Posted by Brian McCullough
Quick, what’s the hot new trend in internships? According to Newsweek, it’s paying thousands of dollars to “internship placement services” to help you get your foot in the door.
How much would you pay for a career-making internship? $500? $2,000? Try $6,000. That’s what a growing number of students are paying to secure coveted summer spots with Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch, Tommy Hilfiger and America’s other leading companies. (…) Meritocracy isn’t dead, but it may be losing out to a handful of internship placement services that promise career-enhancing opportunities-for a price.
I beg to differ. If meritocracy isn’t dead, it’s certainly clutching it’s chest and gasping for air.
So let me get this straight. If you want a decent upper middle class career these days, you gotta shell out tens of thousands for private schooling, thousands for test prep and study courses… hundreds of thousands in tuition to a decent college, hundreds of thousands more in student loan interest payments… and now you have to pay to work for free?
Does it ever seem like we spend all our money to have a chance to make money… only to spend that money paying off the debts incurred at the beginning of the process? And then we have to do the same all over again for our kids.
You know where this is going to end up, don’t you? Eventually the companies will cut out the middleman. Is it so important to you to intern at Merrill Lynch or Google? Can’t start a career without our connections? Pay us to work for us, then. Pay us for the chance to impress us.
Still, for all my (obvious) bitterness and cynicism… an internship placement service is probably worth it for a lot of people. If the world we live in demands that you pay to play, then you’d be foolish not to. Like the “right” alma matter, the right internship can be a key stepping stone to a career. If you can increase your odds, then it’s money well spent.
As much as it pains me to say that. What do you think?
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