Jobs aren’t necessarily easy to find these days. Sure, if you’re looking to break into a booming industry, there may be plenty of entry-level positions to be filled. One of the best ways to improve your chances of getting a job is through internships.
Previously, many interns fought tooth-and-nail to get the experience and prestige that comes with high-stakes corporate internships. If you haven’t seen”The Pursuit of Happyness” I suggest you see it; it’s a great movie, but also offers a good example of the vicious competition that comes with high-level, high-stakes internships. These unpaid experiences may be valuable, but to the companies hosting them, they’re becoming risky.
The Department of Labor is cracking down, according to Inc.‘s online magazine. Come to find out, the majority of these unpaid internships are actually illegal. There are laws in place to maintain a minimum wage for anyone, and the most of these unpaid internship positions directly conflict with those laws.
For years, companies have been feasting upon the necessity for one-of-a-kind experiences. They found that the youthful thirst of prospective interns outweighed the need for income. That era seems to be coming to an end. More and more, these young interns are wising up about the law. Lawsuits, both personal and public, have become fairly standard following or during unpaid internships.
Some unpaid positions are, in fact, legally unpaid. That’s a rarity, though. So, as you and I head out to start our careers, we need to be skeptical. We need to understand our rights as employees, interns, and working citizens. Some short-term internships are worth not being paid; however, be sure you defend your rights.