You are finally done with your masters. Drowning in thousands of shillings on student loan debt, but never the less done. You are now looking for a job. Constantly flipping through the classifieds. At this rate, you are probably predisposed to arthritis on your fingers as a result of all the miles you have clocked scrolling through job sites on your phone.
Then one day you see it! A coveted internship opportunity and you have all the qualifications right down to the master’s degree requirement. Then you see the dreaded words: “This position is unpaid.” Not even a stipend is offered. This is regardless of the fact that the internship is to be undertaken in an obscenely expensive city.
You start wondering what these CEOs smoke nowadays. It seems like they live in a bubble where everything is free. As if they have not seen the price of milk. Or maybe they think your mama mboga gives interns a discount on tomatoes and sukuma wiki.
Right now you can barely afford the data bundles necessary for your desperate pursuit of employment. You have to pay your rent, matatu fares hike at a scary rate and you probably won’t afford to have any lunch throughout the internship period. But nope, the position is unpaid. It is as if these internships are only meant for the elite. After all, who else in this economy who can afford to work for free for up to 3 months?
You start wondering whether the internship will be of any value to you. Will you spend your days photocopying papers, serving tea and running errands? Will you learn anything of value? Just last week you read a Forbes article that says that you are unlikely to get a job after working as an unpaid intern.
At this point you are frustrated. Baby boomers are constantly writing off millennials as entitled and whiny but at the same time readily exploiting them and even replacing employees with unpaid student interns. You are baffled at the audacity of some huge companies to offer unpaid internship positions.
You then remember the gruesome fact that as an unpaid female intern, you are hardly protected by the law. You are predisposed to sexual harassment at work and you most likely won’t be able to do anything about it. This is the final straw for you. With a defeated sigh, you put your phone aside. You decide that you would rather sell slimming tea and waist trainers on Instagram. Anyway, an unpaid internship is an insult to your hard-earned master’s degree.
This article was written Capital Campus Correspondent Garnett Achieng.