Let’s Hear It For Cheap Labor

Man oh man, do the young bucks have to pay their dues nowadays in what is to be considered (and, you’ve all heard it) the “Worst Economy in American History”. Now, believe it or not, I feel for the younger class of young, wide-eyed hopefuls moving up the ranks, trying to be who they are meant to be, but I will say that this overworking of free hands is kind of the pits. Here’s why…

When I was clocking in as an intern close to 10 years ago in college, I remember thinking, “Everyone is so nice – I hope I get a job.” Now, when I hear stories of current interns, PAs or any job of any kind with a twenty-something filling its shoes, I hear the same story: “I’m exhausted, overworked, not even recognized as an employee and underpaid.” The New York Times did a piece on those ambitious twenty-somethings willing to bite the bullet, work the hours and have their pay incredibly docked all for the experience. Or shall we say “experience”? Does a PA that gets coffee everyday at 9am really learn anything? Some would say yes, others (in higher positions) would say, “Who cares?” That kind of free labor (“free” being an operative word) is exactly what the Times is saying deserves a little nod of appreciation.

The generation under us is doing what they are supposed to be doing at that age, sure, but when we did it years back, it was under such incredibly different conditions. At least some of us got work out of it, no? Now don’t get me wrong, some people do acquire a professional lead taking on the hours, sacrificing their social life and really letting the big wigs walk all over them, and for that, we say Thank You. Without you, a lot of work most can’t get to wouldn’t get done. But you are hearing this “thank you” from me. Not your boss. Don’t get the two confused.

And as the Times notes, GIRLS isn’t falling too far from the truth tree when it comes to a generation sort of well, lost on what the next life step is because there isn’t as much professional opportunity out there as there used to be. And, with that in mind, the endless cycle of rotating twenty-somethings to work harder, longer and for less continues. We just thought we’d let you know, we know.

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