At a time when employers have only recently discovered that offering unpaid internships is bordering on the immoral – we ask; are there times when doing things for free – actually work?
The surprising answer is – actually yes it might. But there have to be clear reasons and clear benefits that you can touch and feel. So, – having started at the end of this piece, let’s go back to the beginning.
The timing of this article is set to coincide with the new wave of young hopefuls who graduate from our universities every year, and who are unprepared for life’s work experience. It’s not to say they themselves have not been working. But this time, we are talking about earning a living. Its a different sort of work, less idealistic, more practical, and it can be where we get our first dose of cynical reality.
This is the launchpad of this article. The lack of experience on the part of our young people leaves them open to accepting “work” that is neither paid nor even useful, and can be seriously demotivating. But it does not have to be like that, and as said above, there are options that make doing things “for free” do work out. So the question is; how do you know?
We have set out a GuideLine that sets out the options, and there are basically three choices:
1. Working as unpaid internment. Absolutely never, on any account, accept this sort of nonsense. The key thing to remember in Life is that you have a value, and not just a spiritual value. Your “employer” is making use of your services, and they are a business, not a charity. Likewise, so are you. Your value is what people are prepared to pay in real money. Disregard, and walk away, from any company that gives the bullshit of “good experience”, “working with your peers”, and so on. We have found at every stage in our business and corporate relationsships, that if a company wants you, they will put money on the table. Please be arrogant, you are worth it.
2. Minimum salary first placement. Yes this can work, as long as you can actually afford to live. This is where both parties accept they are taking a risk – yours is you don’t know if your skills fit the work; and in essence the same for the employer. If the salary means you cannot afford to even rent a place, anywhere – then think again. But on the flip side – be realistic; living with Mum and Dad is not so bad, as a short term solution if it gets you on the ladder of your chosen career or enables you to decide you never wanted that career in the first place. 90% of all graduates quit their first job within the first year of work.
3. Make a clear choice that doing work for nothing for someone – can get you somewhere you want to be, – let’s say industry recognition, or even the dreaded “experience”. But absolutely make sure that this option costs you no money whatsoever. Feel free to give your time, as your investment in the process. Just be clear – you are making an Investment, and there has to be a Return on that Investment.
We at ProfoMedia every now and then write articles to support companies we believe in, for free, because we too gain from a greater good.
But let’s get back to reality. As a rule of thumb, never forget that you and your work are worth something, and that “something” is what pays your food bill every month.