Confidence coach seeks unpaid internGURU’S NINE-MONTH PR JOB PAYS EXPENSES ONLY

* UPDATE! Annie Ashdown has just announced she WILL pay this intern if the role goes ahead. See Comments below this post *

A confidence coach and author has posted an advert for a nine-month unpaid PR internship, apparently unaware of the crushing impact that working for free can have on young workers’ self-esteem.

Annie Ashdown – who specialises in ‘confidence, self-esteem and success’ and whose latest blog post was titled ‘How to spot manipulative people’ – is seeking a PR, marketing and communications assistant to help promote her coaching and public speaking business. The assistant must have experience and will also help with social media. Yet the remuneration is stated as ‘expenses’ and they will work remotely, meeting Annie only occasionally at her private members’ club in London. Here is the advert in all its glory:

Annie Ashdown internship advert

We wrote to Annie, to explain what is wrong with her advert:

To: Annie Ashdown
From: Graduate Fog
Subject: Your unpaid internship

Hi Annie
I have seen the advert for your PR, marketing and communications intern, advertised on It seems like an excellent opportunity – but can you explain why it is an unpaid position?
Also, it seems ironic that you are an expert in self-esteem, confidence and success, yet you do not intend to pay this person for their contribution to your business. Many unpaid interns say it is extremely demoralising knowing they are working hard but receiving no wage, and this chips away at their self-worth. What is your response to this?
I will be blogging about this tomorrow so would appreciate a swift response from you if possible.
With many thanks
Tanya de Grunwald

Minutes ago, Annie Ashdown wrote back:

To: Graduate Fog
From: Annie Ashdown

Hi Tanya

Thank you  so much for flagging this up as it’s the first time I have placed an ad on this site and obviously  in haste  I wasn’t clear with my offer.

I get constant requests from people via social media & email to mentor them. I prefer to do my own social media,  however I was happy to offer my services as a mentor  in exchange for  someone to do my social media for a few hours a week.

My offer was  most certainly of good intent, but once again I thank you for flagging this up.

Annie Ashdown

We replied:

To: Annie Ashdown

From: Graduate Fog
Thanks for this Annie.
So are you saying you will re-think this and the role will now be paid?

We’ll let you know when we hear back. As ever, Graduate Fog is mystified as to how any employer can feel that taking someone’s labour for free is a fair or reasonable thing to do. We also know that working for free for prolonged periods can have a deep psychological impact on many graduates’ sense of personal worth (as well at their financial worth). When you’re not being paid, it’s easy to assume that both you and your work are worth nothing. Of course, neither is true. It just means you’re working for a cheapskate employer who wants to get something for nothing. Graduate Fog has passed the advert to our friends at the campaign group Intern Aware, who will send it to HM Revenue and Customs for further investigation.

Do you find it ironic that a confidence coach is recruiting for an unpaid internship? How would you feel differently about your internship if the role was paid?

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap