Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How Dare You Ask Me to Work for Nothing?!

HAHA. I love this man. Harlan Ellison is a writer but his experience with employers trying to use his services for free is so similar to what lawyers are currently dealing with that I had to share this video with those of you who haven't seen it before. Job ads for lawyers to work for free, for $10/hour, and even for room and board are becoming commonplace these days. And these firms often demand that applicants graduate in the top of their class from top tier schools, have experience, and admission to bar. Maybe someday more people can be like Ellison and tell these employers to take a long walk off a short pier, but I doubt it. Things aren't going to get much better in the coming years and we'll see a lot more graduates who are currently in school to wait out the recession doing absurd things when they enter an already over saturated job market. Sad.


9 comments:

  1. Good god, thank you for posting this. This student went to see Career Services awhile back and got a bunch of crap about 'unpaid internships' and how they 'could be a great opportunity'. Blow it out your ass. I'd rather toss my 'broad, interdisciplinary, go-anywhere' (read: interesting but semi-useless) liberal-arts education out the window and schlep as an electricians' apprentice than work an unpaid internship.

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  2. Isn't that great? If you like that excerpt, check out the whole DVD ("Dreams with Sharp Teeth"). A little Harlan goes a long (long, long) way, but I love his position on this, which informs my own "I bill for every piece of paper I touch" attitude every day.

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  3. If the posters at the ABA Journal saw this, they would smugly tell Ellison that he is a loser with an unfounded sense of entitlement and that he should stop whining about how people want him to work for free and get off of his derriere and take his God-given talent and go make something of himself. They would tell him to find his passion and to follow it, and that he should beg for a job by humping hiring manager's and CEO's legs as they walk out to their cars in the parking lot.

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  4. I freaking LOVE Harlan Ellison. LOVE LOVE LOVE. He is my little old man crush. Mostly because of Babylon 5. My husband is in the entertainment industry (nothing so glamorous though -- he's in post) and deals with this s*it all the time. People think you would be so damned honored to work on their P/a little project that you'll just give it away. No thank you sir.

    That is all.

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  5. People who have never had to work for a living always say you should volunteer and that's how you'll get a job. What a pile of horseshit. Most of us were more marketable before law school, had internships during law school, and then became less employable. Actually the dropoff even came within a year of being at law school, because it shows you're damaged goods.

    Any smart employer looks at volunteer work, and if the person doesn't have a paying job they realize this person is a sucker and gives things away for free. Why would you trust an employee like that, who values their own services so little they won't charge for it, who else would pay for those services then?

    Whenever anyone asks me to do anything and they don't discuss compensation, I always automatically state emphatically the line my character used in Fallout 3, a simple "I don't work for free."

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  6. Working for free doesn't lead to a job - I interned for free for 6 months and when it came time to hire they said "we only take from the top 5 law schools."

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  7. I've never worked at an office for free. I even turned down paid internships this year because they told me flat out that it wouldn't lead to a full-time job. Think about it. If the employer is so stingy that they won't even pay you a decent salary for an internship, what makes you think they'll be generous to give most of their interns a full-time job with benefits rather than hire more temporary wage slaves? I've had many paid internships and they are only good for resume filler to show that you haven't been sitting on your ass every summer or after graduation. But rarely do they lead to a job in this economy unless you have close family or friend connections with the power to influence hiring decisions at the company.

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  8. Harlin Ellison comes across as a true d*ck -- the doctor gets paid for taking out your spllen "ONCE" Harlan already did the interview and got paid for it -- now he wants to get paid for doing NOTHING --- he is just like a lawyer who bills 3 hours for preparing a settlement agreement after writing the names of the parties in th blank spaces of a form

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  9. Funny and true.

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