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.

Mayfair intern

I came across your website since having some serious issues at my current work place. It helps to let it out!

After graduating in July 2008, I had already prepared some work experience for the end of the month in a very prestigious and independent shop in the heart of Mayfair (family connections).

The first month flew by as I put all my effort into being delightful and eager, with the chance that my hard-work could land myself a job. I managed to part-succeed, gaining a great relationship with my two bosses. So much so, they wanted me their full time.

As time went on, my honeymoon with London started to take its toll and after 3 months of unpaid work I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. The money issue also became a big problem. My parents were funding me to live with the hope of great things and it took all my courage to ask for a little bit of help from my boss’s. It was November at this point and my parents were struggling. I asked whether I could have a little bit of money for travel expenses or to work three days a week to try and get a paid part-time job.

Continue reading ‘Mayfair intern’

The Sincere Qualms of a Middle-Class Graduate

An unemployed graduate is writing about their struggles to get paid employment over at this blog. Sound familiar?

So this week has been an awfully busy week considering my severe lack of paid work. Having completed my time at the charity last week I was left with nothing to do. However, with the optimistic idea that ‘experience on the cv will lead to a job’ in my mind I decided to hunt for something to do. I have recently decided that PR isn’t fulfilling me enough…by this I mean it is not fully-filling my wallet…in fact traveling to my many unpaid work placements is actually emptying it.

People who pay for internships are lazy

Regarding the current BBC news article ‘Intern fees: ‘salt in the wound”, I would like to express my views on the positivity of such internships. I am a graduate currently in a very successful internship that I found through the Government’s Graduate Talent Pool.

Having graduated in 2008, I took a gap year to travel the world. On my return this summer I had intended to start my career, ideally in the Public Relations industry. However, due to the current economic climate I found jobs hard to come by and those that I did apply for required vital industry experience. I used the government’s Graduate Talent Pool to find a suitable internship to suit both my needs and those of my employer. I am currently working on a temporary 3 month contract as a PR and Marketing Coordinator for a very small business. Most notably however, I am being paid. Although it may only be the minimum wage, it is priceless experience for a graduate in this ever-increasing competitive environment. I am gaining the skills, training, insight and routine of the industry while my employer gains a willing and keen staff member at a small cost. This ‘on-the-job’ experience has already proved to be advantage as I have since been successfully called for interviews, at which I have been able to communicate my active current role and enthusiasm, all of which I gained from the internship. If you look hard enough and are determined, there are internships that will value graduates.

And to those who pay agencies to look over their CVs and train them for interviews for extortionate fees, surely it shows little initiative, laziness and stupidity. What employer would want to employ them anyway?

Even prostitutes get paid…

I’ve been working as an “intern”, (or if you prefer, substitute the usual ‘unpaid, unappreciated, exploited office helot without whom the entire company would implode’) in a business organisation  for the past 3 months. Technically, I should be getting some specific experience and in fairness I have been, for a given value of ‘some’. The trouble is all the other stuff I’ve been asked to do. Like organise and book my boss’s holiday, book restaurants for his friends, find tickets for shows, go to the supermarket, squeeze fruit into juice for 5 hours for a cocktail party etc etc. My boss once made me go to the cash machine, and honestly I have never been so tempted to commit a crime in my life.

The most recent outrage He Who Must Not Be Named has perpetrated was to ask me to track down a certain kind of foodstuff as a gift for some friends: and this item, believe you me, is rare as hen’s teeth. Probably rarer. So I call up Harrods, Harvey Nicks, Selfridges, all the major supermarkets and some of the minor ones too. No go. Then I trawl through the internet. No luck, except a cash and carry who demand you buy 100 of them. For a moment I’m tempted to do so, just to see his face as 100 of the dratted things are unloaded into my his hallway. Most people by this stage would give up, but my boss is made of sterner stuff; that sort of attitude did not win us the Empire. No lily-livered surrender for them. He Who Must Not Be Named resembles an angry deity, propitiated only by the sacrificial sweat of their workforce. Boss decides that the thing to do is to ring up the factory where it’s made –in China.  He reasons that everybody speaks English these days so they must have someone who can help. With some scepticism I call them, and sure enough the person on the other end of the line has no idea what I’m saying and eventually I thank them for their time (in English, since my school didn’t stretch to Mandarin) and hang up. I’m told to send an email, which I duly do. This saga has started to haunt my waking and sleeping: I’m so irrationally stressed about it that I’m almost weeping in frustration. This is compounded by being sent texts about it at 9pm on a Sunday evening, for example.

I have a Master’s degree from Durham and this is what I’m reduced to. Like an idiot, or a masochist, I take it, partly because I’ve been brought up to be helpful and partly because I’m so desperate for a job now that I’d probably Morris dance naked on the House of Commons roof if it meant someone would offer me one. I’m terrified that any refusal will lead to a terrible reference, so my boss can dangle the prospect of a permanent position at the end of this stint (which, incidentally, has no official end date, so I could be working for free forever or until I find another job), ensuring that I never refuse to do anything, no matter how absurd or mundane. In the meantime I am effectively paying, since I have to pay for my own travel expenses, to have my dignity and self-respect peeled away, layer by layer, as though flayed alive. Even prostitutes get paid for their services; interns have to pay their punters. And meanwhile employers still want their pound of graduate flesh, and we still give it to them.

I want a cocktail

I want a cocktail

The Diary of a PR Intern: Play the Game

I have just completed a lengthy (6 months +) internship at a well-known PR agency in London, and have come to the conclusion that Interns are a commodity – to be bought at the lowest possible price, and if not sold on, then discarded when the need for them wanes.

This may sound very cynical, but this should be an indication of how my period as an Intern has affected me! I busted a gut for a company I believed would be likely to take me on permanently after a period of about 3 months, but this never came to fruition, and I am now back on the job (or cattle) market.

Continue reading ‘The Diary of a PR Intern: Play the Game’


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.

Disclaimer

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 126 other followers


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 126 other followers

%d bloggers like this: