LET THEM EAT INTERNSHIPS  2:39 pm December 14, 2012

America: Land Of The (Working For) Free

by Kris E. Benson

are there no workhouses?Yesterday we brought you the depressing story of a man who had worked for McDonald’s for twenty years and was still getting paid minimum wage. Now, of course, there is an argument to be made that it was kind of his fault that he was still getting paid minimum wage after all those years. Instead of continuing to work for McDonald’s, he should have gone to that one place where they just GIVE OUT JOBS to black men who don’t have college degrees — jobs that pay a living wage and have benefits and opportunities for upward mobility. Ha ha, just kidding, there is no Job Handing Out Place, not for black men or for anyone else, but there are places where you can BEG to work for FREE, and get a job where you work for FREE, but only if you are INCREDIBLY LUCKY and have NO LIFE and demonstrate COMPLETE FEALTY to your “employer,” only then will you get to work for free. See, doesn’t the guy working for McDonald’s for 20 years look like a genius now? This really puts things into perspective. Anyway, more about a fantastic opportunity to work for free:

Dalkey Archive is a prestigious small press that publishes poetry, as well as works of contemporary and classic works of fiction. And if you’re very, very lucky, and have no life, and don’t talk back, and are practically perfect in EVERY WAY, they will give you a job working for free. And if you REALLY REALLY deserve it, after an unspecified probationary period they might — MIGHT — just promote you to paid work. No guarantees though, OK?

Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.

Working for free is the new normal, didn’t you know? No really, it’s the new normal. From an article in Fortune magazine, wayyy back in 2011:

With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten so desperate that they’re willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right. “People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they’re going to outperform, they’re going to try to please, they’re going to be creative,” says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup….”Ten years from now, this is going to be the norm,” she says.

Maybe it IS the new norm ALREADY.  There are roughly 20 paid Reddit employees running a company that may be worth as much as $100 million or more . Wikipedia has 35 paid employees and the rest work for free as “moderators.” HuffPo has a small core staff of paid workers and the rest write for free. Pinterest has 19 paid employees and the rest of its content is generated for free by users. Tumblr has 18 paid employees, like Pinterest and Reddit, its content is generated for free by users.

So if you’re REALLY REALLY lucky, you can aspire to one day work for free, or if you’re EVEN LUCKIER, maybe you are doing it ALREADY!

[Salon]

 
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{ 112 comments }

comrad_darkness December 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a terrible thing.

Tommmcatt_Again December 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm

It's a necessary skill in our economy, which rewards sociopaths with high paying jobs and leaves anyone with scruples in middle management. This is called a "merit-based" system. Since we don't have unions in most professions we should get used to it.

HistoriCat December 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I begin to see the appeal of the Dark Side …

Oblios_Cap December 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

It's a plot to get people to be so desperate they'll join one of the armed services. Those trade wars aren't going to fight themselves now, are they?

Botlrokit December 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

As a writer for Wonkette, I haven't seen a damn dime.

To be fair, my submissions are only here in the Comments, but STILL…

NellCote71 December 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm

No snark. I know a freelance writer who fancies herself a "columnist" for HuffPo because she has posted comments and replies to articles written by someone else.

By that standard, I am a columnist for Wonkette AND HuffPo and am a former columnist for Gawker and Jezebel until their comment section got just too ridiculous to deal with. I am a future columnist for the New York Times, once I cough up the online subscription fee. Also, I am a writer for several smaller papers in my home state.

actor212 December 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hey, I'm a *syndicated* columnist, because two of my buddies took pity on my and let me repost my crap on their sites!

Botlrokit December 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Did she smell like cigarettes and like saying "goddamn" and "fuck" a lot?

Roger_of_Arabia December 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

I don't smell like cigarettes, I don't even smoke, you god damned mother fucker!

Doktor Zoom December 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

As a writer for Wonkette, I like my Old Handsome Joe coffee cup.

OK, and my generous compensation in Ameros.

Toomush_Infer December 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I'd feel bad about this, but I know the value of my submissions…

Guppy December 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I too am confident I am being paid exactly what my commentary is worth.

HRH_Maddie December 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Please, go easy on us today. I've got so much rage and sadness cooking right now that I am nearing a breaking point. Today should be a day of reflection, and ponies and Thanksgiving recipes.

corthylio December 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Not much for the ponies, but will be glad to share a nice butternut strata recipe which is great for T-giving or whenever you have a b-nut squash and no other plans for it: http://www.food.com/recipe/butternut-squash-strat

ETA: Now I almost feel like a real columnist on a real mommy blog. Unpaid, of course…

noodlesalad December 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

This sucks and all but I think every post for the rest of the day should be a call for Obama to fucking stand up and say something about guns. Obama saying something WOULD be a departure from politics as normal. Standing there and saying "today isn't the day" IS fucking politics as normal. Because it's never the fucking day, even when there are 18 dead children.

Sorry, I'm just so fucking upset about this. Back to the whiskey.

HRH_Maddie December 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

AMEN. Even though Jay ‘Today Is Not That Day’ Carney already came out and told us there would be no profiles in courage on the subject.

noodlesalad December 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Now it looks like he's going on TV at 3:15. Fingers crossed that he says something other than prayers, etc. etc.

Bring back the assault weapons ban, including extended clips. Bring back closing the gun show loophole. Make congress do something. 30,000 people were killed last year by guns. Jesus.

SnarkoMarx December 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I know how you feel. I live about 40 miles from where the shooting happend in CT. I'm at work and people are walking around looking like they're in shock. Those poor little babies.

red_kira December 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Yes yes yes I could not agree with you more. If I hear one more mealy-mouthed fair and balanced "it depends on how you parse the second amendment" piece of CRAP lame ass statement today I am going to… to…

Well, probably just drink more whiskey.

fuflans December 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

i cannot WAIT to start drinking in 3 hours.

Mittens Howell, III December 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I work for Wonkette for free.

They made me put a sign up in my own bathroom: "Employess must wash cheeto dust off hands before returning to work"

Bastards.

PopeEdgardo December 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

They also seem to expect us to pay for our own uniforms.

Naked_Bunny December 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

To be fair, it's just a G-string.

HistoriCat December 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm

That's why I stick to a strict "post while naked" rule. Although the emails I keep getting at the office are getting tiresome.

Jukesgrrl December 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Do you think Kathryn Jean Lopez and Jonah Goldberg have to do that? I THINK NOT! Fucking liberals and their rulez.

jello_mold December 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Upper class wannabe poets are assholes as a rule.

Toomush_Infer December 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Yeah, but so are us lower-class wannabe poets…

jello_mold December 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Assholes across class lines? That would explain Republicanism.

Toomush_Infer December 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Hmmm…I've always wanted to be a Zoroastrian, but really never could take the time to find out what it is….too busy plowing that poetry field for free…

GeneralLerong December 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Oh, but think of all the Very, Very Hard, So Hard Work that the 1% do to "earn" their millions.

WhatTheHolyHeck December 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Those tee times aren't going to set themselves.

calliecallie December 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

You know who else was required to work for free?

OneDollarJuana December 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm

But their skin made such good lampshades. What?

Mumbletypeg December 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Me?

Oh sorry. I thought it read, "who else works for freak"

bikerlaureate December 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Paul Rodgers?

corthylio December 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Every Mormon?

montreal_bruin December 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Alain Jourgensen?

mrpuma2u December 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Those 12 chumps that followed around that Jewish hippie back in the day?

RadioBitchFace December 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

To be fair, at least they don't have random drug screening.

Oblios_Cap December 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

yet.

Spider-Jerk December 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm

That would interfere with requiring you to moonlight as their drug mule.

Jason December 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Patrick Moore (whose picture you used) died earlier this week. He was an astronomer and television presenter.

actor212 December 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

And one helluva monoculist!

sullivanst December 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm

And loveable enough that I still couldn't bring myself to dislike him despite his xenophobia.

Also, influenced Brian May (yes, that Brian May) to go back to school and finish his PhD in Astrophysics.

Mumbletypeg December 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Thank you for that. He looked familiar, but I wasn't sure why/ how..

PubOption December 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm
Goonemeritus December 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Well at least this is the case of the rich sticking it to the kids of the rich for a change. I know it still sucks and it should be illegal but I felt way worse for Mr. Tyree Johnson.

decentcitizen December 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Actually, in most instances where practiced, it is illegal.

actor212 December 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm

there are places where you can BEG to work for FREE, and get a job where you work for FREE, but only if you are INCREDIBLY LUCKY and have NO LIFE and demonstrate COMPLETE FEALTY to your “employer,”

So, Wonkette?

Toomush_Infer December 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Is this the start of self-loathing?…

BigSkullF*ckingDog December 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

So we should start charging for our comments?

jodyleek December 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Commentators for Free Wonkette Mouth Panties Unite!

memzilla December 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I'm getting paid the same amount of munniez from Editrix as I got paid from Ken Layne, and I'm only using half of my rapier-like wit!

RadioBitchFace December 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Is that "technical" rapier wit?

Sharkey December 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

You should watch that rapier-than-thou attitude.

dr_giraud December 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

From the hugest multinational corporate octopus to tiniest nonprofit academic press in Champaign fucking Illinois, fuck-the-worker is the golden rule, and the grifting never ends.

calliecallie December 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Who do these poetry snobs think they are, anyway?

Oblios_Cap December 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

So the saying that "Hard work is its own reward" is a bunch of bullshit?

memzilla December 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

HORATIO ALGER LIBE…. er… truth. **sigh**

poorgradstudent December 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Holy crap, who drew up those rules for that publisher's probationary period? A Roald Dahl villain?

Mittaplasia December 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Soooo, when an employer has someone who will work for free, that isn't soshalism because freedom? Help me out, here, people.

actor212 December 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Are you STILL whining about that internship I offered you, Benson?

smokefilledroommate December 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

giving unsolicited advice about how to run things

I'd be outta there in 15 minutes.

memzilla December 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Why? Would it take you fourteen minutes to find your hat and coat?

Oh… bathroom break and sabotage. Got it.

smokefilledroommate December 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm

No, within 15 mins I would give them unsolicited advice on how to run things, and be subsequently canned.

memzilla December 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I figured one minute to give the unsolicited advice and get canned, and was wondering why you needed the remaning fourteen.

I myself would offer not only unsolicited advice — like, "You should go f**k yourself," but also unsolicited questions, like "Why don't you take a flying f**k at a rolling doughnut?," etc.

smokefilledroommate December 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

You're right! Yes, the remaining fourteen would be used to pilfer company property and bombard the bathroom with wet toilet paper wads.

not that Dewey December 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

"Hey, unpaid intern! How should I run things?"

smokefilledroommate December 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Are you soliciting me? For advice and stuff?

not that Dewey December 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm

"Soliciting" is a funny word. It means different things to different people.

mbobier December 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

“People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary…" Lady, do you hear yourself when you say these things?

Baconzgood December 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Wow! Work for free! Where do I not sign up!

memzilla December 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm

"Lincoln Freed The Slaves.

Your Boss Wants Them Back."

Monsieur_Grumpe December 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Apply now before the rush!
Mr. Obrian sounds like a wonderful person to work for.
http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/aboutus/?fa=Employme

memzilla December 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

And they'll only charge you cost-plus for the coal for your stove!

Beowoof December 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm

You have fellate the employer who won't pay you? Well that is the republican dream, mostly old white republican men, and they will want to return the favor. So I guess you are going to get something. Sorry girls these guys know what they like.

SayItWithWookies December 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

There's something familiar about that grounds for dismissal list — oh now I know — that's pretty much my workday.

Botlrokit December 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I heart you. You just made my day.

Mumbletypeg December 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Might as well add — "concur" — Dok's posts save my day when most or much else fails.

Doktor Zoom December 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Apply directly to visual cortex. (Not trolling. Not today)

Mumbletypeg December 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I like it. "Get broke or die trying!"

not that Dewey December 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Bust or bust!

E_Tx_Pines December 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I suggest we all send polite e-mails to Mr. O'brien in the style of classic literary characters:

"Please sir, may I put another shovel full of coal in the stove?"

PopeEdgardo December 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm

o.brien@dalkeyarchive.com

Dear Mr. O'Brien,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Eat shit and die. (Resume, writing sample and references to follow. Don't be alarmed at the ticking sound emanating from the package.)

fuflans December 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm

mr o'brien might be a good outlet for libtard rage today.

Antispandex December 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm

You know who else let people work for free?

CrunchyKnee December 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

The founding fathers?

not that Dewey December 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

The GuLag system?

CrunchyKnee December 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I guess I picked the wrong day to give up speedballs.

Caradeloca December 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I think anyone who takes the poetry mag offer is getting something else out of the deal in a "bad secretary" kind of way.

Lionel[redacted]Esq December 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

This is a brilliant move by Conservatives. If you don't pay your workers, there will be no money to fund the government, and it will colapse leaving nothing but the perfrect Randian state in its rubble.

I expect to see ALAC pushing its Right to No Pay legislation in the next year.

Mumbletypeg December 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Working for free is the new normal, didn’t you know?

Ask anyone down South why we're not all flocking there now to see how Georgia Works!

shelwood46 December 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm

You are on call 24/7, during which time you cannot take any calls or surf the net, ever? And speak only when spoken to, write shit that lives up to impossible standards, and most likely beg for potty breaks? Plus, no pay? Where do I sign up?

RadioBitchFace December 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

You think that's bad, you should see the healthcare benefits package. Poetic injustice.

BlueStateLibel December 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

An economy based on workers working for free – boy, that'll jump-start the old economic engine, sounds about as good as Trickle-On.

Toomush_Infer December 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Hey, I've been working for myself for years – not only don't I get paid, but my boss is an asshole! …(wanting to get that off my chest for some time, hope he doesn't read Wonkette)…

Callyson December 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

giving unsolicited advice about how to run things

Oh, and show initiative also, too

/FFS

doloras December 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Working for free has been the normal for too long for actors, musicians, artists etc. Welcome to our world, text-proles.

fuflans December 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

they get funding and have donors and are a 501(c)3. in other words a not-for-fucking-profit.

NPOs don't get to be assholes.

i said this earlier but we should direct today's libtard rage at Dalkey Archive.

NinjaCat_Baba December 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Work for free, wow! I'm free out of the country to another where I am finally working and paid a living, middle-class salary of that nation. A that is not paid in points given for writing a comment for Wonkette. Finally, my post-graduate education has finally paid off.

Roger_of_Arabia December 15, 2012 at 9:07 am

I can't imagine ever working in America again. In the Middle East they love Americans cause even us lazy ones feel guilty that we are expected to work so little for so much pay.

Fuck Toad December 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

"People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary"

Yes, literally, because they do not have "money" to buy "food", because their boss is a "sociopath" who will be put in the "stocks" come the revolution.

ETA: Also, employing people to do productive work for free in a for-profit enterprise is a violation of US labor law. So this Kelly Fallis sociopath has just admitted to running a criminal enterprise (50 unpaid interns!).

The best part of that article is this subhead: "The challenges of hiring and managing modern day serfs"

Jukesgrrl December 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I don't know a single person who has gotten a job in NYC or DC immediately after college who hasn't been financially subsidized by parents. And that's not a recent situation. It's been true for more than 20 years.

So, of course, only young people with parents of means can ever hope to work their way up the rungs of America's most influential ladders. And when THEY become managers they will expect free interns at the very least. Not only government, but industries like publishing and television, are incredibly dependent on free labor.

The university system has become equally guilty. Salaries for the non-tenured aren't livable incomes. I have a bi-lingual PhD friend who is a nationally recognized expert on existential French poetry and after years of teaching still has to have a summer job with her city's Parks Dept. to support her child.

Sorry for the lack of snark, but like many of you I'm not in the mood.

Roger_of_Arabia December 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

I noticed that hidden advantage for the privileged class when I was in law school in DC. We poor had to work menial jobs on campus while the rich kids got resume building internships.

Isyaignert December 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm

This work for free BS has been going on forever in the form of working through lunch every day, taking work home, thinking about work when you're trying to fap, etc.

jello_mold December 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

On call 24/7? Only when you pay me 24/7.

Me_K_Cong December 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

"While some businesses are wary of the legal risks"
Like the minimum wage laws?

Spider-Jerk December 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Fine print in the employment contract also gives the employer (can you still call them that if they can have you work almost 24-7 and don't pay you a dime?) all rights to your vital organs.

FeloniousMonk December 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm

John O'Brien, to the Irish Times: "But as I think we’ve known for a long time, the age of irony is dead, and I’m a fossil."

ttommyunger December 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I've never had much but always worked. I took whatever I could find when out of work, believing the best time to find a good job was when you were working. I aways thought first prize was the job but when I got fed up usually found a way to get the pricks to fire me, just because I've never had enough practice at quitting to get good at it and because I knew the prospect made them queasy. I've had some good bosses, but frankly, most were either incompetent, crooked indolent or worn out. I'd hate to think about being in the work force in today's environment.

Roger_of_Arabia December 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

I feel bad. I just got a job offer that pays $85k a year plus $5k signing bonus, free housing, utilities, car, health insurance, 30 days vacation and over 15 days a year holidays, and I'll work less than 30 hours a week. The only catch is it's in Saudi Arabia. America is only an idea that used to be.

Naked_Bunny December 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm

You should do that stuff first.

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