Archive for the 'PR' Category

Secret London

Has anyone been invited to join the Facebook Group Secret London? I have, about 12 times. It’s a community for Londoners to share the secrets of the city and has attracted 180,000 members in a couple of weeks.

What’s this got to do with internships? Well, according to the Times, it was part of a great facebook race Saatchi and Saatchi, the ad-agency, created for its potential interns.

Saatchi announced that its 10 unpaid six-week placements would be given to those candidates who successfully jumped through a sequence of ever-higher hoops in a process that has been described as “a cross between Big Brother and The Apprentice”.

The first “challenge” was to create a Facebook group with as many members as possible in less than a month. Online carnage ensued as 800 rival groups sprang up with a variety of names that included innumerable variations on “Let’s help Haiti”.

Tiffany Philippou, who left Bristol University six months ago, was one of them.

Remember, all this is just for an unpaid intern placement. Astounding. Especially when only 4 of the 10 interns chosen are likely to get jobs.

Mayfair intern

I came across your website since having some serious issues at my current work place. It helps to let it out!

After graduating in July 2008, I had already prepared some work experience for the end of the month in a very prestigious and independent shop in the heart of Mayfair (family connections).

The first month flew by as I put all my effort into being delightful and eager, with the chance that my hard-work could land myself a job. I managed to part-succeed, gaining a great relationship with my two bosses. So much so, they wanted me their full time.

As time went on, my honeymoon with London started to take its toll and after 3 months of unpaid work I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. The money issue also became a big problem. My parents were funding me to live with the hope of great things and it took all my courage to ask for a little bit of help from my boss’s. It was November at this point and my parents were struggling. I asked whether I could have a little bit of money for travel expenses or to work three days a week to try and get a paid part-time job.

Continue reading ‘Mayfair intern’

The Sincere Qualms of a Middle-Class Graduate

An unemployed graduate is writing about their struggles to get paid employment over at this blog. Sound familiar?

So this week has been an awfully busy week considering my severe lack of paid work. Having completed my time at the charity last week I was left with nothing to do. However, with the optimistic idea that ‘experience on the cv will lead to a job’ in my mind I decided to hunt for something to do. I have recently decided that PR isn’t fulfilling me enough…by this I mean it is not fully-filling my wallet…in fact traveling to my many unpaid work placements is actually emptying it.

People who pay for internships are lazy

Regarding the current BBC news article ‘Intern fees: ’salt in the wound”, I would like to express my views on the positivity of such internships. I am a graduate currently in a very successful internship that I found through the Government’s Graduate Talent Pool.

Having graduated in 2008, I took a gap year to travel the world. On my return this summer I had intended to start my career, ideally in the Public Relations industry. However, due to the current economic climate I found jobs hard to come by and those that I did apply for required vital industry experience. I used the government’s Graduate Talent Pool to find a suitable internship to suit both my needs and those of my employer. I am currently working on a temporary 3 month contract as a PR and Marketing Coordinator for a very small business. Most notably however, I am being paid. Although it may only be the minimum wage, it is priceless experience for a graduate in this ever-increasing competitive environment. I am gaining the skills, training, insight and routine of the industry while my employer gains a willing and keen staff member at a small cost. This ‘on-the-job’ experience has already proved to be advantage as I have since been successfully called for interviews, at which I have been able to communicate my active current role and enthusiasm, all of which I gained from the internship. If you look hard enough and are determined, there are internships that will value graduates.

And to those who pay agencies to look over their CVs and train them for interviews for extortionate fees, surely it shows little initiative, laziness and stupidity. What employer would want to employ them anyway?

Even prostitutes get paid…

I’ve been working as an “intern”, (or if you prefer, substitute the usual ‘unpaid, unappreciated, exploited office helot without whom the entire company would implode’) in a business organisation  for the past 3 months. Technically, I should be getting some specific experience and in fairness I have been, for a given value of ‘some’. The trouble is all the other stuff I’ve been asked to do. Like organise and book my boss’s holiday, book restaurants for his friends, find tickets for shows, go to the supermarket, squeeze fruit into juice for 5 hours for a cocktail party etc etc. My boss once made me go to the cash machine, and honestly I have never been so tempted to commit a crime in my life.

The most recent outrage He Who Must Not Be Named has perpetrated was to ask me to track down a certain kind of foodstuff as a gift for some friends: and this item, believe you me, is rare as hen’s teeth. Probably rarer. So I call up Harrods, Harvey Nicks, Selfridges, all the major supermarkets and some of the minor ones too. No go. Then I trawl through the internet. No luck, except a cash and carry who demand you buy 100 of them. For a moment I’m tempted to do so, just to see his face as 100 of the dratted things are unloaded into my his hallway. Most people by this stage would give up, but my boss is made of sterner stuff; that sort of attitude did not win us the Empire. No lily-livered surrender for them. He Who Must Not Be Named resembles an angry deity, propitiated only by the sacrificial sweat of their workforce. Boss decides that the thing to do is to ring up the factory where it’s made –in China.  He reasons that everybody speaks English these days so they must have someone who can help. With some scepticism I call them, and sure enough the person on the other end of the line has no idea what I’m saying and eventually I thank them for their time (in English, since my school didn’t stretch to Mandarin) and hang up. I’m told to send an email, which I duly do. This saga has started to haunt my waking and sleeping: I’m so irrationally stressed about it that I’m almost weeping in frustration. This is compounded by being sent texts about it at 9pm on a Sunday evening, for example.

I have a Master’s degree from Durham and this is what I’m reduced to. Like an idiot, or a masochist, I take it, partly because I’ve been brought up to be helpful and partly because I’m so desperate for a job now that I’d probably Morris dance naked on the House of Commons roof if it meant someone would offer me one. I’m terrified that any refusal will lead to a terrible reference, so my boss can dangle the prospect of a permanent position at the end of this stint (which, incidentally, has no official end date, so I could be working for free forever or until I find another job), ensuring that I never refuse to do anything, no matter how absurd or mundane. In the meantime I am effectively paying, since I have to pay for my own travel expenses, to have my dignity and self-respect peeled away, layer by layer, as though flayed alive. Even prostitutes get paid for their services; interns have to pay their punters. And meanwhile employers still want their pound of graduate flesh, and we still give it to them.

I want a cocktail

I want a cocktail

The Diary of a PR Intern: Play the Game

I have just completed a lengthy (6 months +) internship at a well-known PR agency in London, and have come to the conclusion that Interns are a commodity – to be bought at the lowest possible price, and if not sold on, then discarded when the need for them wanes.

This may sound very cynical, but this should be an indication of how my period as an Intern has affected me! I busted a gut for a company I believed would be likely to take me on permanently after a period of about 3 months, but this never came to fruition, and I am now back on the job (or cattle) market.

Continue reading ‘The Diary of a PR Intern: Play the Game’

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