Should You Consider an Unpaid Internship?
Some compensation in return for the hard work during internships is always appreciated. However, this isn't always the case in Pakistan.
Internship should be an opportunity that provides a learning experience. They’re meant to give hands-on experience and give a taste of professional life to the intern. It should be more about learning, processing and absorbing all the necessary information during the internship period. Some compensation in return for the hard work is always appreciated. However, this isn’t always the case in Pakistan.
There are way too many unpaid internships, which are the reason behind exploitation. If you’re willing to go for an unpaid internship, then make sure that it’s worth it. You need to analyze whether that internship will benefit you in the future or not. If you’re not economically stable, then maybe look for paid internships or other opportunities which may provide you with some cash.
In Pakistan, I’ve seen students accepting unpaid internships but they’re not getting anything great in return other than an experience letter. It’s saddening to see that they invest so much time, effort and money just to get a piece of paper. They’re exploited to the max and don’t get any benefits or learning from it. It’s just a mere experience to fill up their resumes.
You should accept unpaid opportunities only if you believe that the experience will teach you a valuable lesson. Most small firms offer unpaid internships, but they’re willing to provide you with hands-on experience of how a small firm works. They’ll teach you and give more exposure than any multinational firm. Sometimes the unpaid ones have more perks and benefits but that’s quite rare. Usually, it’ll be big names that will have some added benefits as a part of their unpaid internship program. Smaller firms tend to offer more exposure, experience, and decision making perks in their unpaid internships.
The benefit of paid internships is that your interns will be more dedicated and devoted to their work. Hence, leading to better results. They won’t feel like they have to invest a lot in transport and everyday expenses won’t bother them much. Most students are not privileged enough to afford an unpaid opportunity as it’s a luxury. The employer may lose a good candidate that would’ve become a vital part of the company because of no compensation as traveling expenses are too high in Karachi. One cannot simply rely on Uber or Careem even if they live nearby.
I believe that there should be some stipend at least that would cover traveling costs. This would encourage more students to come out of their homes and kickstart their careers. If an employer isn’t willing to offer a stipend, then they should agree upon flexible hours. It’s not fair to provide neither flexible hours nor stipend to a student as it’s very demotivating.
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