I'll Never Take An Unpaid Internship, And Neither Should You

I'll Never Take An Unpaid Internship, And You Shouldn't Either

Any work worth doing is worth getting paid for.


It's almost summer, the semester's winding down but you've been spending the majority of your free time not dedicated to studying shooting off resume after resume and scrounging every job board and company website you can think of. Hour after hour spent searching and you finally find it: an internship in your field, in your city for the summer but there it is. The one word that strikes dread into the heart of every hopeful intern: unpaid.

I'm fairly certain that every college-aged student has experienced this scenario at least once if they've ever had to search for an internship. I know personally, I went through this exact same cycle countless amounts of times over the past three years. It's grueling, time-consuming and can leave anyone feeling downtrodden when it's all said and done. That being said, I cannot imagine

Any work that's worth doing is worth getting paid for. Internships that use "gaining experience" as a selling point is akin to trying to convince a musician or artist to do their services for free in exchange for "exposure". Experience doesn't pay the bills, it won't cover for groceries and it certainly doesn't help toward saving money to pay off student loans.

The logic behind an unpaid internship is so one-sided it's nauseating to think about. You go to a company, serve whatever function they need you to and at the end of it all you have the hope or promise that they might extend an offer for a full-time position. Sure, you're actually poorer than you were before you started the position and chances are you'll be exploited as cheap, expendable labor because it costs literally nothing to have you there, but at least you'll have some sweet experience to put on your resume.

Unpaid internships are also inherently elitist and put up barriers to entry for students who don't have someone to help financially while they basically work a job for free. The problem is exaggerated when students have to travel to other states for these internships and are required to pay for food, rent, and travel on their own. We have to ask ourselves who has the means to access these unpaid internships, especially if they're at prestigious companies, and why students are being walled off even if they meet or exceed the position's requirements.

The most frustrating part of this whole situation is that nearly every aspect of the American economy has grown except wages. No one can deny that we are officially in an economic boom, but for many Americans, it still feels like it's hard to make ends meet. 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. of American workers live paycheck to paycheck, and that level of financial insecurity is downright criminal. Along those same lines, in America today the average CEO from a Fortune 500 company's salary is 361 times higher than that of the average worker in the company. For context, that number was only 20 times higher in the 1950s. If your company cannot afford to pay your interns yet you still require their labor, maybe it's time to rethink the structure and financials of your business.

The bottom line is unpaid internships are extremely exploitive and at times elitist. Your time, your effort and your skills are always worth something and it's time that we make it clear that this practice should no longer be allowed to exist in a modern economy.

Popular Right Now

10 Reasons Why I Want To Be a Nurse

"Our job is to love people. When it hurts. When it's awkward. When it's uncool and embarrassing. Our job is to stand together, to carry the burdens of one another and to meet each other in our questions." — Jamie Tworkowski


I truly believe that nursing is one of the greatest professions on this earth. It is demanding, but very rewarding. I haven't started my nursing career yet, but I am in college pursuing a nursing degree. Often I get the question "Why do you want to be a nurse?" And sometimes, when I have 40 assignments and five chapters to read in one day I also question my decision to become a nurse.

Here are 10 reasons why I'm choosing to stick it out and become a nurse:

1. You get to help others in many different ways.

Basically, your job is to serve others. It takes special people to be able to do this well. I love getting to help other people and show them Christ's love, whether that be consoling them when a loved one passed or helping them get better when they are sick.

2. Every day will be different.

You will have many different patients and tasks. Needless to say, no day will be boring.

3. You get to wear scrubs to work.

Come on, who doesn't want to wear scrubs every day? They are super comfortable, cute, and professional. You don't usually find those three aspects in one outfit.

4. You have a very wide range of career paths.

You could be an ER nurse, neonatal nurse, geriatric nurse, oncology nurse, and the list goes on and on...

5. There will always be a need for nurses and the pay is pretty good.

Job stability is always a plus in career paths. Depending on your path, you could also make a lot of money.

6. The human body is amazing and I love learning about it.

The human body and its processes have always been intriguing and interesting to me. With a nursing job, you never stop learning about it.

7. One day when I'm out in public and something terrible happens or someone has a medical issue, I can say "I'm a nurse!" and help out.

I've seen this happen many times and so badly I wanted to be the nurse in the room and be able to save the day.

8. You get to make a difference.

Being nice and caring for someone who doesn't get that kind of treatment just might change their life.

SEE ALSO: To The Defeated Nursing Major, You'll Rise

9. You get to work with all kinds of cool medical equipment.

Every future nurse loves medical equipment and can't wait to use it all the time. We're nerdy and that's a good thing because our nerdiness will save lives one day.

10. You have one of the best jobs in the world.

Getting to help people while having fun and wearing cute scrubs sounds pretty great to me.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To Be Honest, Business Attire Is Almost Never Necessary, And It Shouldn't Be Required For Everyone

No matter how you spin it, all of the reasons to wear business clothes to work are for the sake of appearances. Isn't it time to move past such a superficial matter and just let us wear what we want?


When I express my contempt for wearing business clothes, I am often met with disagreement. People have told me that they quite like wearing button downs and slacks and lookin' dapper every day. To that, I say, "Great!" If you like business clothes, by all means, go ahead and wear what you want. But don't force such an antiquated work norm on me and everyone, regardless of whether we like it.

We're starting to see a lot of trendy startups abandon a handful of norms such as business attire, but most existing companies are still in the past when it comes to clothing. That is, many office spaces generally mandate business attire ranging from casual to formal (with intermittent exceptions like Halloween or Casual Friday). I find this custom both irritating and superfluous.

Of course, reasonable dress codes are highly important. I'm not saying we should just let people come to work in offensive clothing or obviously inappropriate outfits. There's a huge middle ground between that and traditional work clothes. I'm saying that it's unfortunate that many workers are prohibited from wearing what they would normally wear on a daily basis. For example, why are simple sneakers and tee shirts looked down upon in the office?

What I want to know is, does it really matter what we wear when we work?

I would argue that any mature person would be able to perform their job tasks regardless of their clothing. Yet, we are led to believe that business attire is important because it reminds employees that they are in a formal setting, establishing a sense of professionalism in the workplace. We're told that wearing different clothes to work helps distinguish professional matters from personal ones. I'm sorry, but I thought adults had the ability to know how to act in different environments without having to look down and see what type of pants they're wearing.

You may be wondering why I so strongly dislike business attire in the first place. There are several reasons. Business clothes can be expensive. They can be extremely uncomfortable and therefore distracting at work. Business clothes can require time-consuming maintenance, like dry cleaning and constant ironing. Lastly, they can be immensely impractical. Do you know how hard it is to find women's trousers or slacks with usable pockets? Or reasonably-priced "work shoes" that are both stylish and comfortable?

But the issue goes beyond the clothes themselves. It's the fact that we simply ignore the rule "don't judge a book by its cover" when it comes to professionals. It's the fact that it's not enough to simply judge a worker by the quality of their work.

It's the fact that, in a place where productivity is the main goal, formality is prioritized over comfort.

If the whole idea of business attire was suddenly abolished, would work performance and productivity drastically drop? Uh, no. You cannot argue that the reasons for business attire are not fundamentally superficial. And if there are people like me, who would much prefer to just wear my regular, comfortable (and unoffensive) clothes and shoes to work, then I think it's time we reevaluate the need for business attire in the modern workplace.

Related Content

Facebook Comments