Grad scam alert: there is less to some internships than meets the eye

Here is an infuriating story from The New York Times about prestige internships that are really just minimum wage grunt jobs without the wages.  Take fashion merchandising graduate Melissa Reyes, who landed an internship with the Diane von Furstenberg fashion empire in New York City:

She often worked 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., five days a week. “They had me running out to buy them lunch,” she said. “They had me cleaning out the closets, emptying out the past season’s items.” Asked about her complaints, the fashion firm said, “We are very proud of our internship program, and we take all concerns of this kind very seriously.”

The takeaway from this? Go ahead and apply for unpaid internships, but ask for specifics about what you will be doing, and keep in mind the Department of Labor’s six rules for this kind of work:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If the description of the internship you are offered doesn’t bear much resemblance to educational training, you probably want to think twice about joining that particular team.

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Beware of ‘bait and switch’ law school tuition scholarships

I’ve already written about the soberingly bad job market for new lawyers on this blog. Since my last post on the subject, the situation has gotten even worse. Here’s The New York Times on the subject in January:

a generation of J.D.’s face the grimmest job market in decades. Since 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished, according to a Northwestern Law study. Associates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated.

But wait, it gets even worse, the NYTimes has just released a disturbing expose on law schools that give students first year tuition scholarships, tell them that they can keep the scholarship as long as they keep their grades at a B level or so, but don’t tell them that many of those recipients lose their grant right quick.

At Golden Gate and other law schools nationwide, students are graded on a curve, which carefully rations the number of A’s and B’s, as well as C’s and D’s, awarded each semester. That all but ensures that a certain number of students — at Golden Gate, it could be in the realm of 70 students this year — will lose their scholarships and wind up paying full tuition in their second and third years.

Think law school is a sure bet to a great career? Read on.

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The Tyger, by William Blake


“The multiplication of values that buying on margin made possible in a rising market worked with impartial and fearful symmetry when values were on the way down.” David Kennedy, Freedom From Fear, page 38, paragraph two.

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Job market for new lawyers worse than ever

From The Wall Street Journal.

“The situation is so bleak that some students and industry experts are rethinking the value of a law degree, long considered a ticket to financial security. If students performed well, particularly at top-tier law schools, they could count on jobs at corporate firms where annual pay starts as high as $160,000 and can top out well north of $1 million. While plenty of graduates are still set to embark on that career path, many others have had their dreams upended.”


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Henry the Cat becomes Youtube/Droid X camcorder star

My cat Henry is obviously a little skittish about the smart phone exposure, but she gets back to her nap soon enough (yes; Henry is a she. It’s a long story).

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Wired Nation

New Politics 117 “Wired Nation” site is up! Check it out here.

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Facebook privacy

As UCSC students know, I’m very concerned that they use Facebook and other social networking sites in ways that don’t jeopardize their safety or employment prospects. Jacqui Cheng over at Ars Technica has an excellent guide to best Facebook privacy practices here. Please read it ASAP.

On a more amusing note, here’s a video about the iPad that I found very salubrious.

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Hello Spring quarter at UCSC

Welcome back everyone to the Spring quarter here at UCSC! Apropos of nothing, I think this cat is being very patient with the bird attacking it. My office hours are 11 am to 1 pm on Thursdays at Stevenson 280.

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Remembering Coney Island

As a very young child, I was lucky enough to  visit Steeplechase Park just before it closed down in 1964.

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A very interpretive re-enactment of the Pullman Strike of 1894

The Andy Warhol version of the Pullman strike.

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