Young Professional: Would You Work for Free? | The Frugalista

Young Professional: Would You Work for Free?

by frugalista on May 22, 2012

There’s an ongoing debate about whether young professionals should work for free to get career exposure or to get experience in a desired career. It’s a touchy subject for me, especially, because many people expect writers to work for free. As a person who spent the majority of her career working in print journalism, it’s a bit disheartening to know that words don’t really have value like they used to. I’m used to my written words paying my rent! Who wouldn’t want to make extra money?

The New York Times wrote an article on the ethics of internships that don’t pay.
Some young professionals are fighting back against the unpaid internship craze. Diana Wang, a 20-something, filed a lawsuit against the Hearst Corporation for its unpaid internships.

Marketing leader and thought guru Seth Godin says that unpaid internships are a bit of a joke because the interns rarely do valuable work while there. On the other hand, he is a big fan of underemployed people doing free work in a desired career to get invaluable experience. If you are in “career transition” like many in this economy, working for free may help you get the needed experience to nab a new job.

Still, I’d rather be paid for any work that I do. I know that getting paid for my work is a great feeling for me and my bank account. I’m very thankful I was able to have paid internships in college. How can you save money if you’re not making any? Also, who wouldn’t want to work in a competitive environment with well-paid people? You’d be working with the best. An old saying is “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

So what do you think? Is it worth it to work for free? Is it worth it for a young professional to take an unpaid internship?

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