Maybe we’re looking at working for free from the wrong angle?

When you work normally you’re paid in money.  When you work for free you need to be paid in some other kind of currency - and I think it’s important that you make sure that this happens.  But the question is what kind of currency that should be.

For a while I panicked when I realised that the currency wasn’t necessarily going to be a job, and it drove me mad when my dad repeatedly shouted at me that I was looking at the situation wrong.  ’You shouldn’t be thinking about jobs‘, he said ‘you should be thinking about how you contribute to the world’. Or something like that, something that sounded annoying and like he totally didn’t know what he was talking about because he’s way further down the line and can’t remember the pain of starting out in the working world.

Maybe he has a point though.  Maybe this is the time to build up our own abilities as people, so that when we go into interviews not only can we say ‘look here’s proof that I can use Excel’ but also we’ll be more interesting, with honed attitudes and sharpened minds.

I have been doing a lot of script reading - not strictly an internship, but working for free nonetheless - and initially I thought I was only doing it so someone would somehow and for some reason start paying me.  Then I spoke to a woman who talked about it as a way to get better at thinking about scripts and story structure.  I felt ashamed that I’d missed the point and had been only greedily looking to the short term goal.  She’s right, I have improved, and it makes a part of me - the part that wanted to work with scripts in the first place - happy and fulfilled.  Doesn’t mean I don’t still want a job though.

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