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Unpaid internships? Luxury!

As an employer, I’ve never been a fan of unpaid interships. In my business (research/think tank) a mediocre employee detracts value, so it only makes sense to bring people aboard that can produce at a level that will be useful to our clients. If an intern doesn’t need to climb any hurdles to get the position, they are unlikely to perform at the level we need. Also, an unpaid intern, in my experience, is more likely to expect the “cool and interesting” jobs and not want to do what he or she considers grunt work. It seems that an unpaid internship suddenly seems like a good deal. Charityfolks.com is auctioning off internships (the expect an internship at Elle magazine to command a bid of $50,000). Obviously, there is a lot of controversy about this announcement. Click here and here for active discussions. Optimists claim that paying for an internship for your kid is a good investment. After all, a parent has already shelled out a whack of cash to pay for their education, why stop short of a final investment that will help them get a good job (eventually). Detractors point out that it is another example of how the rich get all the advantages and that companies are doing themselves no favour by hiring the highest bidder rather than the smartest or the most passionate.

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