Archive for the 'PR' Category

The Tragic Case of the Perrenial Intern

In 2009 I graduated in Philosophy from a ‘red brick’ university. In hindsight I can concede that throughout my education my attitudes towards finding work were naive and ill informed. Like many young people I made the decision to study my subject of choice aged 17-18. As we know the economy was then in a rather healthier state, meaning that for a number of years graduates from good universities in all subjects had encountered less trouble finding employment. Consequently the advice I received from school and home was to either choose a subject which would lead directly to a career I was keen to pursue, or if I did not yet have a particular career in mind, to study a subject I had enjoyed at school. I chose the latter – accepting the prevailing “any degree is a good degree” philosophy.

Upon graduating I immediately began teaching English as a second language at a school in my home city of Manchester. I knew this was not a long term solution and began to look into a career in the media. I stopped teaching and began writing to local newspapers eventually securing a two week internship with a regional magazine near my home. This was my first taste of working as an unpaid intern and it was not especially interesting. The editor rarely gave me any work to do so I spent most of my time staring at a computer screen, browsing the Internet. It was not entirely useless and I could have perhaps been more proactive, however I sensed a mutual understanding that I was to stay out of the way as far as possible.

After failing to secure any more journalism experience in Manchester I eventually got another two week internship for a small charity working as a ‘social media intern.’ Once again I quickly understood my role and kept out of the way. This was my least productive experience in terms of skills gained – the tasks I was given were so pointless and mundane that I didn’t feel I learned anything. By this point I was beginning to feel demoralised.

Some time later I got the opportunity to intern as a Media Assistant for a national campaign. I worked closely with the regional coordinator and felt the experience was positive. I gained real skills including pitching to the media, writing press releases, communicating with MPs and I was paid a daily stipend of £10 on top of expenses. The internship lasted 3 months and by the end I felt more confident about securing paid work. However this proved difficult and I soon began to feel that I had exhausted most of my opportunities in Manchester.

Up until this point I had been living with my parents and I was fortunate that they were willing to support me financially when a month later I secured another three month internship with a PR firm in London. I fully expected this to be my last – in part because the firm had assured me there was a high probability that I would be offered a job at the end of the period. The interview had been ridiculously and unnecessarily gruelling so I was surprised to discover I was merely the latest addition to a team of four graduates in a press office run almost exclusively on intern power. Unfortunately, the office was lead by a most patronising and disagreeable woman who was of a similar age to the rest of us and appeared to delight in making us feel worthless and subordinate.

In one sense the experience was positive as I gained important media and public relations experience, yet much of it was self taught and I was offered little training or support. Naturally all the interns felt a little exploited when, one by one, we were told the firm could not afford to take us on when our respective three month periods expired. Evidently they had never intended to offer us proper employment, a fact which did not hit me as hard as one of the other interns who had left a good job for the opportunity of a career break in communications. To date this is my first and only experience of blatant and unadulterated dishonesty. I made a personal pledge not to apply for any more internships so as to avoid becoming yet another tragic case of the perennial intern.

Since then three months have passed and I have been unable to secure a job despite attending several interviews. At the time of writing I am about to embark on yet another internship. Nevertheless I am positive about the future. I feel liberated from my previously unrealistic career expectations and have undoubtedly learned a lot in the past year and a half. It is not that I no longer retain the same ambitions as before rather that now I realise how hard I will have to work to realise them, and how much time it will take.

My experience as an intern has been mixed. I have gained some good skills and like most I have had some unpleasant experiences. However I think it would be unfair and ungrateful of me to express bitterness – though I have in the past. Pursuing a career you like is not easy and nor should it be. There is a sense in which many graduates had unrealistic hopes about the ease with which they would walk into the career of their dreams. These were largely fuelled by the advice of previous generations who had lived and worked through happier times. The recession took many by surprise but we should remember that the healthy state of the economy which preceded it was abnormal, as was the ease with which middle class graduates, particularly in the arts, secured employment. I think that those campaigning for the rights of interns are fighting a noble cause – the system is in many ways profoundly unjust. I also think that interns (myself included) should refrain from expressing the sort of bitterness which could be and is often interpreted as privileged whining (‘I didn’t complete my degree to make coffee!’) – not least because it is counter productive to the wider cause, that of improving social mobility.

UNICEF – protecting children’s rights, but what about worker’s rights?

This job has come up on the Guardian website to work for UNICEF as a “media relations volunteer”. Working 6 months doing admin for their comms department. The ad is the typical rubbish passing for an ‘internship’ these days.

You will provide support by carrying out general administrative duties and communication tasks which are key to the running of the team

Basically an entry level job which they can’t be bothered to pay for. But this is the line of the advert which really takes the piss.

We only accept online applications as this saves us money, making more funds available for us to help ensure childrens rights. CVs will not be accepted.

Unbelievable. You are telling people not to apply in writing because you are saving money for the fucking children. What about paying your fucking staff!

You can complain on the number and email address below. An intern will probably answer the phone.

For press and media enquiries:
UNICEF UK Media Relations team
Tel: 0207 336 8922
Email: media@unicef.org.uk

Interning – It’s all worth it in the long run!

There are many misconceptions when it comes to internships, your only there to get the coffee, photocopy and lick stamps – Guess I have been lucky when it came to interning because after working for four different companies for free I have never come across this.

Continue reading ‘Interning – It’s all worth it in the long run!’

An internship, what is it?

We have been pointed in the direction of a blog by a guy called Martyn Rosney, who hits the nail on the head describing PR internships.

Recently having finished the taught part of my post graduate course I am now in that limbo between the taught section and the thesis submission deadline of my Masters. I was “lucky” enough to secure an “internship”. I was asked to do it for three months with the possibility of a job at the end of it. The remuneration would not even cover the cost of the Luas back and forth from the job. I would learn invaluable skills and get hands on experience. This was not the crux of the internship offer though. I was assured that this three month trial period was not just to see if I was suited to the organisation but more importantly if the organisation was suited to me. What type of industry are we in that a company will offer someone the opportunity to work pro gratis to see if the organisation is suited to the individual. Can you imagine if McDonalds applied this formula? “Well done you are now a member of the McDonalds team but first we would like you to work for free for three months just to make sure that the organisation is suited to you?”

Read the rest.

Sick of this SHIT

First of all I would like to say this website is great….for a not so great situation… well I have resorted to lying on my CV because I don’t understand how in order to be accepted on a internship I have to have ‘6 months experience’ when no one is giving me any experience. Don’t get me wrong I do have some experience but I’m in a catch 22 situation because I REFUSE to do any more unpaid work experience. I am a 22 year old woman who has graduated from University not a 16 year old who has no idea of what it’s like to work in an office.

I am looking for EVERYTHING but still can’t get anywhere. When you get rejected for a Sales Assistant job in Boots you know times are hard. I have been to job courses, had my CV checked over a million times, but still getting pipped to the post…

However, I am really pissed off with one PR agency (time for a career in social work you say..?) basically I had an interview with the head of the department I was applying for and with another manager of some sort and after the interview I asked: “when will I be told of the outcome of the interview”. They said “within a week”… um it’s now been about a month. Within that time I phoned one of them who was conveniently ‘in a meeting’ and even spoke to a HR manager and was told they would get back to me so basically they are fobbing me off. I refuse to let this go because this is not the first time this has happened to me and I think it is highly RUDE the way I’ve been treated.

Regardless the search still continues but I think I’m through with this…need a career change ASAP! (i.e. where the money is at) I feel like University is one big rip off… we have all been conned… They are stooping us to unthinkable measures (i.e. Vicky Harrisson) Something needs to change……
I don’t even know what to do because I’m living with my mum rent free and I feel awful because I know she is struggling and feel like I should be doing something to help but no one wants to give me a job… I even tried to sign up with an agency (by the way I am signed up to 5 in which no one gives a shit) which was for admin work… they told me flatly I need 6 months experience to a years experience. I don’t understand because admin work can be done with your eyes closed…not exactly brain surgery….but I just don’t know anymore….I’m surprised I am not a crack addict/alcoholic yet…..it has been too long now… *sigh*

PR lets the side down again

Hello,

I thought I’d share some of my experiences with you lot…

Since graduating from a red brick uni in 2009, I have done 3 separate internships, none of which have led me to a job. I was hoping to get into the Art PR world. I am not anymore.

One of the internships was great – I was working on a broadcasting event where I was told to only work hours I could manage around part time work. I was given responsibility and was clearly a valued member of a team. In addition, my travel expenses were repaid and although I was struggling for money, as I had to cut my working hours to part time (I was also working in a call centre) I was still able to pay rent and it was definitely worth it. 

Internship number 2 was very different…

Continue reading ‘PR lets the side down again’

Secret London

Has anyone been invited to join the Facebook Group Secret London? I have, about 12 times. It’s a community for Londoners to share the secrets of the city and has attracted 180,000 members in a couple of weeks.

What’s this got to do with internships? Well, according to the Times, it was part of a great facebook race Saatchi and Saatchi, the ad-agency, created for its potential interns.

Saatchi announced that its 10 unpaid six-week placements would be given to those candidates who successfully jumped through a sequence of ever-higher hoops in a process that has been described as “a cross between Big Brother and The Apprentice”.

The first “challenge” was to create a Facebook group with as many members as possible in less than a month. Online carnage ensued as 800 rival groups sprang up with a variety of names that included innumerable variations on “Let’s help Haiti”.

Tiffany Philippou, who left Bristol University six months ago, was one of them.

Remember, all this is just for an unpaid intern placement. Astounding. Especially when only 4 of the 10 interns chosen are likely to get jobs.


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.

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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.

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