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Re: [ia-55] Internships

From: user 5.
Sent on: Saturday, April 21, 2012 10:25 PM
Adding my too sense of grit into this mill...

About a million years ago back in college, I did an unpaid internship at 
a major advertising agency.  It was NOT worth it...even as 
resume-padding.  I got so little help and guidance, almost no practical 
education to speak of, and spent most of my time photocopying and 
running things from floor to floor.  I did ask my supervisor rather 
incessantly for more opportunities to learn and do things, and he always 
apologized and promised to give me more mentoring, but then he usually 
got too busy and I was back to the ol' status quo.

So my recommendation for people considering taking unpaid internships in 
fields like UX where you actually want/need to learn something, your 
potential "employer" (mentor) should provide a list of references to 
YOU.  He or she should allow you to contact previous of his or her 
interns and get their opinions of the experience.  Did they learn a lot 
and come out with mucho marketable skills?  Or did they sit on the floor 
in an unused corner, laptop on their knees, spending hours mapping the 
pages of existing websites and tagging articles for a database?

Interns should never feel desperate to work for free.  They're trading 
something valuable (their time and effort at no cost) for something else 
of value (practical experience and mentorship).  If there hasn't been 
such a balance for previous interns, then don't rush to be the next 
victim.  But if others rave about the experience, then such an 
internship could be an amazing opportunity.

  - Jonathan Lane
    (still out there doing this crazy UX stuff)

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