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Re: [ia-55] Internships

From: user 9.
Sent on: Sunday, April 22, 2012 11:09 AM
Like in most cases, everyone makes really good points.  There just needs to be a healthy balance.  However, 'good' internships should count as education, and that means a considerable amount of mentoring on the employer side, which takes time away from the regular work schedule.  But, as mentioned in Hilary's example, for billable work, there should be compensation.

On Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM, Jonathan Lane <[address removed]> wrote:
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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