When people think of unpaid jobs, interns, or production assistants, what is usually the first thing that comes to mind? It could be things like low-level, underpaid, underappreciated, errand-runner.
Paid or unpaid interns, production assistants, and/or assistants, in general, are the using heroes of the industry that they are in, especially if they do what they do for free. They are the “Be Seen and Not Heard” people that do the mindless grunt work around the office. We get our bosses’ coffee, run their errands, pick up their dry cleaning all either for free or for minimum wage.
I’m not complaining about what we do. I’m complaining about the response that society usually gives us when we start to ask for a little more than what we are getting when we ask for more than a letter of recommendation and when we start to demand a bigger piece of the pie.
Most people in society would be glad that people like us are functioning members, but that’s all the thanks and praise that we get. When people look at the broad spectrum of the amount of money we make and see that it’s below a livable wage, people say, “Well, what you do doesn’t matter as much as what I do because you make less money than I
That’s the message that society gives us: If you get paid more for the work that you do, you must be a more important person and you get more respect for it. However, when you remove low-level interns and assistants from the equation, you find that you would have a less successful company and a bunch of rich idiots screaming at each other because nobody got them their cup of coffee.
With all that being said, the next time you see a struggling intern, understand that they are probably going through a time struggling to pay bills and earn some respect from their circles and it wouldn’t hurt to treat them as human beings.