Last year I posted on a topic that is quite close to home, internships. I covered this topic after reading the Cozette Mcreery interview with Elle online, she believed that interns should work for love, not money. This outraged me and pretty much everyone that read it by the looks of the comments the article received. Read my take on it and find the link to original Elle interview here.
The reason I’m covering this area again is because in the previous post I kind of commented it on it from an inexperienced angle, it’s never nice to read negative ‘truths’ about an industry you hoped to go into, hence leaving me thinking that I was in some position to comment on it. But what’s even worse now, is that I can talk about it after 1 month of interning and being exploited myself.
I’m going to try and do this post without naming names. As much as I’d like to name and shame, I still, for some reason, have an ounce of respect for the person in question. Therefore do not want to bad mouth them. What I do want to focus on is my pure dismay of their behaviour; it just totally conforms with everything Cozette stated in Elle and to be frank, I’m disgusted, disappointed and totally in awe of how someone in such an industry as fashion journalism/PR can dismiss a hardworking and loyal person such as myself when they know from first hand experience just how to difficult it is to be given a chance.
Friends reading this will now how hyped I was about starting out, and Im pretty sure after all my moaning they’ll know how p*ssed off I am at the way I have been treated. Basically, I became a blogger for a small showbiz site that had a daily feature called ‘get the look for less’. I would trawl the net for 5 hours every Sunday looking for celebrities from recent events that have worn an outfit that can be replicated through high street finds. This started out real fun as it’s something I would do in my personal time anyway, the work itself was fine. It wasn’t until total lack of communication that I finally started asking questions, I was sending away five posts every Sunday for them to be distributed out over Monday to Friday but what I noticed was that they weren’t always being used.
Wanting to impress and do a good job, I emailed asking why this is. I didn’t receive an e-mail for over two weeks, I then went on to the ‘employers’ twitter to see that they had gone to Rome?! Talk about showing some respect for your interns and actually keeping them updated! This was bad enough, but before all this started I was set a piece of work which wasn’t part of the ‘get the look for less’ topic. The topic is irrelevant and I shouldn’t mention it as the client may read, but basically it involved A LOT of work and me spending my own money! I was set the mammoth task 32 hours before it was expected to be handed in, bearing in mind they are fully aware of uni commitments and we did agree on only 5 hours a week. So this was stressful and scary! At the time, it seemed huge as I was eager to impress but now, writing it out, I can see how used I was. (The only perk to doing the task in question was that I was paid £50, the rest of the internship was unpaid and I only got paid for this task because it was in fact her own personal work that she had just split with me. I imagine the client paid her, and she found an ounce of decency and realised I should recieve something. Careless and idiotic as it puts them at risk, but then this is a trait that runs throughout.)
With some of my work being used and some of it not, I had no idea where I stood. But I continued to create the posts as I didn’t know what else to do. It took a total of 3 weeks and 4 days of having my emails ignored for me to finally just give up. I’m so disappointed in the behaviour of the person in question, it has put me off going for any more internships, along with knocking my confidence as to this day I still don’t know why all my work wasn’t used. Being given no guidance, feedback or support appears to be a trait in those who offer interns. Unfortunately I’m not alone on this topic; I wish people would start changing the ways in which they treat and handle their interns. So much needs to change, but where do you turn too?
This is a brief account of what happened, its more a of a rant than anything else. It’s been bugging me for ages! if you have any stories of your experiences good or bad, do share. I’d like to see others who have been exploited but I’d also like to see some positive expierence to give me back some hope!