Remember when interns were only doctors? They pulled off the 22 hour shifts in a hospital over a 2 or so year stint always mindful of the Hippocratic Oath. One of the earliest mentions of “interns” is of a Boston hospital report in 1865. As the country grew, public administrations grew and internship programs grew the number of placements.
Firms captured and adopted the idea. Vogue offered a year-long internship to Jacqueline (Bouvier) Kennedy Onassis but she declined it. And the beat went on: TV newsrooms in America began doing it in the ‘70s; now it is globalized. Sixty-three percent of American students do at least one internship before graduating, according to the National Association of Colleges and employers.
The temporary, unregulated and quite frequently unpaid work has different procedures in different places. For instance, length of internship programs can be as short as a week to as long as a year.
In Washington D.C., government departments, non-profits and belt-way lobby firms have unpaid interns for the summer. Others like audit companies (Deloitte, KPMG), media companies, banking/financial firms have employment internships for six months to a year. Start-ups such as software companies, design, retailing (Amazon and Alibaba), may do the temp thing for a 30-day intensive qualification assessment term.
The increase in unpaid internships is the advent of times that employers see as riskier, costlier and complex. Investing in a hired employee with the growing costs of healthcare, pensions and personal leave is an expensive venture. Even tightening of labor rules such as unfair dismissals and anti-discrimination regulations make employers seek the alternative route in hiring by trial basis.
What do all have in common? They promise that you “will change the world, do cool things that matter, perform incredible tasks, achieve the state of happiness – it will have a positive impact on your working culture, and yes, the all encompassing — become an entrepreneur!”
Just make sure the statement, “Ladies, we expect you to wear proper attire, be courteous, have a good attitude and take instruction – remember we are giving you an opportunity to prove yourself and make a difference” turns out to be truth.
Ruben has extensive project, program management and client/partner relationship management experience. He has led wireless development teams through the complete life-cycle of product development across design centers. His program management professional service experience includes having successfully managed from the implementation and launch of IT infrastructure projects to mobile consumer communications products for major industry leaders such as Lucent Technologies, Philips and Motorola. Ruben was born in Buenos Aires, raised in the U.S. and has native fluency of English and Spanish. Ruben holds a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
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