It’s great to be back! Like last time, it’s going to be way too short and crazy busy, but I’m at least going to visit some of the museums this time. I’m in Brooklyn this time and it’s been great. I ran around Prospect Park twice this morning with my iPod on Vampire Weekend (who I see Thursday!) and I was once again reminded why I love this city. It’s a totally different experience than staying in Manhattan in a 10th floor Upper East Side apartment with a Central Park view, but I like the view here better.
Well, last night the September 11th lights were on. We decided to fire up the grill, enjoy the early fall weather, and watch the lights until the wee hours of the morning. It’s a hauntingly beautiful display.
I am surrounded by such a variety of people that it never ceases to amaze me. I know people in med/dental school, Ph.D candidates, teachers, pre-school teachers, marketing professionals, retail sales specialist, social media specialist, pro athletes, and a lot of art and design professionals/hobbyist. I’m sure if I think about it, I know someone in whatever field someone suggest. Needless to say, I know a lot of people. And for the most part, people from all professions are the same. One thing that we all share regardless of our profession is the fact that we do it for money. That’s not to say we don’t do our jobs because we want to… if you don’t, you might need to reevaluate what you are doing in life, but the honest truth is, we do work for pay.
And that’s what keeps bothering me about today’s work environment. Entry level workers are expected to work for free on the idea that through internships we gain experience. Yes, I agree we gain experience, but so does a 30 year veteran of a profession. That being said, I am not totally against internships. They are valuable experiences. I am against internships. The difference? An internship is position for someone to learn about a field and decide if it’s right for them. It may last 2 weeks or 6 months, but it’s not free work. An internship on the other hand is pretty much free work. It’s not a learning/exploratory experience, it’s just free work.
The Art and Design Field is a notorious range of professions where internships have always existed. And Craigslist seems to have acted as the strongest catalyst to this exponential growth of internships as much as anything else I know of. Common pitch lines promoting gigs as “ways to get your name out” and “potential for future paid work” are everywhere. Sometimes these types of gigs really do pay off, but for the most part, it really means, “do work for free.” And the sad part, it often works. Photography is especially bad for this. If I counted the number of post and pitches I have seen asking for this type of work… People want high quality work, but they undervalue photographers almost universally. I hate to break it to people, but cameras, lights, computers, and software are not free. Nor is the time or talent it takes to make the most of technology. Offers for “exposure” don’t pay the bills. Yes, photographers may be inclined to do pro-bono work, but don’t expect them to. Think about it this way, when your car breaks down, do you expect your mechanic to offer their time and parts for “exposure” or the “potential to be considered for pay work in the future?” Or your doctor? I didn’t think so.