NEW YORK — Twenty year old Julie Anderson found what she thought was a rare gem in today’s job market: a paid internship. Upon accepting the position, Julie found to her dismay just what this new breed of ‘paid internship’ actually was. On her first day, Julie’s new boss cheerfully explained that the company would be expecting a check every two weeks from Julie as compensation for the wonderful opportunities the company was affording her.
“I told him that I had no money, that I was a student and already in debt,” recalled Anderson. “His response was, ‘Well, you should have thought about that before trying to get a job.’ He then rescinded the offer and said I could connect with him on LinkedIn for a nominal fee.”
Reports from around the country confirm Julie’s experience is not an isolated incident. As performing menial labor becomes more and more of a privilege in today’s America, companies that once underpaid workers are now requiring “reverse wages” from entry-level employees.
Accounting firm CEO Walter Hoffmann, who personally makes an extra $30,000 a year from intern labor, compared the arrangement to that of a university.
“Colleges are not wrong to expect compensation for teaching students, everyone agrees on that. What we do here is obviously educational,” he explained as a 21-year-old rushed by with a tray of coffee from Starbucks. “Frankly, it is a gross injustice that corporations haven’t been compensated for giving out these sorts of opportunities before.”