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Welcome to Interns Anonymous

We want this website to be a forum for interns to share their experiences and discuss the ethics of unpaid employment. Most importantly, we want this site to be a place where YOU can tell us your story...

  • A dangerous figure!

    Imagine all of the potential and anger of the UK young unemployed was channelled into a single powerful and dangerous figure. What would you ask it? What would it tell you?

    This project enables that interaction with an online platform and installation at Somerset House. People under the age of 30 who are not in paid employment will enter their details into a facebook app and upload an image of their face. This information will be merged to form the archetypal unemployed young person, and will result in a sculptural installation in Somerset House. The non young unemployed general public are also invited to add questions to the database. The statue will then tour the UK in user-selected locations.

    The more participants the figure has, the more powerful and representatives the figure becomes.

  • Sneaky unpaid work trial

    I applied for a 'creative content trainee' position with -name removed for legal reasons- after finishing my degree. -name removed for legal reasons- are one of the world's 'leading' media agencies and are owned by a very large company. I had two interviews – at which we discussed my experience (of which I had little, only university projects) and my creative ideas for two clients they had at the time (how to help them with SEO/ drive traffic to the website). After passing these interviews I was invited to do a three day trial at the office. During these three days I worked 9-5, barely allowed myself a lunch break, and worked my butt off to find a lot of blogs they hadn't already found, which they could use to host guest posts. I negotiated with bloggers, worked on the project in the evenings at home and contributed a much needed alternative and fresh perspective on the project at hand. When the three days finished I was shown the door and contacted a week later to say I was 'not experienced enough'.

    OK let me dig into this.

    As a poor graduate with no income, three weeks rent for the whole assessment (from interview to final decision) is a bit of an inconvenience. They knew exactly how much experience I had, as we had discussed this in not one, but TWO interviews. The very fact that they advertised the role as trainee led me to believe that little experience was required in the first place. The most annoying part of this was that they had dragged the experience out, set me up to believe I was seriously being considered for the role, took all the work I had put in for them and said cheerio without paying me. I was so furious that they had blatantly used me that I replied to the head manager to ask why they had wasted my time and money, and could they please pay me for the three days I worked. I got no response.

    Aside from this I found some of their practices dodgy. For example, I was asked to create a fake alias and gmail address with which to contact bloggers and websites. I expected to use a company email address or at least, I assumed the permanent staff in the team would. I was shocked to find they all had fake names, twitter and gmail accounts. Not very ethical for such a large company?

    I am certain they did this to a number of graduates as the post was advertised on their website for about 4 months. Getting unsuspecting and naive grads to undertake a three day work trial appears to be a little loophole they took advantage of – saving costs, and stealing fresh ideas they couldn't think of themselves.

    This was only three days, but I wanted to flag this company for the attention of other graduates thinking of applying to any vacancies. Don't waste your time and energy!

  • At an unpaid internship at a designer label

    I was...

    >> forced to work over 8 hours a day – sometimes over 10 hours a day (they made me sign a contract in which I had to agree with this)

    >> given no payment, no meals, no accommodation, no transport money

    >> forced to be available to work on public holidays and week-ends

    >> given hard physical, mindless or non-educational work(such as tidying-up)

    >> not given proper training

    >> advised by the supervisor not to ask any questions related to their work as it disturbs them and makes me too nosey

    >> not (in the least) to expect a job offer

    >> to treat my employer with great kindness and gratitude

    >> not even thanked for my work after working at least 480 hours for a profit making company

    >> sent on dozens of errands lasting almost all day – even when it was pouring with rain at 10 degrees – with two 20kg heavy suitcases to pull

    >> given a letter of recommendation that did not mention the tasks that I HAVE done, but those that I have NOT done(the tasks that were not offered to me in the first place)

    >> given a letter of recommendation that makes it look like I have refused to do tasks given to me(which is not the case, since they were just not given to me) and underlines knowledge that I lack, rather that my skills and capabilities

    >> after spending hard labour and at least over 1,200 (money for accommodation, transport and food) on this 3 month internship, giving the company valuable material to make profit on, I was given nothing to help further my career

    Generally at this company:

    >> when sick, interns still come to work and take painkillers as not to attract attention

    >> many interns keep quiet about bad treatment and many hours of no sleep as not to ruin their career

    >> the interns have no one to legally support them when they are not even given a decent letter of recommendation

    The small UK company is a high fashion label of the fashion industry that "employs" about 15 interns per year. Its owner has only one permanent employee.

    This is not only about no wages, but about bad immoral treatment, modern day slavery. I was treated with no respect and it made me feel worthless, even though I know they have gained so much from the work I have done for them. Is this humane? Is this legal?

    We need to put an end to this! Please monitor internships and set-up a representative that fights for or rights and black lists such companies!

    Also graduates suffer – they don't find any paid jobs because of all the free labour…

    To whoever sent this email in – do get in touch (as anonymously as you like) as we'd like to help you out

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