Working for £1.10 an hour

I've now done four internships. 

2 unpaid. 2 'paid'.

The first internship I did was after my first year of university at a PR agency in London. The internship was a week long (yes, really only one week) and it was unpaid. It cost me £92 for the privilege of doing so. I had to ask mum and dad for help. 

There was no alternative. 

The second internship I undertook was at one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world. It was unpaid. For two weeks it cost me £190. I was lucky my student loan bailed be out on this one. But, I was living at home.  

There was no alternative.

The third internship I took was a more senior internship and lasted just over two months. I was paid £100 a week. This breaks down to roughly £2.50 an hour. My travel was £56 a week so I was taking home £44 a week. Thats £1.10 an hour. I'd have to work four hours just to afford a Starbucks Latte. I was bailed out by Mum and Dad.

There was no alternative. 

The last internship I took was in New York. You would think I would of learnt by now... But no I was being told to get as much experience as I can. This internship was in the heart of New York City. It was again 'paid' at $200 a week and this equated to $5 an hour. If you know anything about New York you will know that a weekly metro card is $31. I also had to pay an extra $90 a week as I was commuting on the LIRR. Leaving me with $79 for food and everything else. I hustled for money and ran a camp and what not. But ultimately I was bailed out by Mum and Dad.

There was no alternative. 

"Sam stop being so ungrateful it's the way it is and you have a pretty solid resume".

Fuck that. 

I can tell you exactly what I did during those internships. I wasn't being used as productively as I felt I could've been. I filled a seat most of the time. I was frustrated and agitated. I asked and asked to do stuff. But, there comes a point where the world just see's you as an 'intern' and has no idea what you can do. 

Heck one I quit early because my line manager basically ignored me for three weeks. 

Yes I got experience. But, only because I had the ultimate stability. Financial. 

That's pretty fucked up.

Not everyone is fortunate to be in a position like me. I've seen students who have some of the most amazing minds and work to boot. But, they come from a disadvantaged background. 

And no this isn't you should bide your time. 

At age 22 your self worth should be so much higher not diminished. You should have experience and be well on your way. Not starting from scratch. 

It's because we have created laws, loopholes and a fucked up society accepting free work. We see numbers and profit as everything. We don't see the people. We don't care about them. We ask them to leave their problems at the door. 

"You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care for is yourself". - George Orwell 1984

^Rings a little close to home. Right? 

There's an alternative. 

Spread the message. Create pressure. Change your views. Become empathetic and pay it forward. 


Because that's all we have.




Sam CheemaComment