Whether it is sold as an internship, as a way to build experience or to develop your skills, working for free is a reality that hits many millennials. Is it a good idea? Should you go with what seems like a chance to learn, to gain professional experience or not?
From talking to many people who have agreed to work for free, many told me they felt used and that it was overall a weird journey. Someone said they were offered an internship in a PR company and were told they’d be part of the team, that the role would be very hands-on. They ended up spending four weeks running errands and making tea/coffee.
Interning without being paid, especially when you decide to live on your savings to invest in this career opportunity, is a bad idea. Why would a respectable company not be able to recognize your work and pay for your time? How long can you last without wages and what is the end goal? Does this sound too good to be true (it probably is!)? Will this experience really benefit my career or will it only benefit the “employer”?
As a writer, you’re often in the position of writing for websites that can’t pay you. To build a portfolio, to develop relationships with other writers and PR professionals, it feels like a good idea. And it is, as long as you don’t do it for more than a few weeks/months. Because you might end up years down the line, frustrated to invest time and effort into something that doesn’t pay off. It might also knock your confidence down as you might feel you’re not worthy enough to be paid.
In conclusion, working for free might be a good idea but you have to evaluate the actual benefits you’ll take from it and remember to do it for a short period of time.
Remember that your time, your hard work and your efforts deserved to be paid to the right price so don’t let anyone bring you down by telling you otherwise!