Unpaid internships are becoming a more and more sadly prominent fixture in the life of college students and recent college grads. Oftentimes, they feature batshit insane bosses, demeaning tasks, and/or a the gradual deflation of a young individual's dreams. Sometimes they feature office pets who are better treated than the intern staff.
In an attempt to sublimate your pain into humor, we made an open call for your internship horror stories. Here's our first installment:
Arguably the worst type of internship is one in which you're subject to the deranged whims of a boss who is completely out of touch with reality, kind of like a significantly less interesting version of The Devil Wears Prada. You could have the sort of position where you're expected to pick up dog poo and no one ever bothers to learn your name. Conversely, you could find yourself enmeshed in a situation in which your boss becomes overly involved in your life and calls you at 10:30 at night because he can't figure out how to turn on his computer and wants to make you listen to stories about the time he did coke with Tim Allen. Either way, it's exploitative and it's the opposite of fun and enriching.
Confirming this, here is a tale from someone who had a government-subsidized internship working with a terrible woman who is clearly the Baba Yaga in disguise:
I ended up interning for a witch at an artist's nonprofit in an itty bitty town. She was actually a rat bone collecting, herb swirling, lighting shit on fire demonness... AND a hot hot headed- psychotic dick. Anyway, she took me to a beach one day, on company time, to tell me that she was in love with me but that I wasn't allowed to fuck her because it would be an abuse of power on her behalf.
For the next three weeks she invited me over for "tea" and we'd have extended 14-year-old-like goodbye hugs. I'm a lesbian so I'm used to bisexual and hetereosexual women prolonging blueballs until they figure their shit out. But this was torment.
Finally, when I said I couldn't deal with her shit anymore, she decided to not talk to me for 1 full month. Our desks were three inches from each other and we were the only people in the room on most days.
After our month of silence, she moved my duties from the internet (I was a communication intern) to the backyard where I had to help the landscaper spread 3 tonnes of dirt by hand in +42C weather. She excluded me from all meetings and took credit for any writing I did.
As the final days of my internship remained, she would say things to me like: "You should make coffee in the mornings." For a "feminist" she really loved to remove my connection to any sort of meaningful labour. The internship was funded by a government grant, so at the end of the term, I had the opportunity to say how I felt about the whole thing.
Thank goddess the former intern had the opportunity to give feedback with no repercussions.
Do you have a horror story of your own (be it first-hand, second-hand or third-hand)? Email us.
Image via Getty.