Old and Unpaid: The New Intern

by Vault Education Editors | March 15, 2011

  • My Vault

From an LA Times trend story on older unpaid interns:

Malibu resident Ashley St. Johns-Jacobs, 40, typically rises before 5 a.m. to get to her job at the Los Angeles city attorney's office by 8 a.m. After a full day prosecuting misdemeanors, she often brings work home.

What she doesn't bring home is a paycheck. With no position open, she has been working as an unpaid intern for nearly a year in hopes of eventually getting hired when a job opens up.

My feeling is that, in most cases, if you aren’t in school and are of a certain age, say above 25, doing unpaid internships should be a kind of last resort. That time should be spent exhausting your contacts, wearing out your shoes networking, applying to jobs. If you are doing all that and still have time to volunteer your time, then go for it. Unpaid work can be a good form of networking; it’s also a good way to prevent your skills from degenerating. What you don’t want is for the unpaid gig to keep you from your real job of finding a job.  

[LA Times]

Filed Under: Education

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