Every year, at least half a million Americans work as interns. They famously shuttle coffee in a thousand newsrooms, congressional offices,and Hollywood studios, but they also deliver aid in Afghanistan, build the human genome, and pick up garbage. They are increasingly of all ages, and their numbers are growing fast-from 17 percent of college graduates in 1992 to 50 percent in 2008. Almost half of all internships are illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and this mass exploitation saves firms more than $600 million each year. Interns enjoy no workplace protections and no standing in courts of law-let alone benefits like healthcare. Here is the first expose of the world of internships, by a brilliant young writer. A graduate of Stanford, SOAS, and Cambridge, Ross Perlin speaks eight languages. He is also a self-confessed serial internshipA" survivor who has held internships on three continents. In this witty, astonishing, and serious investigative work, Perlin takes the reader inside both boutique nonprofits and megacorporations like Disney (which employs 8,000 interns at Disney World alone).
He profiles fellow interns, talks to historians about what unleashed this phenomenon, and explains why six states and several European countries are debating legislation meant to rein in the intern boom.
Ross Perlin is a graduate of Stanford, SOAS, and Cambridge, and has written for Time magazine, Lapham's Quarterly, Guardian, Daily Mail and Open Democracy. He is researching disappearing languages in China.