11 Internship Horror Stories

The Worst Internships in America

Like many recent college graduates, I’ve endured my fair share of internships. I was fortunate enough to have a pretty good streak, doing real work at interesting places with bosses who took a genuine interest in my career and still serve as mentors for me today. But then I interned at a certain New York newspaper (that shall remain nameless) during my last semester in college. For this position, I travelled all over the city to “report” on stories -- and once had to go to four of the five boroughs in one day. I say “report” because the truth is for much of this four-month internship, all I really did was stand on the street, waiting. My internship started just after Heath Ledger died, so it was up to us interns to lurk outside the homes of his friends, family and employees for eight hours or more each day (in the middle of winter.) The hope was that one of them would show up so I could ask how they were doing.  Thankfully, no one ever appeared on my watch, and even if they had, I'm not sure I would have learned too much… except perhaps how to behave very, very insensitively. Frankly, the only thing I did learn was the limits of layering. At a certain point, your body is cold regardless of how many sweaters you wear. But it’s important to remember here that I, like many interns today, was not paid a dime for my efforts. This has particular implications because these days, for many companies, the word “internship” has become synonymous with “free labor.” It wasn’t always this way… Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography