Friday, July 22, 2005

Interns: Cheap Labour

I've just read an advertisement for placement opportunities at a new magazine here in London. Yes, they are offering work experience for brilliant design students, generously helping them to gain knowledge of the publishing field by getting hands-on into magazine design.
The truth is unfortunately far-removed...
Having been interviewed by this same magazine a few months back, I know that they are actually understaffed & overworked, and it seems they are not willing to pay a second designer to join their permanent team. The answer is simple, it being a solution devised by many employers to exploit the endless new crops of unemployed and desperate designers: cheap labour under the appellation of 'Placement' ("Travel Expenses Paid" -- wow.)
They had almost given me the job, but resorted to someone who already had experience in magazine design (which I still hadn't at a time before D&C). I had sensed that the magazine would not be able to cope with just one designer, and I hoped that they would eventually contact me to join their team: a logical development for the escalating growth of their new publication. But they have resorted to slavery, and I see myself denied a job.
Maybe placements become a pool for recruitment, and could eventually lead to a permanent position, if one shows merit. But that is very rarely the case, seeing that designers hop from one placement to another after graduation, in a series of unpaid CV-building intern positions.
I count myself lucky to have had a callback as freelancer after D&C, but that was my 3rd placement, and I've got a 4th one in December. Yup, there even are waiting lists for design slavery.

1 comment:

The BAG said...

Given the obvious sensitivity, writing ability and keen eye of both Suffragettes, I think any employer would be crazy not to recognize the opportunity to put such talent to its fullest use. Good luck on your blog. It has an honesty, simplicity and vividness that seems effortless-- making me feel as comfortable and familiar as another flatmate. Like any good literature, the discussion is about life simultaneously large and small. I was made anxious by your creeping anxiety over the bombing, and I too felt so satisfied by that moment of self-satisfaction. (I also felt momentarily youthful by your rainbow.)

I wish you both the very best of luck (and skill) in all things. Whether here or elsewhere, do not stop writing!