@Never for Money @ilovetobudget I asked those questions not because I was curious, because I thought others might be. And Mary does have her own blog; she does tell those stories her way. There are firsthand accounts out there if you want them. I'm not looking to please those who are looking for that.
@Marzipan Consent to being unpaid. In recognising the lack of wages, they should've recognised their entitlement to lack of real responsibility. Though I complained about being bored/useless, that's the way an ethical internship should work. Interns are superfluous. It should be a largely learning, not working experience. The line between a useful and useless internship is not all that unclear. If they're making you fetch dry cleaning, or coffee, or photocopies multiple times with nothing else on the horizon, it isn't going to go anywhere. Likewise, on the other end of the spectrum: you KNOW they're giving you too much to do when you're working overtime. Perhaps I've just been lucky, but all the places I've ever interned at were extremely clear as to the boundary between an intern's responsibilities and an actual employee's. I'm not blaming the interns' naivete entirely for the situation––obviously they were taken advantage of––but it really isn't that hard to realise when you're being used. They were not helpless or enslaved. They could've left, or quit.
Hi James. You make a really good point––one that I wish I'd touched upon in my own piece. My problem with the Heart and Black Swan interns is the matter of consent. The Hearst employee worked there for an entire YEAR. That's a long time to be putting up with the crap she was subjected to. Ben Weitzenkorn's piece in the Observer (http://observer.com/2012/06/this-article-may-be-illegal/) mentions not suing because of "a combination of loyalty—however misplaced—and the hope that maybe, just maybe, if I bust- !@#$%^&*, without pay, for just a little bit longer it’ll get me on staff." I feel like for a lot of us unpaid interns, that's the route we've chosen to take. But I can't fathom their endurance of shitty treatment, then going back on their word of consent then suing because they didn't get what they wanted out of it. That's what I disdained. I do feel like we owe it to ourselves to change something; it is a flaw in the system. I was lucky to get more pros than cons out of my experience, not to mention my being able to afford it in the first place (thanks, mom). I just don't think the Hearst and Black Swan interns are doing it the right way, either.