by Ross Perlin - £9.99 Verso Books (2012)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781844678839 | ISBN 10: 1844678830
The first no-holds-barred exposé of the exploitative and divisive world of internships.
Every year, between 1 and 2 million Americans work as interns. They famously shuttle coffee in a thousand newsrooms, congressional offices, and Hollywood studios, but they also deliver aid in Afghanistan, build the human genome, and pick up garbage. They are increasingly of all ages, and their numbers are growing fast—from 17 percent of college graduates in 1992 to 50 percent in 2008. Almost half of all internships are illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and this mass exploitation saves firms more than $600 million each year. Interns enjoy no workplace protections and no standing in courts of law—let alone benefits like healthcare.
Ross Perlin, an ex-intern himself, has written the first exposé of this world of drudgery and aspiration. In this witty, astonishing, and serious investigative work, Perlin takes the reader inside both boutique nonprofits and megacorporations such as Disney (which employs 8,000 interns at Disney World alone). He profiles fellow interns, talks to historians about what unleashed this phenomenon, and explains why governments in the US and Europe may finally be moving to rein in the internship boom.
The hardcover publication of this book precipitated a torrent of media coverage in the US and UK, and Perlin has added an entirely new afterword describing the growing focus on this woefully underreported story. Insightful and humorous, Intern Nation will transform the way we think about the culture of work.
(Price & availability last checked: March 2019)