THIS WEBSITE WILL NOT WORK WITH COMPANIES WHO ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM
Today, Graduate Fog announces that this site is no longer a member of the Internships Alliance.
Although it’s still my opinion that the next move forward for the unpaid interns’ debate is to involve businesses, it’s also my opinion that the members of this Alliance are not the right group for the task.
Did you miss last week’s drama? I’ll fill you in…
Basically, I made a massive schmuck of myself by announcing to the world that Graduate Fog was a member of a new interns’ rights pressure group called the Internships Alliance – before being informed by you lot that:
1) Luther Pendragon – the PR firm running the Alliance – is currently advertising for their own unpaid intern
2) one of the other members (Inspiring Interns) earns fees for themselves from finding interns for their clients – but the interns themselves then work unpaid.
Egg. On. My. Face.
I take full responsibility for the fact that I did not know either of these things until that moment. I should have done my homework better. I was naive to assume that everybody in the group had the same values as me.
Had I known either of these facts up-front, I would never have agreed to become a member of the Alliance.
For me, this information changed everything. I became uncomfortable about being a member of an organisation that I no longer trusted. If Luther Pendragon and Inspiring Interns weren’t who I thought they were, who might the other people be that I’d carelessly aligned myself with? How exactly were members being selected and approved?
I emailed Robin Kennedy – boss of WEXO and founder of the Internships Alliance – explaining my concerns and requesting that the Alliance:
– Finds a different PR firm to run the campaign (or tells Luther Pendragon to start paying their interns)
– Removes Inspiring Interns from the Alliance immediately
– Draws up a list of criteria that all new members of the Alliance must fulfill
– Conducts an assessment of the existing members’ eligibility, using the above criteria – and
– Reorganises the membership approval system so that all new members must be approved by existing members.
Unfortunately, Robin said he was unable to agree to these terms.
So – as they say on Dragon’s Den – I’m out.
I really am sorry for the way this episode has panned out.
I genuinely think that a group of well-intentioned businesses from a variety of backgrounds could bring a great deal to this debate and ultimately put more weight behind the fight for a fairer deal for interns.
But in my opinion the Internships Alliance isn’t it.
Perhaps another group like this will emerge, this time containing only organisations that genuinely want a fairer deal for interns? In which case I would love to be part of it.
In the meantime, I have learned the hard way that I must be more careful in future about who Graduate Fog gets into bed with.
I hope that Graduate Fog’s users will forgive me and believe that my only crime was sheer dumb-arse stupidity.
And I hope the fact that I am just about to receive several angry phone calls and emails from members of the Alliance – all furious about this post – will prove that I’m on the level.
(Robin has already warned me that “No one likes a turncoat”. Nice).
Wish me luck.
I am a doofus.
*Did I do the right thing?
It’s lonely up here! If you have a couple of minutes, please share your thoughts. Thanks!