I’ll call you Ambassador Intern, but you’re still not getting paid

A few choice points from the New York Times’ July 30th article, “Interns, the Founts of Youth,” by Maureen Tkacik.

“At one time there was no way to better broadcast one’s failure to thrive as an adult than to hang around high school kids. It meant that the world beyond senior prom had shut its doors, forcing a return to a place in which your value was determined solely by your ability to drive a car and procure beer. But now, according to young professionals working in fields in which fluency in the dialects and habits of teenagers is paramount, hanging out with high schoolers is cool, and sometimes even professionally advantageous.

Often these teenagers are known as “the intern.” They are working for little or nothing at clothing labels, guerrilla marketing firms and one-person event-planning operations, making coffee, opening mail and tagging along with their employers in environments they deem interesting. While they get college-résumé-boosting work experience, not to mention entree into clubs and parties, their employers get around-the-clock muses and ambassadors to youth culture.”

Interns, are you getting this shit down for your CV? It’s priceless.

Describe your work experience: My work mostly entailed being an around-the-clock muse and ambassador to youth culture. I also made coffee.

With a job description like that you better hope American Idol has a staff opening, because you’re overqualified for anything less than svengali.

And if time-consuming artistic and diplomatic work isn’t enough, the Times’ interviewees also believe interns will supplant the greatest technological innovation of our time:

“‘I don’t need to look at the Internet anymore, I just look these kids straight in the eyes and they tell me everything I need to know,’ said Ms. Luardo, a former buyer for Urban Outfitters who is now a musician, part-time sales representative and freelance marketer.”

Of course, having interns isn’t all sparkling non-alcoholic cider and fish sticks. There are complex ethical problems to navigate:

“But hanging out with high schoolers has its own complications: Do you buy beer for them? Make them drive? Is it O.K. to be attracted to the intern? Ms. Luardo sets boundaries up front: she won’t buy them beer or hand over her keys, but they “mostly just want to go to all-ages shows” and other events her older friends are too tired to attend. And though age and gender differences may conjure up unsavory images of sexual dalliances, the people involved in these arrangements say the relationships don’t typically cross over into romantic territory.

One exception is 16-year-old Cory Kennedy, who since last fall has been working as an unpaid intern for the Los Angeles party photographer Mark Hunter, 21. Since her job began, she has become both his girlfriend and something of an Internet phenomenon thanks to Mr. Hunter’s Web site, www.thecobrasnake.com, which is dominated by pictures of her with her signature unbrushed hair and improbable outfits.”

Get the whole story here

Author: 9000


One thought on “I’ll call you Ambassador Intern, but you’re still not getting paid”

  1. yikes. murky ethical waters indeed. And with this in mind, I propose to the Matador Executive Elder Council that all of our future interns / \”muses\” / unpaid laborers be Vietnam war veterans who\’ve had their sex bits blown off. Not only will there be fewer chances (though admittedly, still some) of \”unsavory romantic dalliances\” but we might find someone who can make a decent cup of coffee.

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