Why You Should Get Paid this Summer
It’s that time of year again when millions of college and university students go hunting for a summer job (slash internship slash co-op placement).
Not only is job hunting a full-time job, but you’re probably also a full-time student. And we all know that it is nearly impossible to hold two full-time positions simultaneously. Not to mention that most companies are like bad boyfriends: they never call and ignore all communications from you. But even when you get an interview, you might have to miss class or delay homework for it (and you might still get rejected from the job).
Not to mention that you might be doing all of this work for free. I don’t mean that you’re job hunting for free (although you’re doing that too). I mean that you’re working for free. Now I’m all for internships. They rock. I had a recruitment internship last summer, and it rocked. Awesome office, awesome job, awesome people, awesome networking, and all the rest of it. But I didn’t get paid. I’m okay with that though, because I didn’t know what I was doing when I accepted the internship. I had no experience in the field whatsoever, so it made sense that the company would pay me in generosity and experience. I thought about doing it again this year, when I stumbled upon a telling quote:
“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” – The Joker, The Dark Knight
Now I’m not saying that I’m an excellent recruiter. I’m just saying that I’m probably at least good enough to get paid minimum wage for doing it. Just like you might not be excellent at [insert skill here], but you’re probably good enough to at least get paid minimum wage for it. So don’t do it for free.
As students without degrees and little work experience in our fields of study, we tend to think that we should take whatever we can get. We’re stuck with the idea that getting something is better nothing at all. So we’re chronically underpaid, we rarely ask for raises in whatever jobs we land, and we’re often willing to work for free because apparently, the job market is crummy and we’re infinitely replaceable.
Well that’s not true for everyone. You hear these stories about people getting paid well and loving their summer placements and living the good life…well, they didn’t just stumble upon a large sum of money. They asked for pay, and grounded it in the fact that they have relevant skills and experience.
Remember that in an interview, you’re interviewing the company too. You have wants and needs, and you should negotiate for them. School isn’t cheap. Neither is your labor.
Are you working for free? Do you want to get paid this summer?
Image courtesy of 401(K) 2013 via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).