Consenting Adults

The Labor Department is out to protect you from yourself. Legislation prohibiting unpaid internships is officially in force.

“If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with  for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” says Nancy J. Leppink of the Labor Department.

What’s all the fuss?

Why is the government beefing up enforcement NOW, when the teenage unemployment rate is 26%?

For teens without marketable skills, where do they start?

Let’s take a hypothetical situation….

Say you are 15 and you are interested in becoming an architect. But you don’t know much about what architects really do, or how they do what they do. What is the fastest way to figure out if architecture is for you?

ArchitectRead a book?

Work for an Architect?

While reading a book about how Architects do what they do is helpful, no amount of reading can prepare you for the actual day-to-day activities of an Architect.Best case, you get a more realistic picture of the profession. Worst case, you still think all architects get to design cool buildings (most do not), and your IM Pei fantasy persists.

Now how about working for an Architect…. If you are in the office you get to see the day-to-day in action.You end up learning that architecture is less about building cool buildings and more about client management. If you’re lucky you’ll get to participate in the mind-numbing meetings. In other words, you’ll get to know if you like architecture enough to deal with the drudgery that it, as with every profession, has.

But here’s the current challenge. Now is a particularly tough time for Architects. Few are hiring and fewer still need unskilled labor when there’s a pile of skilled labor available. It costs an employer a significant investment of time to bring any staff member in – paid or unpaid. How do you as the unskilled teenager convince the firm to hire you?

What do you think?

Image courtesy of Wonderlane

2 thoughts on “Consenting Adults”

  1. Hi Kate,

    Indeed, I did so much intern and low paying minimum wage work throughout high school and learned so much in a way only by being on the job. While yes, I do learn a lot by reading, which of course I do. However, the work of interning has its learning roots all the way to the feudal ages if not before.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

  2. So the companies are being asked to pay their interns after such tough economy and after the fact that they couldn’t even pay some of their skilled employees and had to let them go? Hmmm…

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