Monday, 28 November 2011


I have had about 10 emails from people offering work in my chosen new field. They've all been lovely, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful. And I want to agree to them all, it's right up my alley. One of them was in New York. Another was a scheme at the BBC. And I would a million times rather do them than supply teaching.

Unfortunately it was all unpaid.

If I didn't have to earn any money, I'd be laughing.


  1. This is one of the things I'm really labouring with in terms of mid life career change. And it's not just needing the money either. I'm aware that I'm probably being very arrogant but does 25 years of work experience count for nothing? And that's before you get onto the broader iniquity of the concept, excluding people who aren't self funding from the fun jobs. It's very very wrong. I applaud the NUJ in its efforts to retrospectively get minimum wage for journalism interns.

  2. I know. I've had so many jobs but each time it's like starting from scratch. The only reason I trained as a teacher was because it attracted funding. What an idiot.

    To be fair, I wouldn't mind it because after some voluntary work it leads to paid traineeships, but you need to show you're genuine. I just can't afford it. It's very frustrating.

    'excluding people who aren't self funding from the fun jobs' - yup.

  3. How long are these internships you are being offered for? Would there be any benefit to doing one for a month? Which is still money out obviously but we could probably have a whip round - I'd be up for supplying a month's worth of instant noodles for example. And if you are going to be unemployed anyhow at that time are you losing anything (other than the piddly amount of benefit you'd be given)?

    It would actually be an interesting crowd sourcing/social media exercise - you could blog the process of raising money to fund an internship while publicising the problem that internships can't really be done by people without trust funds.

    You could sell some artwork - I'd buy one.

  4. I like this idea. It would give me something to write about for a start.

  5. It's all a bit confusing, I'm trying to work it out at the moment. The process seems to be - get some work experience. Apply to graduate traineeship of 1 year. Work on small salary for a year - then apply to MA to become qualified- get actual job (if there are any.)

    The longest actual internship is 3 months. The work experience at other places is a bit vaguer - it's up to you to negotiate how long, and whether you do a block of time or one day a week. I'm thinking I might try and sort something out for January and just see how it goes. It is scary though.

    Aw, bless your heart. I am very touched.

    Apparently the Arts Council has just published new guidelines on internships in the arts, to try and stop exploitation of interns too. Interesting. Other side of this is free labour. When I left college I was offered a SIX MONTH work placement. Having a laugh. And an acquaintance volunteered at BBC radio for over a year (though she finally did get a paid job there.)

  6. One day a week sounds like it might be a good compromise.

    There was a big article in the Observer recently (or it might have been i) about this. I particularly liked reading about the anti slavery campaigning charity which refuses to pay its interns.

  7. You can come and intern for me if you like, would be nice to have somebody interesting around the office. No pay, but I'll make tea every day.

  8. Aw, thank you. That would be nice, if very weird.

    Tea, YES. I ran out of tea yesterday, for the first time ever. It was genuinely quite traumatic.

  9. I could boss you around for my own entertainment, giving you pointless little jobs that really don't need to be done, and you'd be amusingly acerbic to me about it all, like a subtle little power game that nobody else quite understands.

    Of course, you'd ultimately do as you're told (after making it clear that you're doing it because you want to, not because I told you to) and then we'd go and glare at each other in the kitchen while we're waiting for the kettle to boil. See the symbolism there? The water bubbling and simmering with increasing intensity for what seems like an eternity until the switch finally. just. goes... click.

    It's going to be awesome. When can you start?

  10. You funny.

    Are you bored at work or something?