I know I've talked about this several times here, especially at the beginning, but I just wanted to take a moment to write a short post to show you all the math and economics of what unpaid internship really is.
So by the syllabus I have to work 18 hours a week for 11 weeks for a total of 180 hours ( know...it doesn't add up). This kind of matches what I did when I was actually in class, I went to school 20 hours a week and each semester was about 6 weeks long.
My hours at the restaurant have been as follows:
Week 1 : 32 hours (14 hours over)
Week 2: 34 hours (16 hours over)
Week 3: 28 hours (10 hours over)
Week 4: 28 hours (10 hours over)
So in total I have worked 50 hours over what I am supposed to have. Now the school says if you work over then the employer should pay you the difference in hours, my employer has chosen not to pay me, they claim this is just school. The average Pastry assistant or sous gets paid $9/hour if we only calculate the overages in what I have worked compared to what I am supposed to work then that is a gross total of $450 of work I have done for free ( I'm sure it would be significantly less after taxes).
In DC $450 would have been half of my monthly rent, here in Alabama it is that following things: my car payment, my cell phone bill, my credit card bill, a tank of gas, a week of groceries.Because I have worked all these extra free hours I have been unable to find a job that will pay me to work, and yes I know that it is all about the "experience" but to be honest I'm not sure I want to put the restaurant on my resume. Not that it isn't a great place but I'm hesitant to list them when the pastry chef spends more time telling me how I'm doing things wrong then how I'm doing them right.
This week I am scheduled to work 36 hours, which will put me at 156 hours completed of an 180 hour internship that was supposed to take me 11 weeks and instead will take me six. Which is five weeks of absolutely free labor that the restaurant will gaining (since I have to work the remaining 5 weeks to make 11). Five weeks of labor, at about 28 hours a week (which is the minimum they will work me) is another 140 hours, so basically I will have completed almost two internships in the time I was supposed to complete one. For those hours at a paying job I could expect to be paid $1260 gross, roughly one third of my five thousand dollars tuition for this semester.
So lets add it up. By the end of this I will have paid $5000 plus $1710 in lost gross wages for the privilege of working for free so that I can graduate with a diploma, not an associates, not a bachelor's but a diploma.
How is that for math?