Changed my life; forever grateful!
A space created by and for interns in the non-profit world.
Changed my life; forever grateful!
Respect our time.
I was referred by a friend to an internship at a famous feminist organization. I applied in December, so that I could apply in time to register for school credit. They didn’t hire me until February; and the internship was unpaid. But because this organization had such a good reputation, I stuck it out, and was eager to get a reference later on after graduation. But they made it impossible for me to stay.
I was expected to put in 20 hours a week. Because I worked 2 other part-time jobs and went to school full-time, I negotiated it down to 15 hours. I was given no lunch stipend, no transportation stipend, nothing from this prestigious organization. (They told me I could go to one of their orgasm workshops— for free! How quaint. It took place while I was at work.)
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I wasn’t learning anything. I was told I could go to workshops that my supervisors gave around the city. I was invited to none. Instead, they expected me to stay in the office, make copies and fill in Excel spreadsheets for 5 hours a day, 3 days a week. They made no effort to teach me anything about the organization. If I went to program meetings, I had to take off time from my paid job to attend them and take notes. I was losing money.
I put in my 2-weeks notice two weeks before finals week, and they just told me to leave that day. I had never felt so unappreciated and taken advantage of in my life. I’m a low-income student and they didn’t respect that. And sadly, I made this a priority to have this on my resume, but it’s all for naught; I quit early, and even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t trust my supervisor to give me a good recommendation for a job. She didn’t even try to get to know me, and never considered my hardship. Don’t intern for free, folks. Not even for feminists. It’s just not worth it.
There is no need for orgs to hide their flaws under a veneer of social justice.
How inaccessible can you get?
I was forwarded an email about this internship opportunity today. It’s only for a) college students in NYC who b) have laptops and c) can work for free. How inaccessible can you get? Anyone should be able to apply for an internship, not just students with class privilege.
“Are you a smart girl who also knows what “smize” means? Do you read The New York Times’ op-ed page and sex tips in Cosmopolitan? Do you find both Hillary Clinton and Courtney Stodden strangely fascinating (but for entirely different reasons)? [We are] looking for two new interns for the fall semester — for credit only! — and you might just be the lady we need! We’re on the search for young Internet fiends who love pop culture, women’s issues, fashion and beauty. Interns will work in our New York City office and walk away at the end of our time together with tons clips. Future interns will have:
I was ignored because I wanted to challenge racism within the organization, and condescended to because I was an intern.
Thank you for starting to be my ally.
Listen to young people of color, don’t just feature their smiling faces on your latest brochure.
Give us a seat at the table.
Inclusivity has always been important to me, in both my personal and professional life. I want to feel like I’m part of a team, like my thoughts and opinions are considered. As an intern, this has been a huge issue. After three internships at feminist non-profits, I’ve found that interns are often excluded from the daily conversations that shape an organization (meetings, emails chains, decision making processes) as well as the once-a-year opportunities that make it all worthwhile (events and conferences). At my first internship, a camp counselor position, interns couldn’t attend daily meetings because a few of us had to watch over campers. My supervisors could never find a creative solution—wouldn’t even take meeting notes—that would ensure counselors had a voice at the meeting. At another organization, interns and I were sent to attend a big conference, but weren’t registered—we were just instructed to staff a table advertising our organization outside. During my current internship, I’m not allowed to sit at the table during staff meetings. Interns are brushed aside everyday, in small ways that seem justifiable. I mean, someone had to watch the campers right? Someone has to staff the booth at the conference. And of course, the staff table just isn’t big enough to fit everybody!
But this isn’t justifiable, and it’s more than unfair. It demonstrates the ways in which non-profit orgs operate within a hierarchy that places young people and interns at the “bottom.” This hierarchy is a reality and it basically translates to this: doing administrative work, or being employed temporarily, or not having 20+ years of experience, means you don’t have worthwhile thoughts and opinions. Which is bullshit. This hierarchy is damaging both to the intern and to the organization. Interns are often the most innovative, creative thinkers within an organization. Many of us have new ideas, we’re excited, we want to learn and grow and experiment and think and critique, and we want to do it and share it with you. We’re not just “leaders of tomorrow”—we’re here today, doing work right now, that helps assess, adjust, explore, and expand the work you do. Don’t just give us boring tasks—work with us. Understand that we bring knowledge and wisdom that you need. Don’t shut us down, ignore us, or silence us. Give us a seat at the table.
That’s like doing a part time job, but for free!
Interns should not be speaking with media, that is not part of their position.
Money is the driving force behind any movement for social change