Perma-Interns

Posted by: Lindsey Gerdes on June 09

By: Anne Vandermey

Who needs benefits, anyway? In this economic climate any job will do—even one without health care, stability, or in some cases, without a salary.

Enter the post-college internship. Pre-financial meltdown, grads could look forward to a full-time job and a reliable paycheck. In this job market, landing an unpaid internship can seem like a miracle.

This isn’t totally new, of course. Internships after college have always been a good way to get your foot in the door, but it’s never been happening at this volume, according to The Wall Street Journal. Even MBAs, a historically employable group, are taking part-time post-graduation gigs.

As far as I can see, this has some upsides and downsides. On the upside, recent grads might feel more comfortable pursuing their dreams via unusual internships if that 9-5 job isn’t waiting for them after college. And they’re more likely to be able to make do without dental than any other demographic. As far as downsides, internships will become more competitive as 22-year-olds dive into the fray with rising juniors. And some people who aren’t able to afford to take the initial pay cut at the great company may end up at a full-time position with fewer opportunities.

The trend has its limits though. Even though some grads might be interns for longer, legal precedent prevents companies from taking on part-time workers indefinitely—after a few years they become common-law employees, as Microsoft found out the hard way. Looks like even the interns will have to get jobs eventually.

Reader Comments

LB

August 13, 2009 08:26 PM

The prospect of doing an internship is not very appealing especially if you've done internships/co-ops for your program. You basically feel like you're going no where.

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Read daily reports and special features from BusinessWeek editors and reporters Lindsey Gerdes and Louis Lavelle about companies, careers, and other topics of interest to young professionals.

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