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How can I get out of this mess?

  1. Feb 15, 2012 #1
    I applied for plenty of intern jobs and I have an interview for a 6 month placement today but I just realized that it is UNPAID. I can't do a 6 month unpaid intern job, how would I survive? The interview is in 6 hours. I could obviously do a terrible interview but I doubt anyone else is applying for an unpaid job like this so there isn't exactly going to be any competition. Should I just explain the situation to them? That I didn't realise it was an unpaid placement until the last minute and wouldn't be able to survive without an income.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2012 #2
    Unless they offer you the job then and there (which isn't really fair of them to do anyway as they should know you have applied to a bunch of places) then what's the harm in doing the interview, and just not accepting the job at a later date?
  4. Feb 15, 2012 #3
    In my college, if you refuse a job after being accepted, you fail the internship module. There isn't any good way out of this mess, I contacted the coordinator of the module and they told me not to waste their time by showing up for the interview but I am now suspended from the module. I can still pass it though so its not too much of a problem. This is the second time I started one of these pointless threads asking for advice on a matter too urgent to wait for replies for. Maybe someone will find the thread educational if they happen to find themselves in a similar situation, otherwise mods feel free to delete the thread.
  5. Feb 15, 2012 #4
    That sounds like a load of crap to me (as far as the coordinator is concerned). I don't see how you can force someone to accept an unpaid internship by threat of failure. Anyone higher up you can speak with? A department head or something?
  6. Feb 16, 2012 #5
    I won't fail because of this, I just get suspended from the program for 2 weeks which means I can't apply for any jobs or get any interviews until then. I shouldn't have applied for the job in the first place but since it was a pharmaceutical company, I automatically assumed it would be a paid position and didn't bother to read the text more carefully. I don't know how they can expect someone to work for 6 months without pay. Its difficult enough for people to survive WITH minimum wage jobs, with no wage, it would be impossible.

    EDIT: If I actually had done the interview (its a good thing I rechecked the job description and found out it was unpaid) and got the job, I would have failed by refusing to take the job though. The companies that offer unpaid internships should be a bit more reasonable. I would have gladly worked until my semester is over for no pay but I depend on the summer to make money for the following year of college and do other things that I don't have time for during college time.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  7. Feb 16, 2012 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Some people have enough money saved up, or have parents who are willing to support them during the internship.
  8. Feb 16, 2012 #7


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Unless somebody forced you to appliy for the unpaid positiion, what has anybody done that is unreasonable? It costs companies money to have interns disrupting the rest of their workforce, quite apart from the cost of paying them.

    Welcome to the real world, where signing up to something without reading the small print is usually a bad move. If it us only going to "cost" you two weeks of hassle, just treat it as a learning experience and move on.
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