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Unpaid Work, But They Pay For Privilege

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/business...ml?ref=business

With paying jobs so hard to get in this weak market, a lot of college graduates would gladly settle for a nonpaying internship. But even then, they are competing with laid-off employees with far more experience.

So growing numbers of new graduates — or, more often, their parents — are paying thousands of dollars to services that help them land internships.

Call these unpaid internships that you pay for.

“It’s kind of crazy,†said David Gaston, director of the University of Kansas career center. “The demand for internships in the past 5, 10 years has opened up this huge market. At this point, all we can do is teach students to understand that they’re paying and to ask the right questions.â€

Not that the parents are complaining. Andrew Topel’s parents paid $8,000 this year to a service that helped their son, a junior at the University of Tampa, get a summer job as an assistant at Ford Models, a top agency in New York.

“It would’ve been awfully difficult†to get a job like that, said Andrew’s father, Avrim Topel, “without having a friend or knowing somebody with a personal contact.†Andrew completed the eight-week internship in July and was invited to return for another summer or to interview for a job after graduation.

Andrew’s parents used a company called the University of Dreams, the largest and most visible player in an industry that has boomed in recent years as internship experience has become a near-necessity on any competitive entry-level résumé.

The company says it saw a spike in interest this year due to the downturn, as the number of applicants surged above 9,000, 30 percent higher than in 2008. And unlike prior years, the company says, a significant number of its clients were recent graduates, rather than the usual college juniors.

The program advertises a guaranteed internship placement, eight weeks of summer housing, five meals a week, seminars and tours around New York City for $7,999. It has a full-time staff of 45, and says it placed 1,600 student interns in 13 cities around the world this year, charging up to $9,450 for a program in London and as little as $5,499 in Costa Rica.

The money goes to the University of Dreams and the other middlemen like it. Officials at the company say they are able to wrangle hard-to-get internships for their clients because they have developed extensive working relationships with a variety of employers. They also have an aggressive staff who know who to call where. Their network of contacts, they say, is often as crucial as hard work in professional advancement.

“Students don’t have problems finding internships, students have problems getting internships,†Eric Normington, the company’s chief marketing officer, said by telephone from Hong Kong where he was overseeing the local program. “We can secure those exclusive positions.â€

Employers say the middlemen save them time and hassle. “They make the search process a lot easier,†said Sarah Cirkiel, the chief executive of Pitch Control Public Relations, a small New York firm that started four years ago and has taken in 20 summer interns, all from the University of Dreams. “I feel like they hand-select their interns for the specific agencies to make sure it’s the right fit. They just show up at our doorstep, ready to go.â€

But many educators and students argue that the programs bridge one gulf — between those who have degrees from prestigious colleges or family connections and those who do not — only to create a new one, between the students who have parents willing and able to buy their children better job prospects and those who do not.

So once more if you have money you get all the benefits.

Meritocracy at it's finest.

Coming to the UK soon?

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/business...ml?ref=business

So once more if you have money you get all the benefits.

Meritocracy at it's finest.

Coming to the UK soon?

Meritocracy it ain't, though I'm not that negative on the principle of this.

Sure, it's rife for abuse by companies at the bottom end, but for the graduate, a good internship with a good company is a valuable thing to have on your CV, especially if you come away having actually learnt something as well as contributed.

Having spent 3 years and ~£20k on a degree, I would definetely consider topping that up with an extra few months and £3k in cash money to get prestigious and saleable work experience which would put me ahead of 90% of my peers in the same market.

It's a competitive world at there and small edges get you ahead at the start of your career when you have little other experience and distinguishing factors.

Edited by Kyoto

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I wouldn't spend that myself. But then I already have several years experience in the field of work. No idea what the situation will be like come 2012 though...

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It's why everything on TV in banal shit and there are so few good movies - it's only work-for-free trustarfarians who can get their foot in the door.

The same process is now spreading to the most dreary and mundane careers too.

The middle class must wake up to the face that most new jobs growth is at the burger-flipping level and there won't be a s-w-a-n-k-y status job for every pasty-faced sprog with a 2:1.

Edited by CrashedOutAndBurned

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It's why everything on TV in banal shit and there are so few good movies - it's only work-for-free trustarfarians who can get their foot in the door.

No, thats because that is what sells to the dumbed down public, and the producers\studios want to make money after all :P

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Meritocracy it ain't, though I'm not that negative on the principle of this.

Sure, it's rife for abuse by companies at the bottom end, but for the graduate, a good internship with a good company is a valuable thing to have on your CV, especially if you come away having actually learnt something as well as contributed.

Having spent 3 years and ~�20k on a degree, I would definetely consider topping that up with an extra few months and �3k in cash money to get prestigious and saleable work experience which would put me ahead of 90% of my peers in the same market.

It's a competitive world at there and small edges get you ahead at the start of your career when you have little other experience and distinguishing factors.

Sounds like a slippery slope if you ask me. Where will it end? Would you then consider to "pay" to work for another year if too many folk follow your example?

There's getting ahead in life and there's bending over and assuming the position without any lube.

Good luck to you though, I don't mean this as a rant at you.

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable

By 2050, I predict that it will cost £2m to get a £15k a year job. Payable up front.

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Surely these fresh faced graduates, fired up with the hard working american ethos and entrepreneurial spirit

should be starting their own business rather than looking to become a faceless cog in some w4nky corporation.

Edited by Olebrum

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Old black joe's still pickin cotton for your ribbons and bows, that's how it goes. everybody knows.

Except with racial equality today we're all black joe.

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Internships are a way that the children of rich people get the best jobs - simple as that.

Here in the UK for decades the BBC has unofficially endorsed this policy with many people starting off in the Beeb by working for a year or two for nothing. Criminal IMPO.

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Internships are a way that the children of rich people get the best jobs - simple as that.

Here in the UK for decades the BBC has unofficially endorsed this policy with many people starting off in the Beeb by working for a year or two for nothing. Criminal IMPO.

Yep.

By the way, if you went to a public school, you aren't middle class. Just wanted to clear that up.

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By the way, if you went to a public school, you aren't middle class. Just wanted to clear that up.

Not true at all. Heard of scholarships, bursaries?

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Not true at all. Heard of scholarships, bursaries?

Ok, fair point. It isn't impossible to go to public school and be working class, or middle class.

However, I have noticed recently that more and more people are associating middle class with private education, including the link I posted, and I object to that. I had a middle class upbringing with middle class friends, and lived in a middle class area. I didn't know anyone who went to a private school, that was for posh kids.

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Internships are a way that the children of rich people get the best jobs - simple as that.

Here in the UK for decades the BBC has unofficially endorsed this policy with many people starting off in the Beeb by working for a year or two for nothing. Criminal IMPO.

'Twas ever thus. As late as the 1960s there were still a few would-be Chartered Accountants whose fathers paid for their Articleship. And isn't it still the case that it's VERY difficult to succeed as a a barrister without having some sort of private income to tide you over the first few years?

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Ok, fair point. It isn't impossible to go to public school and be working class, or middle class.

However, I have noticed recently that more and more people are associating middle class with private education, including the link I posted, and I object to that. I had a middle class upbringing with middle class friends, and lived in a middle class area. I didn't know anyone who went to a private school, that was for posh kids.

And now your hanging around here with a load of priced out proletarians. What went so wrong!

Edited by Laughing Gnome

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http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/07/20...id-internships/

(pretty funny website btw)

In most of the world when a person works long hours without pay, it is referred to as “slavery†or “forced labor.†For white people this process is referred to as an internship and is considered an essential stage in white development.

The concept of working for little or no money underneath a superior has been around for centuries in the form of apprenticeship programs. Young people eager to learn a trade would spend time working under a master craftsman to learn a skill that would eventually lead to an increase in material wealth.

Using this logic you would assume that the most sought after internships would be in areas that lead to the greatest financial reward. Young White people, however, prefer internships that put them on the path for careers that will generally result in a DECREASE of the material wealth accumulated by their parents.

For example, if you were to present a white 19 year old with the choice of spending the summer earning $15 an hour as a plumber’s apprentice or making $0 answering phones at Production Company, they will always choose the latter. In fact, the only way to get the white person to choose the plumbing option would be to convince them that it was leading towards an end-of-summer pipe art installation.

White people view the internship as their foot into the door to such high-profile low-paying career fields as journalism, film, politics, art, non-profits, and anything associated with a museum. Any white person who takes an internship outside of these industries is either the wrong type of white person or a law student. There are no exceptions.

If all goes according to plan, an internship will end with an offer of a job that pays $24,000 per year and will consist entirely of the same tasks they were recently doing for free. In fact, the transition to full time status results in the addition of only one new responsibility: feeling superior to the new interns.

When all is said and done, the internship process serves the white community in many ways. First, it helps to train the next generation of freelance writers, museum curators, and director’s assistants. But more importantly, internships teach white children how to complain about being poor.

So when a white person tells you about their unpaid internship at the New Yorker, it’s not a good idea to point out how the cost of rent and food will essentially mean that they are PAYING their employer for the right to make photocopies. Instead it’s best to say: “you earned it.†They will not get the joke.

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Old black joe's still pickin cotton for your ribbons and bows, that's how it goes. everybody knows.

Except with racial equality today we're all black joe.

No we are not unless you choose to be. I presume you have your health and you are well read and educated by your use of language. So how about using those assets?

Edited by Greg Bowman

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No we are not unless you choose to be. I presume you have your health and you are well read and educated by your use of language. So how about using those assets?

He does have a point, how many of us are in the top tax bracket for example? ;) You could work hard\pay tax for multiple years, lose your job and get (relatively) **** all in help, compared to the young single mother who's aspiration appears to be letting the state provide for herself and the little nippers indefinitely. Or bogus asylum seekers.

I am considering a more business-friendly country to move to in the future.

Edited by HPC001

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No we are not unless you choose to be. I presume you have your health and you are well read and educated by your use of language. So how about using those assets?

re: Old black joe's still pickin cotton for your ribbons and bows, that's how it goes. everybody knows.

....Leonard Cohen, I think.

I liked the use of the quote, but as you say Greg, No need to be straightjacketed by 'what has always been'./pervceived to be etc. Thats the beauty of poetry, can interpret it much anyway you like ( I prefer the dark side, usually)

Edited by voidal

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He does have a point, how many of us are in the top tax bracket for example? ;) You could work hard\pay tax for multiple years, lose your job and get (relatively) **** all in help, compared to the young single mother who's aspiration appears to be letting the state provide for herself and the little nippers indefinitely. Or bogus asylum seekers.

I am considering a more business-friendly country to move to in the future.

We are extremely business friendly compared to our European neighbours in my experience if you are playing by the rules, if it is out and out cheating the tax system you can do that anywhere and probably better to that in a country you are familiar with to minimise the risk.

What is harsh in this country is the PAYE system and it's lack of help once you lose your job, hence the biggest tax break you can give yourself is to start your own business. The legitmate tax rate for a business owner using all available swings and roundabouts is around 22-25% on earnings as opposed to at the higher rate 40% plus NI. IMHO 25% as far as I am concerned is fair dues to live in a civilised country.

Don't let all the red top newspaper stuff mislead you as Ling said on this site the UK market is still very open to ideas, hard work and enterprise even that fool Brown can't squash that.

A good book on the subject is "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"

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If you want to teach you kids anything - Teach them that they can setup their own business and be their own masters.

+1 My dad was a POW and worked in a factory all his life (not a hard luck story good money in the sixties and seventies)

He told me that when you work for yourself if you earn a penny more than you spend stick at it you are a free man - never forgot it.

only caveat would be work in a big corp, mine were Lucas Industries and IBM first, it is good to see best in action before you set you own thing up from how to write an expense form to basic HR procedures, oh and also do it prior to the age of 30 if you can.

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If you want to teach you kids anything - Teach them that they can setup their own business and be their own masters.

That's not entirely true though is it, unless they can non-dom.

Nothing makes me laugh more on this forum then business owners/entrepreneurs constantly congratulating themselves on setting themselves apart from the wage slave state fodder, only to then on another thread bemoan the oppressive working hours, cost of business tax/rates and bureaucracy of staffing in this country.

A golden cage is still a cage, though it’s always fun to play at lets pretend!

And as for internships, well they’ll deal the final deathblow to the already declining social mobility in this country.

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That's not entirely true though is it, unless they can non-dom.

Nothing makes me laugh more on this forum then business owners/entrepreneurs constantly congratulating themselves on setting themselves apart from the wage slave state fodder, only to then on another thread bemoan the oppressive working hours, cost of business tax/rates and bureaucracy of staffing in this country.

A golden cage is still a cage, though it’s always fun to play at lets pretend!

And as for internships, well they’ll deal the final deathblow to the already declining social mobility in this country.

I think you will find we don't go into all our unique little wrinkles and shortcuts on a public forum in case you know who is watching.

There are hundreds and you only learn them when playing the game. It is very clear cut you are either someone elses dog or you head the pack. Not many of us said it was about money it is about freedom.

We live or die by our descisons not someone elses, and who do you think we dish out the internships to our mates and friends or the general public?

Now run along and make a cup of tea for the boss, and when you come back check your employment contract your boss might have changed it because his/her favourite football lost last night and they have got the hump.

Now how much fun is that? at least we built our cages and your boss yours.

Edited by Greg Bowman

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