Thursday, 14 April 2011

Employment Opportunities

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have discovered a new vein of employment: “The Assistant Internship”

I have seen such positions crop up for a while now, most recently in the latest Arts Hub* newsletter, which advertised:

Research Assistant Internship
We are looking for a bright and enthusiastic individual to work at an exciting innovative media company for a 10 week 'research assistant' internship.

Project and Administrative Assistant - Internship
*** are recruiting for a Project and Administrative Assistant to join our small and busy team in South West London.

Now, surely, surely someone must realise the stonking great oxymoron staring them in the face?

Assistant, n:
1. someone who receives Actual Money
2. someone with privileges such as a desk, a working computer, holiday time, a name (other than “you”)
3. someone who is not kicked out of a company at the end of a set period

Intern, n:
None of the above.

I’m sorry, I have tried to write an intelligent and informed response to this, but I simply can’t - it's got to be a joke, right?

Note the patronising use of quotations in the research position, which suggests that the ickle intern will be pwaying at having a weal job just like the grown ups do. Only without being paid.

“Assistant Internship”? What the hell does that even mean?

Well, I know what it means.

In employer jargon, it means “the opportunity to spend 10 weeks working on an exciting project, assisting the research/project and administration departments and learning about that side of the industry”

Which roughly translates to “the department can’t cope, but we’re too cheap to hire an assistant. We’ll just stick the word “internship” on the end of it and pay ‘em expenses. They won’t know the difference.”

What’s next? “Doctor – Internship”? “Prime Minister – Internship”? Is “Internship” just going to become a byword for “p.s. we pay you jack shit”?

I shudder to think on it.

*Disclaimer: I am not saying in any way that Arts Hub are writing these applications or are in any way involved with the misrepresentation of applications. So there.


  1. Hello, so glad that I found your blog. I’ve been working free internships in the film industry for the past 5 years. I have to say – Free internships IS slave labour!! I refuse to work meaningless jobs anymore. My last job was this summer at an advertising post production company. I worked for a week there as a production runner – for free – learning nothing at all – cleaning up after people, making teas, buying food for people.
    This company had enough money to pay me minimum wage yet didn’t even pay for my expenses to get there. The first job of the day was buying £50 worth of flowers to make the editing rooms look nice. The company was fooled with the illusion that they were ‘doing me a favour’ .
    The day before I left the director hired his daughter to do my job (only better- they gave her an office) and fully paid her. I left and I won’t be doing nay meaningless labour anymore. I can only hope that others do the same, learn from their experiences, don’t treat people like they were treated and make the film industry of the future I better one.
    Thanks for your blog, it was hard to find someone talking about this issue, I’ve started my own one here –

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Unpaid internships are illegal. Please don't feed the monster.


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