Procrastinating from work, I spotted that Jezebel was looking for interns. I expected the entry requirements to be written in a sassy tone, but I wasn’t expecting to get mildly depressed from reading it.
Aside from the fact that the prospect of working with a bunch of snarky, sassy, and savvy ladies and gentlemen is somewhat daunting, what really got to me was that the direct and personal tone of the call for application, while doing away with cold heartless corporate-speak, essentially became a guise for telling prospective interns to their face that they’ll be exploited as an intern and should be grateful for this because they’re vying for the opportunity to do something they “love.” This excerpt gives an idea of what I’m harping on about:
"Do you find yourself getting up early and obsessively sifting through headlines? Do you love being assigned random tasks and errands? Do you dream of fourth-floor walkups and a tidal wave of email? Most importantly, do you want to be schooled in the art of whatever it is we do?"
Wouldn’t it be clearer and more efficient if they’d simply written “Do you really really, and I mean really want to be our little bitch?" The call for apps then goes on to tell the reader that "You will be compensated (barely)" - yeah, very cute - and that you should "Also include detailed information regarding your location and availability — mornings, afternoons, certain weekdays, ‘round the clock, whatever." I have to love the bold text. Reading the “‘round the clock, whatever" part, I wondered if this was plucked from the world of The Devil Wears Prada…at least an Anna Wintour would make you do these things without wasting breath to tell you how wonderful it is to do them.
I guess it’s nothing new that the journalism world is full of over-worked and underpaid ppl who are “passionate” about what they do, and that without this passion, you don’t have what it takes. But just because the profession works on exploiting passion, does it mean we have to celebrate this exploitation?
I feel that our generation has been bombarded with messages of fulfilling yourself through work - women in particular. Unlike those before us though, we’re usually not quite content with this rhetoric - we want a balance of working at something we consider meaningful, developing close relationships with those around us, and simply being able to be at leisure and do whatever the heck we want or do nothing at all.
Working oneself to oblivion in service of a profession just seems to be such an archaic and barbaric principle. Perhaps I’m sounding like the decadent and indolent European that I am and am not; but seriously, passion gets you only so far. Living gets you the rest of the way.