The Urban Dictionary defines it as follows:
An internship is when (usually a university undergraduate) goes and works for a company who can get away with paying them a very small salary or often nothing because they haven’t graduated yet.
It’s basically just working to make someone rich and getting nothing in return – the modern equivalent of slavery, except nowadays, people are actually willing.
Okay. I know the Urban Dictionary tries to be hilarious and sarcastic, but if that is what young people think an internship is then we have a serious problem.
I’m at the point in my degree where the magic has worn off, the crappy ‘Introduction to whatever’ subjects are out of the way, and I no longer suffer from an anxiety attack whenever I have to make a cold call to a ‘source’.
In other words, it is time to start thinking about interning.
And I couldn’t be more excited.
Sure, the application process has occasionally made the Night’s Watch seem like a pretty sweet deal, but all in all, I am thrilled.
I am excited about the opportunity to work in the real world. I am keen to meet people whose work I have poured through, the stars of my Friday night journalism YouTube binges (yeah, I am a massive nerd, whatever).
I can’t wait to make connections in the industry and learn how people have managed to get paid to do what they love.
And the crappy stuff that comes with? I’ll take it. If having the opportunity to sit in an office with Mia Freedman or Bron McCahon once a week means making cups of tea and filing paperwork… bring on those manila folders man.
But it seems that lots of Y Gen’s are asking Y?
I can’t count the amount of times I have heard the moans of our generation collectively whining about working for no pay or spending their days moderating comments and formatting PowerPoint’s.
Honestly, guys. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.
Normally I love Gen Y.
We are the generation to whom technology is a second language. We are the ones who are going to see Gay Marriage legalised and the abortion stigma removed. And hopefully we are going to find extra-terrestrials and avoid a nuclear war.
We ARE hard working. We ARE passionate. We ARE clever.
(Maybe we are a touch narcissistic, but we are just still in our twenties and trying not to drown in the avalanche of options that has swept us off our feet…)
But we need to stop thinking that our time is precious and valuable – because in reality, you are only worth what someone is going to pay you.
We need to realise that now, unfortunately, a university degree does not make us stand out in the crowd, it just puts us on par with the average.
So internships are priceless.
I am not suggesting for a moment that you let yourself be used. Working for a year, full time without pay? Being abused á la Jenny Humphrey? Hell no!
But working one day a week for three months in an industry related workplace and meeting people who are one day (hopefully) going to hire you? That’s the stuff of my dreams baby. Literally. (Is that sad?)
Plus, they might let you practice on their Photoshop CS6, which is WAY more awesome than CS3.
Get on the internship bandwagon. Get excited. And work your absolute ring off. Because people might tell you that there is ‘no jobs out there’, but that is really a lie. Obviously.
There are jobs for the people who want them bad enough and are willing to work their arses off to get them.
Be one of them, and Gen Y might have a chance of surviving yet!