My eternal love and devotion to whoever added the Simon and Garfunkel reference to the tags.
By stuffisthings on A Conversation with Helaine Olen About the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industrial Complex
@highjump That's the point though, "spend less than you take in" is fine in theory, but if you take home $900 a month and your rent is $650 you're still probably going to have a problem, especially if an unexpected expense blows your budget.
For law school, college, and med school, I feel like these costs and complexities are a huge barrier for low income/ first generation students. Yes, there are ways around them, but they require more forms and essays with additional deadlines. Once you are accepted people start to look out for you and there is financial aid, etc. I wasn't very low income, but was a first generation college student and I specifically recall not applying to as many colleges because I didn't want to ask my parents to pay $50 to 8 colleges instead of 4. I didn't take SAT or LSAT prep courses because the costs just seemed unreasonable. Luckily for me I was privileged enough that I didn't panic in the tests and did fine without the courses. But it was certainly luck and privilege that allowed that. It takes a student of extraordinary grit to be low income and "first generation" and decide to go to college or professional school and then apply for all of the waivers and scholarships on time and correctly.
This is not surprising. A friend of mine was hired over a year ago - when she was hired, the department head was also trying to hire a manager for her team. Over a year later, he still hasn't found his perfect candidate. Meanwhile, she's had to work with no leadership or direction for pretty much her entire tenure, and with her department head expecting her to fill in "in the interim" for the duties the theoretical manager would be doing. I think employers lean hard on the fact that employees are terrified to speak up and will do the extra work without complaint, making the company feel that there's no rush and they have the luxury of waiting around for the perfect unicorn candidate to fall into their laps.
@WaityKatie That isn't at all true though, plenty of "boring" jobs expect and get a steady stream of unpaid interns too. Internships are increasingly a mandatory step to getting a bachelor's degree in all fields, and as The Billfold has often reported, the overwhelming majority of jobs are filled through personal connections, connections the average twentysomething only has a hope of obtaining through interning, volunteering, or other unpaid work. It's a "choice" only insofar as you think being employed at all is a "choice."
@WaityKatie I actually was a little annoyed that the article made it sound like this only goes on in the creative industry. I've had three unpaid internships: one at a non-profit, one for local government, and a third for a private engineering company. This is the new norm, and it doesn't get much better once you are working in many jobs (even of the "boring desk" variety). I saw an article the other day about company layoffs even though many of the places made profits - they said they could do it because of "increased productivity", which I think for a lot of people means "I'm going to make all of my exempt employees work 70 hours a week".
@E$ Yes, and even if the marijuana WAS illegal, I think there would be a real debate for a lot of people about calling the cops. You've put in tons of long weeks working for this person in hopes that their reference and the experience gets you a job someday. Do you really want to call the cops on that reference/networking figure? Not saying it is right, but it can be hard. It's because of the power dynamic that people agree to work without pay for forever in the first place.
@BillfoldMonkey So much of why we accept this kind of treatment of "glamour industry"/culture industry employees is because they're a kind of pink-collar ghetto of care workers for the egos of the money people or the artists themselves. Laura Miller said it about book publishing (and better than me), but it applies pretty widely: http://www.salon.com/2010/05/05/men_don_t_read/ When you think that people deserve to be treated shittily because they're in a "glamour job," think about how badly they would be treated doing the same kind of administrative, "caring" work for less glamour.
@WaityKatie I understand where you're coming from (and after reading articles like this I am glad that I am not trying to break into any "glamour industries"), but: people working long hours with no or little pay is still a labor rights issue. Just because they *could* be doing something else doesn't mean they aren't being exploited at their current jobs. I mean, we could play this game all day, because most exploited workers in this country are not actually being forced to work their jobs. That doesn't mean their exploitation is trivial. Also, I think it's pretty clear that the kind of exploitation experienced by young workers in publishing and media may be different in degree from what other workers experience, but it's not different in kind. People in these industries know they have a glut of experienced workers, and they take advantage of it. So do people in many, many other industries. People (especially young ones) in "boring desk jobs" are facing a shitty labor market with falling wages, longer hours, and lack of job security too.
@WaityKatie However, the alleged point of a unpaid internship is that an intern is learning about the industry, building experience and connections, possibly getting college credit, heavily supervised/mentored and not taking a paying job away from a qualified adult. Way too many of these "interns" are either doing work that should come with an actual salary, or being conscripted into doing stuff that has nothing to do with learning about their chosen field. It's exploitation and it's wrong, no matter how eager the participants. And given the current unemployment rate, I'm guessing there aren't as many "boring desk jobs" some of these young people could be doing instead as you think.