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Old 12-20-2013, 04:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default does one jeopardize the now or the future?

Recently I just got accepted to be an intern at one of the best marketing firms in my city and it starts in January ( ends in Mayish ). I will be working 2 days out of each week for 6 hrs. I am not sure if this is a paid internship but I have a feeling it isn't. I currently work in construction where my company 'bids' on up incoming commercial projects and it is something where my company needs me there to answer phones and deliver bids ( during bid days, our office ( total of 4 people ) pretty much shuts down to focus on the bid and I am the one who runs the office ).

These bids normally fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays...the days I am scheduled to intern ( very rarely does it fall on any other day of the week ) . My current company is okay with me not being here on days that aren't bid days and the marketing firm is aware that there are bid days ( I just have to give them a weeks notice ) but the problem is that right now, it is looking like my current company will be bidding a job every week or every other week....so there will be a time where I will have to tell one company " Sorry!! Can't be there that day ".

Which leads me to my question: Does one jeopardize the company that pays my bills/food ( the now ) or the marketing firm ( the future as they could hire me after my internship )?
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Last edited by Jaders; 12-20-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Before deciding, I'd do a lot more digging about the expected future value of the internship. Does this firm hire interns for paid positions? How often, and to what positions? At what pay rate? If they don't do a lot of hiring from former interns, do other firms in the same business hire those interns? (If they're actually learning anything useful and/or networking effectively, one would expect the answer to be at least "sometimes.")

In other words, will you be either (a) getting onto the employment ladder at this firm; or (b) developing marketable skills and worthwhile connections in the field by taking this position? Or are you just going to become a convenient source of unpaid labor, to be replaced by some other intern when your work period is over?

All internships are not created equal. Some of them are really valuable but many are not. Some of them are ways for the office to evaluate whether they want to hire a prospect (my office does this) and some are just unpaid temps.

If you can, talk to former interns -- not just one, but several -- and get a real sense of whether they felt the experience was worthwhile or a waste of time. If you're thinking about giving up paid employment to do this, especially paid employment that you actually need to pay your bills, it better really be worth the opportunity cost.
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