Friday, 12 March 2010

TV Drama: The intern revolts

"We need you to pick up a tv and carry it back to the office."

"I'm sorry, a what now?"

"A television. We need one. To furnish a flat. For the actors."

"Er...would that be a big one?"

[Hands motioning]

"Um, I'm not being funny, but that's bigger than I am."


"So that's a 'no' then?"

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Can I Have The Receipt, Please?

Last week I was getting lunch in Leon’s when I saw a familiar sight.

A boy was standing at the counter, slightly out of breath, frantically rustling through different pieces of paper and calling out a long and complicated order, punctuated with that tell-tell phrase:

“Can I have the receipt please?”

My ‘tern-dar was instantly on alert: he was definitely one of us.

Asking for the receipt is an all-too-familiar request for interns. Hey, don’t mock it: compared to vacuuming floors and getting lunches, it’s one of the most taxing jobs you’ll do.

Receipts are, after all, an integral part of the work place: they make sure that the company is billed for all the little luxuries that employees are unwilling to pay for themselves (lunch at the Ivy: expense it! ; Packet of Marlboros: work stress, expense it!), and specifically in a film company ensure that the right project is made to fork out for the right exec.

Also, it proves that the intern hasn’t been embezzling the sandwich fund to pay their rent.

You’ll soon notice the familiar chant when sent on your merry way to Tesco’s: “Don’t forget the receipt”, either simply barked at your retreating back by one of the ‘high-ups,’ or murmured by an assistant, trembling slightly at the memory of when they, too, were and intern and had mixed up Mr Producer’s M&S receipt for their own one for Vagisil.

Now, I have to admit that I am not great at keeping my own receipts in order, let alone having to deal with ones for a whole company. I am also notoriously bad at maths, to the point of which the Boyf has labelled me ‘numerically dyslexic.’

Imagine my perturbation, dear readers, when the battle cry goes out. My palms start to sweat, my heart races, I can’t tell my right from my left: whose receipt is who? Is that my five pence or theirs? I forgot the biscuits!

Thus, I have come up with this simple solution, and you will be pleased to learn that all you need is an envelope and sharpie: easy enough to come by in any humble stationery cupboard.

1. Take Sharpie.

2. Write on hand: DO NOT FORGET THE RECEIPT.

3. Take Envelope.

4. Place petty cash in envelope.

5. Go to shop. Collect mango/tea bags/the account director’s itch cream.

6. Hand over petty cash.

7. Glance at hand with cash in – WAIT A MINUTE –

8. See writing on hand - “Can I have the receipt with that please?”

9. Deposit the winning ticket and change into envelope, specially secured to hold all cash separate from own wallet along with correct receipt.

10. Return to office, delicately sweating and safe in the knowledge that cash and receipt are snug in their envelope.

11. Make tea.

See? Simple. Any unpaid idiot could do it.

Oh wait...

Thursday, 4 March 2010

It's a Jungle Out There

Well, it's official. I'm not alone. As the article in today's Daily Mail demonstrates, the (often) poor and unregulated conditions of interships are affecting graduates up and down the country.

I was fascinated to discover Interns Anonymous from this article: a website created by two graduates which is hoping to bring to light graduates' stories of the internship market.

As the Daily Mail article points out, the moment an intern is asked to do any sort of "work" they should officially be paid minumum wage. The problem is, "internships" seem to fall into this no-man's land where it's somehow ok to expect intelligent, hard working graduates to swallow their pride and spend 8 hours a day photocopying and making tea, and all for no pay.

I called a company I worked for as an undergraduate to ask if they had any work. The guy I spoke to told me that he had had to fire his assistant, so he was relying on his intern, i.e. the intern was doing the same duties as his assistant, but without being paid.

As I have said in past posts, employers are in a very jammy position: slap the euphemistic term "internship" onto a job, and suddenly they get a host of applicants who are willing/forced to take up the post as a way into the industry, without having to pay them.

And with another wave of graduates who are going to be seeking employment in just a few months, the government really needs to step up and sort this out. It's a jungle out there.
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