I’ll Be the BEST Intern Ever!

An anonymous reader writes:

I’ve recently started working full-time as an “intern” for the president of production at a production company. I am the only intern in the office, making me an assistant really, rather than an intern. What makes me an intern is that I don’t get paid.

I have given a commitment of three months and although most days are extremely boring, when it’s exciting, it’s really awesome and I’ve learned more in 3 weeks than I ever imagined I would. There’s no room for me to move up in the office because it’s only me and the executive. I feel like this could be a really great opportunity, however, if I stay longer, unpaid.

This is why: I feel like staying with my current job (although unpaid) could lead to a job in one of their other offices. If it doesn’t, it could lead to a paid job somewhere else. I feel like this job is a great start into the industry, so why would I leave in 3 months only to get another unpaid internship, right?

What I’m asking is do I stay here for the 3 months and then go off to find another job (probably unpaid)? Or do I stay for maybe 6-12 months (which is completely unexpected by my boss who goes through interns every few months) and prove myself to the company but remain unpaid?

I encourage people to work for free when it comes to production, because you meet dozens, even a hundred people on a film. If you’re interning in an office, you’re meeting your boss and… who else? You’re on the phone with other assistants, and occasionally someone comes to your office.

It’s great that you’re learning stuff, but your boss is still just using you. He’s keeping you instead of paying an assistant, which, as we all know from the Black Swan lawsuit, is illegal. That should tell you something about the kind of person he is. The fact that he’s burning through assistants should tell you even more.

You’re the girl dating the player, telling all your friends, “But he really loves me.” No, he doesn’t. He’ll continue letting you answer his phones and scheduling his appointments, until you’re sick of it, and then he’ll find another sucker.

Unless all those other interns left for paid jobs based on recommendation from this guy, I’d say leave, as soon as your commitment is over.1 He’ll forget about you in a week. By the time you’ve got an interview with another company and ask him for a reference, he’ll say, “Anonymous Reader who?”

My short advice is– get out of the abusive relationship and move on.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Yes, you should keep to your commitment. You’re the bigger woman, here.
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3 Responses

  1. I love this. I’m in the middle of moving on from a similar situation. Except it hasn’t been 3 months. Luckily a department head that I was working with was kind enough to tell me that I should bail out. “Interning” and working are completely different things, especially when it’s office work rather than field work on set.

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