Ross Perlin on internships

Ross Perlin on his recent book Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. Internships have been controversial in agency life and have been portrayed as either an advantage of the middle and upper classes or as exploitation of the young. They are broadly designed to move people from school to work, which is I guess what my original apprenticeship did.

I missed doing an internship since I already had worked in industry as a line manager and was working part-time as a market research analyst at what was then the Halifax Building Society. Perlin links the culture of free from the internet (web email, etc) as part of a wider societal move making internships acceptable. Internships have become a commodity in themselves, yet they are still poorly understood.

The idea of intern hierarchies and the pressure to do more than one is quite bizarre. The first intern I worked with was in the oil industry who had taken time off from university because of ME and was an obsessive Michael Jackson fan. He missed out on hazing that the rest of us had as he was unpaid and so wasn’t seem to have skin in the game.