Young, rich and working for free…


The following isn’t a direct account of my own experience, it’s that of a friend’s. I keep reading about “people with affluent parents” or “people who can afford unpaid internships”, but here is an example of that in practice.

I myself have done a handful of short unpaid internships, but luckily they were only a few hours a week so I managed to stay on the dole/in a job at the same time, and the organisations really needed the help – they weren’t for profit and did a lot for the local community. I would recommend the odd 2 week internship to those who can manage it, but the fact that I am in a good job right now is partly down to my adamant decision to never consider long term unpaid internships, whether or not I could somehow save up the money to do it. I’ve been extremely fortunate, but I was determined to hold out for a decent paid job.

My account is a clear example of how the unpaid internship culture of this country is working. An acquaintance of mine – who I met through a paid internship – has long complained to me of her boyfriend’s laziness and unwillingness to find a calling in life. When we interned together, she would tell me about how he barely scraped through his degree, as he was uninterested in the subject, and was being propped up in a house that had been bought for him by his wealthy parents. After graduating, and not necessarily wanting to enter the world of work yet, he went straight into a History Masters (presumably paid for by said wealthy parents). She told me about how he nearly failed a lot of his modules and had to resit, taking 2 years to complete the degree. At this point I didn’t want to make any judgements, some of my most intelligent and hard working friends and relatives had been through similar issues at university, however, I didn’t exactly expect the following to happen to this guy.

My friend often talked to me about how she debated whether or not to even stay with her boyfriend on the basis of him not wanting to get a job, or have any interest in a career at all. Fast forward a few months, and his ‘contacts’ have found him an unpaid internship with his local MP (his first job ever). It turns out that the job is going to be based at Westminster, and it’s unpaid. Here’s the point where most people would start looking for something else, because living and working in London for 4 months unpaid is well out of most peoples’ reach, regardless of how great an opportunity it might be. Fortunately this young man has wealthy loving parents to support him. This doesn’t seem too shocking, except for the fact that my friend keeps bragging about his £600 per week flat by the river. In Westminster. Almost every other day they update their Facebook profiles with pictures of them enjoying meals out and drinks after work. Those are the kind of treats that unpaid interns should be able to reward themselves with, right?

I don’t imagine that this has been anything but the norm for years, but it’s sad that someone who really didn’t have to work hard, or show any interest in politics at all, is on the fast track into Parliament, when I also know of really hard working individuals with years of experience, still struggling at the very bottom of the politics ladder.

Something’s wrong here, isn’t it?


About these ads

8 Responses to “Young, rich and working for free…”

  1. 1 emily bonin 11/03/2011 at 10:26 pm

    are there any hardworking, privileged AND deserving people in the world, or is that just too complex a concept for your primitive morality to handle?

    • 2 internsanonymous 11/04/2011 at 10:35 am

      Hi emily, you’re very welcome to write a longer response to have as a post- just email it in if you like.

      • 3 emily 11/10/2011 at 6:03 pm

        Hi Rosie,

        I have written a column about that, under my full married name, emily sands-bonin for the guardian in the comment is free section! I’ve been representin’ …. on as global a scale as i can manage.

        I just don’t feel that “disappointment” or “hard work” are exclusive to the “non-priviledged.”

        (I think it’s good to rememeber that Churchill was anything but working class and Hitler was a private in the German Army in WWI.)



    • 4 Dwelia 07/06/2013 at 9:07 pm

      Ah, Emily Sands-Bolin. You are as smart as ever :).

  2. 5 Hafsa Imran 01/05/2012 at 6:25 pm

    Hello Rosie. I’m assuming you are the writer of this blog ? Could I possibly use some quotes of yours to add in my journalism feature about unpaid internships ? If you give me persmission could I get your full name as well ? I really liked your article.

    • 6 Samirah 02/06/2012 at 3:54 pm

      On Feb. 10th, an ailrcte by Patricia Best in the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business incorrectly reported that Metro “will be using non-paid interns” to replace former Metro writers who lost their jobs in layoffs last week. This isn’t true, and the Globe printed a correction on Feb. 11th. The correction read: “Metro newspaper in Toronto is not replacing laid-off writers with interns. The newspaper’s internship program was not altered as a result of recent layoffs in the editorial department. A column published yesterday may have suggested otherwise.” Metro’s ongoing internship program is – and has always been – designed to mentor students and help them gain newsroom experience to graduate from journalism schools across the country.Dianne Rinehart, editor-in-chief, Metro English Canada

  3. 7 lisa 01/30/2012 at 6:58 am

    it is annoying to see those who dont work hard,cheat,lie,steal or know someone and gets to succeed. While your working your ass off and not … I haven’t came to terms with how truly life is unfair…

  4. 8 emily 01/30/2012 at 11:14 am

    Dear Lisa,

    Is it because you can’t spell or express yourself coherently? Indeed an insurmountable, yet not unjust, impediment to success.

    Best regards,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

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.


Interns Anonymous accept no responsibility for the contents of the blog, comments or any other content on this site that is posted or provided by third parties. This website is designed to act as a forum for interns to share experiences and opinions about their work, therefore, we will not censor opinions we do not agree with. The opinions stated in blog contributions do not represent those of Interns Anonymous. We disclaim all liability for such content to the fullest extent permitted by law. If you have any queries please email us.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 136 other followers


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers

%d bloggers like this: