kate bohdanowicz writer

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A job offer you could and should refuse

I’m recruiting. That’s right, I’m offering a great opportunity for the right person. Before you read on, that right person has to be very rich or very desperate (the two are usually mutually exclusive) as this ‘job’ is unpaid, like so many I see these days. I haven’t worked out the hours but I’m sure some will be unsociable and I don’t like change so the person will have to bed in for three months minimum. That is if they pass my tough two interviews having filled in my lengthy application form. 

In return I’ll reimburse expenses and possibly write a reference. Best of all you’ll get experience and exposure. That’s if you haven’t died of starvation by then. 

I’m seeing this all the time. Jobs – or rather adverts claiming to offer jobs – asking for what can only be described as slave labour. Today I saw one that took the bloody biscuit. It was advertising for an ‘intern’ (the go-to word for anyone seeking free help: an internship should be akin to work experience and involve training or mentoring) to work three days per week including weekends, for three to six months.

The (un)successful candidate should be “highly skilled in publicity and IT”,  have “experience or interest in, working in nature conservation, community or heritage”. They would have “strong presentational skills”, “experience of developing and maintaining database records” and be a “capable user of Microsoft Office.” Oh and they “must have demonstrable media skills including press, social media and publicity.” It goes without saying there’s an application form, a deadline and a DBS check is required. I wonder who pays for that? The good news is travel expenses are reimbursed so you can be carted to and from your modern-day labour camp. No mention of lunch. Christ. Even I’m throwing lunch in.

I’m sorry but if anyone had all those skills, they’d be able to command a healthy salary. An intern is normally a school or university leaver looking for a couple of weeks' work experience to put on their CV. How can they be highly skilled in anything? And if they are, why on Earth should they work for free? For three to six months?

I’ve written before about people being asked to work for free. You don’t need me to tell you how disgusting this advert is.

Now, back to my recruitment opportunity. You must be highly skilled in ego-massaging and you must like cats. Don’t look me straight in the eye...


Comments (2)

  1. Bernadette Russell:
    Aug 14, 2015 at 08:37 AM

    Sigh, and agree. There's a Facebook group "Don't Work For Free" whose emphasis is on us arty types who have always had to work for free a bit but are now expected to all the time. I joined but then I left because it was too depressing, instead I look through the arts council job postings and report all the posts I see who are claiming to pay but aren't- the arts council don't support unpaid work but it's easy to slip through the net. The other thing is being paid less for what you were doing ten years ago. I'm mostly self-employed and on the occasions I do employ people, everyone gets paid the same amount. I sometimes have to ask people to do stuff for free but I offer an exchange of time or labour, I have put on events where I can't pay people but in that situation I don't get paid either. When I was swamped with admin I was advised to "get an intern" which I didn't do as I would't have time to teach them anything. I blame the Tories.

  2. Kate Bohdanowicz:
    Aug 14, 2015 at 09:04 AM

    Hi Bernadette

    It's a terrible state of affairs and it's only getting worse. I too blame the Tories.



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