An internship is a good way for an individual to get their foot in the door for a chosen career path after getting out of college.
Volunteering appears to benefit the company that is being helped and the clients that receive the volunteer’s contributions.
Where it gets sticky is when people work for free at a job they already have. What do I mean by this? Going above and beyond your job duties to show upper management you are more valuable to the company. But what if there is no chance of upper movement, raises or praise?
The third option tends to be the case for me and many working class Americans now days. I am currently employed as an Employment Training Specialist and help adults with disabilities gain work skills to one day be employed at a job of their choice. This field of work is a government funded non-profit company in California and of course is constantly being cut due to state deficit issues.
In December I completed an “anonymous” survey pointing out that without the chance of a raise, upward movement and acknowledgement I would do only what was in my job description and nothing more. I wanted to point this out to them because I wanted to show them that they employ the quality people they can afford. If this company only pays $12.25 per hour with no chance of quarterly or yearly raises, why would I or anyone do more work than what was in our job description?
Last week my boss wanted to discuss what I had said in my anonymous survey (how he knows it was mine is unclear). He asked me, “Would you work harder if you got paid more?” I did not hesitate and answered with “Yes”; I was surprised that he would even need an answer to that question. His jaw dropped a little, and he looked almost horrified by my answer. I said that without motivation, you are never going to retain the employees that care about the company, because they are getting the same treatment as those doing the bare minimum to keep their job.
A few days after this conversation he told me that everyone in my department getting the same rate of pay as me would be getting a raise. Why everyone I thought? I am the only one who had the female balls to bring a very important issue to the attention of management.
In the end, my thoughts are that management and the head honchos of the company scare their employees to work for free. They can get away with this because people are in fear that if they say no to a request that they will lose their job and be like many other Americans who are unemployed. I believe that hard work and courage to say what others won’t should be rewarded because if they are not it leads to the end of people striving to make a difference.