Intern Life: Internships Then and Now

Thursday, August 09, 2012

copier machine (derekbruff/flickr)

New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse continues his series on internships, every Thursday in August. Today's topic: how internships have changed over time.

Comments [29]


Is the host as an intern? Because it didn't sound like an experienced host.

Aug. 13 2012 07:52 PM
Larry from New York

The colleges are the ones who should be taken to task. They discovered that requiring internships is a cash cow for them. The student must pay them a lot of money for 6 or even 9 credits to do the internship. Then, the curator or museum teaches them all the stuff their professors should know and do in the first place. Then the monitoring professor only has to read a report that the a student writes at mid term and one the institution is required to write at the end. They have to intern in order to graduate.......

I am an independent curator, working on book and exhibition projects. I have used both paid and unpaid interns over the years. I have been given funds for an intern, posted an ad and within a day had 50 responses. Then the museum cancels the intern funding and I have to write apologies to 50 people. 30 write back immediately and want to work for free.

Whenever I have an intern,I regard it more as a mentoring program. I choose work for them to do that will give them the set of skills that will make them most attractive for the entry level jobs they are applying for. Most of the museum/curatorial/art history programs even at great schools give them none of those practical skills. They can all do research already so that doesn't matter. I teach them to write for reproduction and publishing rights, how to draw plans for a gallery, etc. I ask them what they don't know and show them what they need to know to get their first job. And I write them glowing letters of recommendation. And we keep in touch - many for years. I have gotten my interns jobs at the Whitney, the Metropolitan, MoMA and into elite graduate programs that formerly rejected them. I would have liked to pay them cash, but they have always felt they got something of value in return.

Aug. 10 2012 02:20 PM

jaggerbuttzz ~

I believe we agree; your capacity is definitely best described as "crossing onto slippery ice!"

Aug. 09 2012 12:56 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Becky yet again

First of all, these days I "Bing" rather than "Google," and if you know how to cut and paste, please cut and post how exacttly early Black slaves got land if they were not initially treated as indentured servants entitled to some land after 7 years of servitude? How do penniless slaves from Africa get land of their own in those early days?

Aug. 09 2012 11:37 AM
The Truth from Becky

Dont be mislead young people, it is not "servitude" it is called paying dues it goes hand in hand with hard work! It is another way you earn respect.

Aug. 09 2012 11:34 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Dboy is getting nastier.

You try posting UNDER YOUR REAL NAME, as I do, and let us see YOUR "credentials" first, which I am increasingly certain you do not have.

Aug. 09 2012 11:33 AM
The Truth from Becky

@JGARBUZ AGAIN - I too know how too google and cut and paste. Keep googling you will find a more fitting answer to the question I posed to you. dboy is SPOT ON in his comment to you as well, you JBuz are one of many educated fools!! LOL

Aug. 09 2012 11:32 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Becky again

I have GIVEN YOU A REFERENCE BELOW. Try reading, if you can! While it varied from colony to colony, Blacks were mostly treated as indentured servants, often working alongside white indentured servants, until around 1705. That is why you have records of black landowners from early colonial days, some of whom owned slaves themselves! Read, Becky, read! Learn Becky, Learn!

Aug. 09 2012 11:31 AM

jbuttzz ~

Please entertain us with your very impressive CV...

Aug. 09 2012 11:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


You've crossed onto slippery ice! My "so-called degree?" You want to crosscheck credentials? You get nasty when you don't like my opinions or the solid facts that I produce to back them up! I suggest you try to stick to facts yourself, and produce valid credentials of your own, if you have any.

Aug. 09 2012 11:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

JGARBUZ - you can't give a straight answer to a straight question huh? Oh and by the by "I have my college degree" also but what does that have to do with the price of tea in china?

Aug. 09 2012 11:24 AM

jgarbuttzz ~

Your so-called degree is another fine example of how it's possible to be "educated" beyond one's capacity for actual intelligence.

Aug. 09 2012 11:19 AM

Mary - I did a career change internship (writing a book about it too) - highly recommend if you can do it. I interned in politics but ended up going into another industry. Only real way to learn about an industry's/company's culture.

Aug. 09 2012 11:12 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Becky again.

Basically, before 1705 blacks were still mostly indentured servants Then:

"All servants imported and brought into the Country. . . who were not Christians in their native Country. . . shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion. . . shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resists his master. . . correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction. . . the master shall be free of all punishment. . . as if such accident never happened."

- Virginia General Assembly declaration, 1705

Aug. 09 2012 11:11 AM
Mary from Murray Hill

I was really hoping to hear from someone who has done a mid-career / career change internship as it's something I have thought about doing to change careers. Anyone have experience with that?

Aug. 09 2012 11:05 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Becky

Look up black indentured servitude. If you can prove me wrong, please do so. I have my college degree in History, but I can't do everyone else's homework for them.

Aug. 09 2012 11:04 AM
Adam from NJ

Only the wealthy can afford to become unpaid interns. Only the connected can get the best internships.

Aug. 09 2012 11:02 AM

"Publishing execs in NYC are laughing..."

No one in Publishing is laughing. Their industry is on its last legs.

Aug. 09 2012 11:01 AM
The Truth from Becky

Young people should take internships paid or not. It is beneficial to yourself as well, you can determine immediately if you are on the right career path.

Aug. 09 2012 11:01 AM
NYC Publishing Biz Insider

Time Inc. for J School grads -- step 1: unpaid or min. wage intern doing real job; step 2: hired as consultant for up to 1 year as full time worker. step 3: hired after 1 year as full time worker at half the pay.

Conde Nast for J School grads -- step 1: unpaid or min. wage intern doing real job.

Publishing execs in NYC are laughing their dirty @sses off at how many different ways they can give the finger to alabor laws.

Aug. 09 2012 10:58 AM
The Truth from Becky

JGARBUZ - give me the time period when Blacks were "initially treated the same way"

Aug. 09 2012 10:57 AM
tim from here

I did an apprenticeship in Germany, it was a 3 yr program and a great preparation for the job market. unfortunately these program are not really recognized in the U.S. i.e. no college credit however for many students an apprenticeship would make a lot more sense than a 4 yr college. It's a great system but I think many U.S. employers would not want to commit to a 3 yr program.

Aug. 09 2012 10:56 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Apprenticeships are one thing; voluntary indentured servitude is another. We abolished involuntary servitude called slavery, but did we abolish voluntary servitude? Many white people came to this land as VOLUNTARY indentured servants who in accordance to biblical law, worked seven years with no pay, just basic food, room and board, and then were given land of their own after the 7 years were up. In the very beginning, even Blacks were treated initially the same way, but then bogus racial theories and distortions of the biblical text, was used to justify keeping Blacks in perpetual chattel slavery.

But internships, or voluntary servitude, is not forbidden by the constitution. If someone is willing to work essentially for free, what can be done about it?

Aug. 09 2012 10:53 AM
Seth Pecksniff

Are we highly over estimating the work ethic of young folks today??? The might learn a lil something by working for free for a while.

Aug. 09 2012 10:52 AM
Joseph Cavalieri from east village, NY

I am just interviewing an intern today at my glass studio here in Mahnattan, so it connects with the historic content you just spoke about.

Any advice for what employees need to know? Advice of how to choose a good employee...any paperwork needed incase the intern gets injured?

Aug. 09 2012 10:51 AM
Eric from Brooklyn, nY

We're in the middle of a historic jobs crisis and employers are looking for free labor. This is unethical, unsustainable, and unpatriotic. Anyone interested in upending this exploitative practice, feel free to check out:

Aug. 09 2012 10:49 AM
Sara Vasiliou from Brooklyn, NY

I have a lot to say on this subject having gone through three internships after college before getting my first staff job (which I kept for six years). I'm a native New Yorker and had to live at home during the intern phase since I couldn't afford to learn the skill set I wanted to learn while simultaneously have a money job. BAD SITUATION. We need more mentorships not internships. I totally agree with your guest!

Aug. 09 2012 10:49 AM

Unpaid internships for credit whilst in school - fine.

Unpaid, post school internships are unmitigated KRAP™!!

Yet another example of how Korporate® Amerika exploits!!


Aug. 09 2012 10:46 AM
oscar from ny

..and the worst is when theyre racist and treat you as tough thyre doing you a service..poor sharks..

Aug. 09 2012 09:34 AM

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