The pub quiz saved my life

My advice to anyone reading this- do your damn internships during your university holidays. The financial support you have from your loan at least gives you the guarantee of some money when you start term again. Doing an internship after university is more of a lottery. There is no guarantee that it will lead to a job, and little chance of income if you don’t work like the devil on evenings and weekends or have family to support you.

I’ve spent the last 6 months doing two internships, one for a charity and one for an MP and I’ve really enjoyed both of them. They have boosted my confidence, given me the chance to meet lots of interesting people and I have genuinely learnt a lot. They also represent my commitment- hopefully someone looking at my CV will think, ‘yes he knows what he wants to do - he’s spent 6 months trying to prove it with internships’. But financing them has been tough.

For my MP I worked from 9:30 or 10 in the morning till often 7 at night. Then I would tube around London to any one of innumerable pub quizzes I host each night to make ends meat. I would often be home after 12. This isn’t to make a stoke broker’s wage – this is just to scrape by.

pub quiz winners looking happy

pub quiz winners looking happy

There needs to be a redefinition of the status of the intern. The state needs to recognise that we are doing a useful activity which will, if all goes to plan, lead to a job, but that we are not getting paid. Interns cannot claim the dole unless they have been unemployed for 6 months, this is ridiculous, an internship is concrete evidence of a desire to be employed. It is active job seeking.

I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing during my internships- writing press releases, meeting interesting people, thinking about things that matter- and I don’t regret making the effort to move to London and work long hours. But I am glad that there has been press about this issue because it needs attention. I worked at least 42 hours a week for no money - something’s not right with that sentence…

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