Unpaid Internships and Jobs: Experience Fraught With Exploitation!

A great profusion of despondent graduates looking for jobs to bring their education and skills to practicality know fully well what it feels like when you are rendered with no option than to work for peanuts or zilch amounts for the sake of relevant experience, which is likely to help you in the long run. But little do the organizations know what it costs graduates to expend their time, energy, and personal expenses in unpaid internships or jobs to equip them with the essentials of their respective fields in the market. Imagine grinding yourself for four years, enduring the odds and obstruction s and putting in the best of your efforts, with a hope of securing yourself a position in the market that will pay off all your hard work, only to be jerked out of your fantasy to face harsh realities of these sprawling job markets where you are forced to work for free to gain experience. It is an undergraduate’s worst nightmare, which whips on the face of reality once you are out in the market with your high dreams; you finally come to realize how all that glitter is not gold once the gap between education and practical life is bridged.

Not all students enrolled in private universities have the privilege of being financially buffered by their elaborate backgrounds. It is a fact that these universities, especially in the private sector, are ridiculously expensive, and a number of students have to depend on their meagre earnings to make ends meet; the staple source of income for such students is by giving tuitions. Since this doesn’t give them the experience they need to further in their fields, they opt for unpaid internships in addition, which are tolerable in this phase to an extent. With their education supplemented with experience acquired on field, the last thing graduates would bear to hear is the extension of these hollow employments that are, unfortunately, in most cases, hard to evade.

The organizations offering these unpaid posts, however, have a whole raft of reasons to vehemently defend their stance on the issue. To begin with, what more could fresh graduates ask for than being part of reputed firms and companies and acquire hands-on experience, which will not only enable individuals to be adept at their work but will also open doors to new opportunities? What the employers fail to understand or simply choose to ignore is the fact that such jobs or internships will not pay the bills, and are likely to create more for those opting for them. The majority of graduates who make this hard choice of saying yes to such void jobs either give in because they have no other option, or they have to boost their professional performances on their resumes for better future prospects. There is no arguing that unpaid jobs and internships are blatant exploitation of an individual’s time, energy and expenses. Although such jobs may upgrade your education and skills and open doors for jobs with desired paychecks, they guarantee neither. If you are not paid at work, you are not valued because you are easily replaceable with scores of desperate individuals, who too are hunting for opportunities that could bolster their performances. Plus, organisations only value what they pay for.

Therefore, employers scrounging immense profits and exploiting young individuals to keep their mills running must understand what struggle it is to journey through education and then stepping out in the market in pursuit of jobs with pay commensurate with one’s true hard work and skill, and that unrewarded work does undermine an employee’s potential in most detrimental ways.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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