's nurture the young, the sick, and the old because the young are our future, the old are our past, and the sick could be any of us at any time," to, "Taxation is evil, government is bad, business is good and the rich are good because they are rich - if poor people fail, they go to the wall and the herd is made stronger."

As a result, unless you have exceptional talents or great wealth, you as an individual are going to be increasingly up against the wall in just the way this article suggests.

This is your future, and if you vote Democrat or Republican, then this is what you are voting for.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:12 PM on March 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


As the number of in-debt pissed-off young people with no future balloons, it's going to come to a head.

It's time for a Student Loans Party.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:40 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sounds to me like the answer is to go to school as say a Doctor, rack up the bill, then leave the Country - never to return.

Because how are the collection laws gonna come for you if you are not under their jurisdiction?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:42 PM on March 2, 2013


The government's stance has moved from, "Let's nurture the young, the sick, and the old because the young are our future, the old are our past, and the sick could be any of us at any time,"

And exactly WHEN was this the case?

The US was founded on landholders having a voice in government. For decades Women and Blacks were 2nd class citizens.

Others have made arguments that the public education system exists to train future workforces for the factories and so the military would have a far simpler job training recruits.

Considering how not only are robots being brought to industries like burger-making in fast food joints but also to the military - why is anyone surprised education is becoming a wealth filter?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:55 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps others can comment on the below observations:

This unpaid internship BS is 'coastal' as in a 'feature' of places like NY and LA.
This unpaid internshit BS is a 'feature' of the 'creative' class - people in advertising or 'media' like TV/radio/newspapers.

How many engineering jobs are unpaid interships as I'm not aware of unpaid engineer interships in the same class of large companies where they are unpaid 'media' firms?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:03 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Invisible Hand is, in actuality, a well-lubed fist.

The original invisible hand was all about spending your money outside your local community or as stated Nation.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:06 PM on March 2, 2013


What is the new "normal"?

He he ha ha ha.

You might wish to look around you and ask "how much of what I see is due to $5 a barrel oil?"

Then ask yourself "under what events will energy become that cheap again?" (then ponder what the environment was when energy was more expensive)

Humanity hasn't reached "the new normal". At least 1st world humanity hasn't because of the previously cheap energy.

Quotes about how specialisation is for insects and how generations ago one's income was from many different sources echo in my head. You might wish to invest some time figuring out how to be self-employed in more than 1 'skill'.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:18 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


But look at all the industries mentioned in the article - they're all on the decline. Book publishing, TV, "New Media"? These are companies wondering if they're going exist in ten years.

And yet, the unpaid intership seems to be tied to these industries for decades.

I'll stake out that your observation is incorrect and claim the 'unpaid intership' is a "feature" of these business models. I'll go one step further and make a new claim:

Unpaid interships exist where there is no actual value to humanity in what is being done. The unpaid interns labour is used on things that 'don't matter'.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:25 PM on March 2, 2013


I wouldn't be surprised at all if a Silicon Valley/Bay Area firm that employs a lot of Indians or other non-whites is eventually the site of a mass shooting by some aggrieved, deranged white guy.

Why channel Samuel Byck?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:29 PM on March 2, 2013


"and if you vote Democrat or Republican, then this is what you are voting for"

Yeah, your Nader vote in 2000 really turned the tide.
posted by bardic at 11:47 PM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


If everyone who said that had actually voted Nader, the US would be a better place.

It's a prisoner's dilemma. Hang together or hang separately, people.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:53 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hang with a center-right coalition called the US Democratic Party and try to vote for actual liberals locally, or let the Republican nihilists have their way.

Sorry the system is fucked (speaking as a USian myself) but magical thinking via a third-party savior isn't the answer.

But I'm sure Mitt Romney would have taken great strides to strengthen the healthcare of 30 million or so of your fellow citizens who will live longer and more productive lives because of the ACA.
posted by bardic at 12:02 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


> > The government's stance has moved from, "Let's nurture the young, the sick, and the old because the young are our future, the old are our past, and the sick could be any of us at any time,"

> And exactly WHEN was this the case?

Starting with FDR and ending with Reagan. Yes, many inequities, yes, lots of things got improved and lots didn't, but that was an era where a Republican like Nixon could support things like Medicare.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:15 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd consider the printing industry amongst the most important industries in human history, perhaps the most important, rough ashlar. Yes, the internet has made the current publishing industry largely obsolete, not sure if technical publishers like Elsevier had unpaid interns 30 years ago though.

As a rule, unpaid internships exist as class hurdles in industries that wield power like politics, law, television, and other media. Unpaid internships are used much more broadly in Europe, often required by universities, but not serially as in the U.S.

I'd therefore expected this article might decry unpaid internships spreading into other fields, but nope. In fact, the article said nothing at all except that new media jobs exploit unpaid interns.

Does a writer at Collage Humor wield power? Yes actually, not much, less than some software developers, but more than an aeronautical engineer or most software developers. Is it worth an unpaid internship? LOL

Should we outlaw unpaid internships? Yes obviously, but especially in politics and law.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:16 AM on March 3, 2013


> Sorry the system is fucked (speaking as a USian myself) but magical thinking via a third-party savior isn't the answer.

It's sad that you think "voting" is "magical thinking". And you aren't proposing any solution at all.

How are working people supposed to get a better deal other than changing the government when permanent systematic unemployment has given them no negotiating position whatsoever?

I would note that third parties have been successful in the US in the not-too-distant historical past, and in the present all over the world, so it's not like it's a complete fantasy land. I would comment that the popularity of both major parties in Congress is at recent historic lows... and I will also note that two of the most powerful groups in America, the Republicans and the Democrats, have every interest in convincing all Americans that it's completely fruitless to even think of voting for a third party, and that an open mind would treat all such claims with a great deal of skepticism.

Unions are dead, workers are a drug on the market for the rest of time, and the days of being able to have a comfortable life and career are over for most of the middle class. Political action is the only solution.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:32 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, all those poor darlings featured in the piece could have moved to North Dakota and made real money, but instead, they went for much less well-paid, but far more glamorous jobs in far more glamorous places.

This statement is so completely far from reality that I don't even know where to start.

The only jobs paying well in North Dakota are oil jobs and those, despite what the national news would have you believe, are not terribly thick on the ground. Just as it is in every other boom location throughout history, the 'poor darlings' who got an oil job would pay out a lot of that excess cash in things like rent, food, and other necessities. Winter on the northern prairie is harsh and they'd need to buy things like proper clothing and have adequate heat and transportation. The state legislature, in its infinite wisdom, is doing things like cutting aid to the poor so if a 'darling' lost that fancy job (which has lots of strings attached to it) then they would be especially screwed. And so on and so forth.

I really wish people wouldn't just repeat things they've heard about the Bakken Shale oil boom from the news media (and that one article on man camps is like the entirety of most people's knowledge) as if it was all gospel truth.

North Dakota--a state of 700,000 people--is not the solution for the unemployment needs of the roughly 39 million 20-29 year-olds in the US.
posted by librarylis at 12:37 AM on March 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


A 40-hour internship is a requirement for a local technology institute that offers an AA in some sort of computer support degree. I know this because we've now had two guys who were the top of their classes do their 40 hours and then be paid interns. And then we hired them as far up as we can. The first one now signs off on my payroll because I'm a mom of two teenagers, an artist, and an IT person who loves solving puzzles for a living. I don't want to be in a job anywhere near management, but I trust that guy to make sure I get paid.

I was the one assigned to train him in our office.

It's terrible that the internship programs are getting abused. I'm glad my office treats it for what it is. An opportunity, not slave labor.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:38 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is however an issue with the article that no examples were given outside artistic industries. Should we outlaw unpaid internships? Yes obviously, but this article says little : Illegal-but-tolerated exploitive industry practice becomes more exploitive during the recession.

There are much better articles at skilledup.com and theatlantic.com that point to exploitive unpaid internships outside media industries, with actual statistics like "17.6% more healthcare consulting interns received credit in 2010 than in ’09", or at least more interesting anecdotes, like the restaurant.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:56 AM on March 3, 2013


Angrycat--is your pal teaching In a public school? Where there's a union? Last I checked, the NYT story didn't mention public school teachers. And if ou pal wanted to move to North Dakota, he'd probably make more money.

Nope. Adjunct faculty. And I take issue with the implication that frakking in North Dakota is better for a person or a society than teaching freshman how to use punctuation correctly.
posted by angrycat at 4:35 AM on March 3, 2013


I'm just glad you waited until African-American history month was over, or else someone might have called out the difference between chattel slavery and internships.

Whew! Close one.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:44 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adjuncts teachers are scabs who damage the academic discipline they work in, angrycat. Ideally, academic hiring committees should simply reject assistant professorship applicants who've held such positions, but obviously many small U.S. schools care only about teaching experience, not research.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:57 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adjuncts teachers are scabs who damage the academic discipline they work in

That's ludicrous. The union members -- if you're at a school where the professors are in a union at all -- are the ones doing the adjunct hiring. What you actually have is a two-tier labor track that the unionized members themselves have blessed for their own preservation and advancement, much like what happened in auto production in the 1970s and after. Very different.
posted by gerryblog at 6:29 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know what else to say about the second-guessing other people's choices that goes on in these threads, except to note that it's a classic case of just world bias in action. "Ha, ha, guess you all should have moved to North Dakota!" is plainly not a serious response to the topic being discussed.

If nothing else, the current push towards STEM majors and medical fields will eventually level the playing field on this; once you've moved enough students to the currently high-demand fields their wages will crash too (exactly as the elites who push this rhetoric intend). Perhaps then, when literally everyone is screwed, we can have a conversation about how such a terrible thing could possibly have happened.
posted by gerryblog at 6:35 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hiring committees already do prefer to hire people who haven't worked as adjuncts, or only minimally.

Of course, of the 1.5 million higher education faculty in this country, 1 million are adjunct or non-tenure track. So the market power largely lies with the non-tenure track folks, even while benefits accrue to the tenure-line people.

At many schools, tenure-line faculty aren't labor; they're management.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:37 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course, of the 1.5 million higher education faculty in this country, 1 million are adjunct or non-tenure track. So the market power largely lies with the non-tenure track folks, even while benefits accrue to the tenure-line people.

Right, that was my point. It's a two-tier labor system, blessed and managed by the privileged tier, not a question of unionized members vs scabs.

At many schools, tenure-line faculty aren't labor; they're management.

This wouldn't make adjuncts scabs either -- it would make adjuncts and NTT instructors the only labor class in the system.

Maybe I'm being too literal about your use of the word "scabs," but it's a very charged word, and implies the adjuncts are doing something deeply wrong. They're the victims of an unfair system, not strikebreakers. They can't possibly be blamed for something the tenure-line people have happily done to themselves.
posted by gerryblog at 6:49 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is your future, and if you vote Democrat or Republican, then this is what you are voting for.

As long as the voting system remains first-past-the-post, voting for a third party has the same mathematical and practical effect as setting your ballot on fire. For just about every race, there are no other choices, no matter how much you want to convince yourself otherwise.

The real answer is to get the candidate you want to win the primary. Including the candidate who supports a better voting system.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:50 AM on March 3, 2013


Maybe I'm being too literal about your use of the word "scabs," but it's a very charged word, and implies the adjuncts are doing something deeply wrong.

You seem to have confused me and jeffburdges. I was agreeing with you and criticizing his claim.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:58 AM on March 3, 2013


Oh, that makes sense! I was indeed pretty confused.
posted by gerryblog at 7:00 AM on March 3, 2013


Adjuncts teachers are scabs who damage the academic discipline they work in, angrycat.

WTF
posted by angrycat at 7:26 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hear you up to a point, but you must realize that there are also local areas of under and over-supply of nursing graduates, that the job market is difficult to project 3-4 years out, that it isn't everyone who has the inclination and the requisites for a nursing program, and so on, etc.

I was just using "nursing" as an example of a career where a person is actually trained to do something of value to society. I could have easily said "cabinet making", "plumbing", or "air-conditioning repair." If collegehumor.com vanished tomorrow, would society give a shit?

But if there was a shortage of nurses, you bet we'd be hiring them left and right. The fact of the matter is that even if you are an unemployed nurse/plumber/skilled tradesman, YOU STILL HAVE A REAL SKILL OF VALUE TO SOCIETY.

If one has done nothing but answer emails/get lattes for years in the hopes of getting another menial job in the dim hopes of "getting your big break" than I'm afraid that person has wasted their time.

I absolutely agree that people should only follow goals that they have an aptitude in, but how much aptitude do you need to be an intern at a major publishing house in the big city?

It seems that these sorts of jobs are mostly about how much wealth you have to begin with and what connections you have more than any real skill.
posted by Renoroc at 7:36 AM on March 3, 2013


@dunkadunc

anyone charismatic enough to establish the Student Loans Party will 'be found' to have multiple grievous and unforgivable moral failings within about six months of their debut in the public spotlight

have fun~
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:05 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because how are the collection laws gonna come for you if you are not under their jurisdiction?

If they don't come for me, they'll come for my grandparents, who co-signed my loan.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:20 AM on March 3, 2013


rough ashlar: Sounds to me like the answer is to go to school as say a Doctor, rack up the bill, then leave the Country - never to return.

Because how are the collection laws gonna come for you if you are not under their jurisdiction?


If debtors prison comes back in any real way, bounties for loan skippers or flags at customs can't be far behind.
posted by dr_dank at 9:50 AM on March 3, 2013


I'd consider the printing industry amongst the most important industries in human history, perhaps the most important, rough ashlar.

When one says 'printing industry' do you mean ink on paper or something which creates content that ends up as ink on paper?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:51 AM on March 3, 2013


The fact of the matter is that even if you are an unemployed nurse/plumber/skilled tradesman, YOU STILL HAVE A REAL SKILL OF VALUE TO SOCIETY.

This is also an oversimplification. Skills do not necessarily have value in society, it's that society value skills. That value can change, and is not inherent to the skill. Are you going to tell us that "construction work" is inherently a valuable skill? There are people who trained at vocational schools for plumbing work and haven't been able to make a career out of it. How many makers of custom cabinets do we actually need?

Really, I'm still hearing "if only people had the brains to start training 2-4-8 years ago for the exact jobs we have available now, they'd be much better off." And that kind of thinking is problematic on the face of it.
posted by Nomyte at 11:27 AM on March 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Renoroc also fundamentally misunderstands what the article is saying. These people aren't fetching coffees, they're usually doing 70 hour work-weeks with complicated tasks like managing social media presence (if you think this is fake work, then I'd urge you to go back through the archives here and look at any social media blow-up scandal - not hard to find since they tend to happen on a weekly basis) which require them to be constantly on-call, and take on a lot of stress. That's, like, the entire point of the article in the FPP, that these young workers are doing vital tasks to the companies that they're employed with and not being paid commensurately because there's always warm bodies stacked up like firewood which are eager to take their place.
posted by codacorolla at 11:49 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Adjuncts teachers are scabs who damage the academic discipline they work in, angrycat. Ideally, academic hiring committees should simply reject assistant professorship applicants who've held such positions, but obviously many small U.S. schools care only about teaching experience, not research."

The fuck are you talking about from over there in France? Adjuncts, by and large, are unionized. Calling them "scabs" just shows you talking out of your ass and being a sanctimonious jerk about it too.
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adjuncts teachers are scabs who damage the academic discipline they work in, angrycat. Ideally, academic hiring committees should simply reject assistant professorship applicants who've held such positions, but obviously many small U.S. schools care only about teaching experience, not research. (jeffburdges)

Depending on which small U.S. schools you mean, it is a notorious and much-lamented fact that hiring committees care only about research and not teaching, to the detriment of undergraduate education. And I say "depending on which" only because there are some where teaching experience is valued at all, not because I know of a single one where teaching experience trumps research in the way you describe.

But to be fair, adjunct teaching is (rightly or wrongly) almost always interpreted as "wasn't good enough to go directly into an assistant professorship," so you are getting your wish.
posted by d. z. wang at 12:09 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


jeffburdges: Adjuncts teachers are scabs who damage the academic discipline they work in, angrycat. Ideally, academic hiring committees should simply reject assistant professorship applicants who've held such positions, but obviously many small U.S. schools care only about teaching experience, not research.

Tenured faculty kind of brought this upon themselves. They rely upon the low-paid labor of graduate students for research and teaching assistance, but turn a blind eye to the fact that they're training several people to fill their single job from which they'll never retire and which is in a non-growth field. What do you expect the rest of the students to do?
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:14 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Adjuncts, by and large, are unionized.

Sadly, no, a fact I can attest firsthand from union organizing at a R1 school. There are too many different kinds of non-tenure line faculty doing the labor, and the bargaining unit is split culturally between STEM and not, PHD and not, long-term and not. Plus universities can undermine efforts by simply offering short-term pay and benefits increases, and the organizing effort just falls apart because most of the bargaining unit thinks they'll be tenured or out of the academy soon.

The reason short-term workers tend to be so precarious while unable to unionize is precisely because the majority don't hang around long enough to build the institutional social capital to recognize their collective interests and demand change. Without churn, some form of collective bargaining is probably inevitable, even if it doesn't take the form of a traditional union (think: faculty senate) but with churn it may well be impossible.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:39 PM on March 3, 2013


Agreed, tenured faculty definitely brought the adjunct problem upon their own discipline. Yeah, I'm being facetious by calling adjuncts scabs, as its the discipline that's hurt, not existing labor.

Yet, adjunct teaching is much more a lifestyle choice than say auto work. Adjuncts faculty have already proven themselves more intellectually capable and flexible than your average member of society, really even than your average high school teacher. So most adjuncts could simply quit and find a better paying job outside academia. Autoworkers, Walmart employees, etc. find that much more difficult.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:53 PM on March 3, 2013


"So most adjuncts could simply quit and find a better paying job outside academia. Autoworkers, Walmart employees, etc. find that much more difficult."

That Walmart workers would find it more difficult does not at all support the idea that most adjuncts could "simply quit and find a better paying job outside academia." That's straight up bullshit, and I don't know whether that's because you don't know anything about adjuncts or the labor market as a whole, but you're again talking out of your ass.

"Sadly, no, a fact I can attest firsthand from union organizing at a R1 school."

Huh. My experience mostly comes from knowing a lot of people in R1 schools in Michigan and California, and there the majority of adjuncts are unionized, often with AFT (though in Ca. there are a lot more unions that cover adjuncts). The Chronicle coverage I've read has made that seem like it's a national thing, even if it's not universal.
posted by klangklangston at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2013


That Walmart workers would find it more difficult does not at all support the idea that most adjuncts could "simply quit and find a better paying job outside academia.

You don't think adjunct professors could land at least as good a job as the students they teach will?

Also, in my experience has been that most adjuncts aren't unionized. In the community college I worked for, the faculty union was explicit about not representing them, presumably under the theory that the administration would not agree to it, or would do so only after extracting massive paycuts from the unionized faculty. The adjuncts there seemed to mostly be the sort with a caring and supportive spouse paying the bills while they pursue their dream of tenure track status. The university I work for now has no unionized faculty, only unionized staff. Our peer flagship in the state recently formed a faculty union less than a year ago, to represent "of tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and research faculty (including postdocs)". We'll see how that goes, given the university as a whole is moving to become independent of the state.
posted by pwnguin at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2013


> As long as the voting system remains first-past-the-post, voting for a third party has the same mathematical and practical effect as setting your ballot on fire.

Voting has always been first past the post in the United States, and yet none of the political parties in the US today are the parties the country originally started with.

And many other countries are first past the post and yet have more than two parties.

In quite recent times, Nader, Perot and Anderson have been accused of swinging the results of elections. (It's funny how many people can both blame Nader for giving Bush the election, and then say that voting third party is meaningless.)

Now, I was trained as a mathematician.

"Mathematically", if you vote for D or R in a non-swing state, your vote is statistically meaningless. If you do not live in a swing state, then "mathematically" your vote has the most power if you vote for the most popular third party.

The reason is that in mathematical voting theory, the power of your vote is represented as the chance that your vote will effect actual change. In the United States, third parties have a clear goal - if they get 5% of the vote, they suddenly become eligible for public financing, which is simply huge, and it would take comparatively few voters to actually make this happen.

Now, game theoretically, your proposed strategy of "always vote D" is the worst possible strategy if you want to actually get what you want from your elected officials.

Now that you have more or less announced that you will support the D's no matter what you do, the D's and the R's "mathematically" have no incentive whatsoever to offer you anything at all. "Mathematically" if the D's believe that the left will vote D no matter what, their best strategy is to move as far right as possible in order to attract "swing" voters.

"The left" in the United States has been acting this way for 30 years, and during that time the party has swung so far to the right that, as Mr. Obama accurately observed about himself, in Reagan's era, Mr. Obama's views would have made him a Republican.

Look at how the Republicans do it! If they believe a candidate is not sufficiently "right", they will drop him in droves. They lose a few elections locally but overall they keep a united front and the purity of their (insane) message.

Sorry for continuing the derail, but I believe that the question of "what is a working person to do" is completely relevant here. If "the system" is that young people must work for months or years for nothing before entering the work world, then there is nothing any of these individuals on their own can do to stop it. A small number of young people will be rich or have a unique and financially valuable talent - the vast majority will have no leverage at all.

The law is the only possibility. But there are laws against this intern abuse, and they are clearly not being enforced. As long as we have a government that believes that pursuing companies who are profiteering off desperate young people is very much less important than hounding activists like Aaron Swartz, this situation will not be rectified.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:13 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Adjuncts faculty have already proven themselves more intellectually capable and flexible than your average member of society, really even than your average high school teacher. So most adjuncts could simply quit and find a better paying job outside academia

Like what? I am an adjunct writing instructor and curious as to what other profession a physically disabled very obscure writer like myself could obtain. Yes, teaching high school pays more. But in Philly, good luck finding a public school teaching job, as our Guv has slashed ed funding by 1 billion. This is saying nothing of the complete horror show it is to be a Philly public school teacher. Moreover, my body couldn't do it. So, hey, where are these wondrous jobs you speak of?
posted by angrycat at 2:29 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now, I was trained as a mathematician.

Training as a mathematician would tell you...well, exactly what I said above.

game theoretically, your proposed strategy of "always vote D" is the worst possible strategy if you want to actually get what you want from your elected officials

That's not my proposed strategy. The best way to get what you want is to try to select one of the candidates that can win the general election. In the U.S., this means voting in the primary, and in Canada, it means joining a political party and voting for its leader. Since the general election is extremely likely to have only two real choices, you'd better make sure that yours is one of them.

All of the Nader voters would have had the exact same effect on the 2000 election if they'd set their ballots on fire: a little bit of press, and zero actual effect on the outcome of the election.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:23 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges: So most adjuncts could simply quit and find a better paying job outside academia.

I think it depends on your major and how applicable it is to industry. You do math, so it's probably true for you, and I'm a biologist with specialization in molecular biology and developing PCR assays, so it's possibly true for me as well. But that doesn't necessarily carry over for the guy in Raptor Biology or Russian History or whatever.

Also, while long spells adjunct don't help your long-term chances, at least you are still practicing your field. If you go do insurance billing or something for years, you might as well burn your degree.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:14 PM on March 3, 2013


These poor deluded idiots should have done something actually PRODUCTIVE, like nursing school...

I was one of those "poor deluded idiots" who got a liberal arts degree and spent some time on the intern/volunteer treadmill initially, and I'm taking the prerequisite classes for nursing school now. Sometimes when I tell people about this plan they nod approvingly and tell me "you'll never lack for a job there!" But the truth is, after so many long stretches of un and under employment, I don't trust anyone who claims to know a sure-fire path to a job, or says that "x field is always hiring."

I picked nursing because I have a long-standing interest in medicine and public health (thanks, partially, to medical anthropology classes in college; I don't regret my first BA at all), because it plays to some of my particular work strengths, and because the job odds are marginally better than I can do with just my liberal arts BA. I do not think it is a sure bet by any means. I've seen the posts by new nurses on AskMe, wondering where to look for first jobs. I know the particular types of BSN programs I'm applying for are swamped with applicants. Word on the street is that the job market for new nurses is extra tight in big cities like mine. I recognize that I may have to move for my first job someday, (provided I even get into nursing school first), and I won't be happy to leave my community here, but I'll deal.

Maybe you think I'm making a sensible choice, but to me it feels like another desperate gamble.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:46 PM on March 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


is it really a good thing, though, that the nursing occupations are being filled with people pushed into them by terror of unemployment

that seems like a recipe for disaster
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:16 PM on March 3, 2013


I just read ActionPopulated's comment about pursuing a BSN after "many long stretches of un and under employment," and then I read the next comment:

is it really a good thing, though, that the nursing occupations are being filled with people pushed into them by terror of unemployment

that seems like a recipe for disaster (This, of course, alludes to you)


Eponysterical.
posted by d. z. wang at 7:41 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


And exactly WHEN was this the case?

It peaked on November 4, 1980.
posted by Talez at 8:03 PM on March 3, 2013


i am not kidding. it worries me that a job that involves taking care of sick/mentally disabled people is being filled by workers who have no other real options. it seems like a place where tensions could run high.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:10 PM on March 3, 2013


The Real Reason for the Decline of American Unions
It's conventional wisdom that the post-industrial workforce doesn't want to be unionized. But survey data show that workers' desire to join unions has been growing since the 1980s, and a majority of nonunion workers would now vote for union representation if given the opportunity. So if workers want unions, why is unionization falling?

Commentators have also blamed the decline on everything from globalization to technological advances to the hollowing-out of American manufacturing. But those factors are only part of the story.

Canada's experience offers another answer. Canada has gone through many of the same economic and social changes as the U.S. since the middle of the 20th century, yet it hasn't seen the same precipitous decline in unionization. The unionization rate in the U.S. and Canada followed fairly similar paths from 1920 to the mid-1960s, at which point they began to diverge drastically.

Differences in labor law and public policy are at the root of this disparity...
Why Raising the Minimum Wage Makes Economic Sense
At the current pace of redistribution, it won't be long before we realize the dystopian vision of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, comprising a celestial dwelling Eloi, who live in elegant futuristic dwellings and do no work, and a cave-dwelling group of Morlocks, who live in darkness underground, operating the machinery and industry that makes the Eloi's paradise possible.

Although many seek to justify this growing income inequality on the fact that the "1 percenters" are the entrepreneurs, the dynamic risk-takers, who create the employment for the rest of us, the truth is rather more prosaic. The real job creators are the bottom 90 percent, including those right at the bottom rung who would benefit from a minimum wage — consumers, those who spend nearly all of their income on real goods and services and hoard very little of it. And truth be told, without spending there are no sales; without sales there are no profits; without profits there is no demand for workers; without demand for workers there is no job creation; and without job creation there is no recovery!

A minimum wage is but a small minnow in an ocean of deficient aggregate demand — that fancy term economists use to describe society's collective spending power. The response against the minimum wage invariably starts with the proposition that unemployment is a "supply side" problem and that raising the minimum wage somehow creates additional supply side barriers which impedes the ability of the one percenters to hire more workers. That allows them to define neat equilibrium solutions which lead them to tell our policy-makers in Congress that wage cuts and pernicious welfare-to-work remedies are required to cure mass unemployment.

This myth allows them to make the leap — if unemployment is a "supply side" problem then increasing the minimum wage will not help, especially given (so goes the story) that most of them are scroungers sucking at the teat of big government via food stamps and welfare. Yes, it is true that lower-income people receive food stamps and the like, but that's because the legal minimum wage is far too low to feed a family even if the bread-winner works full time.

Just whose fault is that? Well, mostly conservatives who block minimum wage hikes. The fantasy is also extended to suggest that a modest provision of unemployment benefits allegedly increases the attractiveness of leisure, which allows these "scroungers" to relax on the beach, or sit on their couches drinking beer and watching TV all day courtesy of the hard-working people at the top.

The truth is far more prosaic. Most people would love to escape from the underclass of wages that currently fails to offer people a living wage, and leaves these people struggling to avoid unemployment, loss of community, and a collapse in self-esteem.

When the wealthiest of our society screw up royally — for example, by causing a global financial crisis — we think nothing of spending trillions of dollars to safeguard their privileges and standard of living. By contrast, we have done next to nothing for ordinary, hard-working people for decades, essentially leaving the minimum wage unchained, or unattached to increases in the cost of living.

Interestingly, if the supply side fantasists were correct, leaving minimum wage low is supposed to bring on a splurge of additional hiring by allowing employers to get away with slave wages. But, reality doesn't work that way. What happens in the real world is that low-wage workers go down to the shops and see that everything is more expensive. They are worse off than before, because the real wage has fallen, and therefore they consume less, which adds to our deficient demand problem. The economy gets worse.
also btw...
-Grading Student Loans
-Reach for Yield: Student-Loan Version
-A Primer On Discharging Student Debt

oh and speaking of demand...cheers :P
posted by kliuless at 8:42 PM on March 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


>> Now, I was trained as a mathematician.

> Training as a mathematician would tell you...well, exactly what I said above.

I will ignore the fact that you're implying that I'm a liar, and instead politely ask you for a refutation of my reasonably careful reasoning above.

Or, even simpler, if you can explain why your strategy will work now when thirty years of it have failed, then I'm all ears.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:44 PM on March 3, 2013


Allied health fields are in incredible demand and will continue to be. My wife is an OT and she could find a job anywhere in America in a month. I have a pretty great job and her income dwarfs mine. You can become an OT with a 3/2 bachelors/masters at tons of schools. I'm not aware of a single person who completed her program and is unemployed. These aren't incredible geniuses, just diligent, empathetic people.

There are lots of niche allied health professions that don't get a lot of press and make great careers, it's not just nursing.
posted by Kwine at 12:33 AM on March 4, 2013


I fully expect a six-month unpaid internship to become a requirement for getting every job, not just an entry-level job.

It will be like the usual six-month probation period, just without pay.
posted by tel3path at 3:53 AM on March 4, 2013


I will ignore the fact that you're implying that I'm a liar

Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:02 AM on March 4, 2013


Or, even simpler, if you can explain why your strategy will work now when thirty years of it have failed, then I'm all ears.

First-past-the-post leads to vote-splitting. This is a fact. Siphoning support away from the Moderately Bad Party just makes it more likely that the Really Bad Party will get elected, and the Good Party will wonder what the hell happened, because they don't understand that they never had a chance under FPTP to begin with.

Since there are multiple rounds of voting, the soundest strategy is to make sure that one of the viable candidates in the last round is yours, even if he has to run under the Moderately Bad banner.

If you need real-world proof of this, just look at Canada's federal election two years ago. The Conservatives got 53% of the seats by getting just shy of 40% of the vote, while the center-left and further-left parties combined for 48% of the vote. The Bloc Québécois got 6% of the vote nationally and won only four of 308 seats. (Within Quebec, they got 23% of the vote and still only came away with four of 75 seats.) It wouldn't surprise me if we get even more proof when Ontario heads to the polls, as Not the Tories could win by 10+ percentage points, and the Tories still have a decent shot at forming the government.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Allied health fields are in incredible demand and will continue to be. My wife is an OT and she could find a job anywhere in America in a month.

OK, now imagine that public spending on healthcare decreases or there is some sort of financial crisis in the private insurance market. What then? I reiterate my comment about building construction: it was in incredible demand too.
posted by Nomyte at 9:32 AM on March 4, 2013


There isn't much chance the market for health care providers will decline until the baby boomers start dying. We provide health care services more efficiently and inexpensively today than in the past, so reducing spending reduces treatment.

Insurance companies and health care billing have seemingly soaked up some major fraction of the increase in federal spending since the 70s. I'd guesstimate about one third based upon the assumption that health care costs should increase slower than social security costs. We could therefore imagine slashing federal spending several percentage points by bypassing the insurance companies completely without negatively impacting services. Insurance and billing jobs therefore sound more precarious.

posted by jeffburdges at 10:18 AM on March 4, 2013


As long as we have a government that believes that pursuing companies who are profiteering off desperate young people is very much less important than hounding activists like Aaron Swartz, this situation will not be rectified.

Speaking of Swartz:

Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation: A reluctant witness's account of a Federal prosecution.
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]



Well, all those poor darlings featured in the piece could have moved to North Dakota and made real money




Ughhh. I went tens of thousands into college debt to ESCAPE North Dakota and every penny was worth it.
posted by Windigo at 11:18 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


ESCAPE North Dakota

Ever been to Leeds? Sure seems to be a place to leave.

Meanwhile
Lawyer's Student Loans May Have Driven Him To Murder, Police Say

posted by rough ashlar at 2:39 PM on March 5, 2013


Part of me wonders what would happen if we had internship-specific whistle-blower laws. Yes, industry would try to kill it, but what if the sheer number of reported cases + sheer amount of revenue such fines would sweeten the pot?

Again, we HAVE the laws: just need enforcement.
posted by smirkette at 8:09 PM on March 6, 2013


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