Tag Archives: unpaid internships

Smartphones Are Making Us Dumb… Unpaid Internships Are Baaack… The Selfie That Won’t Die

Smartphones Are Making Us Dumb

People are so attached to their smartphones that over half surveyed in a Gallup poll say they couldn’t imagine their lives without one and psychologists say that’s not good. Research is showing that the phones ferret their way into our psyches so the brain actually becomes dependent on them, in turn weakening our intellect.

Scientists have known for years that just the sound of a smartphone ringing causes distraction, poor concentration, and even a rise in blood pressure and pulse rate. Worse, the anxiety of being unable to answer a call reduces the owner’s ability to solve problems. Some researchers call this “brain drain,” which negatively affects learning, logical reasoning, abstract thought, and creativity.

Social skills suffer from using the devices, too. Even when talking face to face, smartphone users are itching to check their newsfeeds on their phones, making the actual conversations less meaningful and unfocused.

The phones’ appeal—constant availability of information, portability, and entertainment—is the very aspect that makes them what one cognitive psychologist calls a “supernormal stimulus” that can unduly commandeer attention.

From The Wall Street Journal

Unpaid Internships Are Baaack

After years of progress making internships fairer to young people seeking workplace experience, the US Department of Labor has issued new guidelines making it easier for companies that want to hire interns for no pay. The change reverts to rules that favor employers who can once again hire interns as free labor.

Previous rules required internships to meet six criteria that prohibited employers from taking “immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.” The new rules say an internship does not have to meet any threshold; it merely needs to be justified on its own merits.

The updated guidelines allow an employer to argue that even if an intern is completing low-level tasks with no supervision, that individual benefits from learning about how an industry works, thus making the unpaid internship legal. However, many employers are taking precautions and are paying interns minimum wage to avoid possible legal repercussions.

From Los Angeles Times

The Selfie That Won’t Die

Those temporary selfies, the ones that disappear? Not so temporary, it turns out.

The entire purpose of apps such as Snapchat and Instagram Stories is that they only allow viewers to see an image for a few seconds before it disappears. However, researchers are now saying that once those not-so-professional images are seen, they’re hard to unsee.

Because the so-called disappearing selfies are considered safe, people sending them tend to take more risqué snaps or other photos they wouldn’t send if they knew the picture would be more permanent. The researchers explain that viewers of these images can’t seem to forget them, leaving a lasting impression of the sender’s poor judgment.

The addition of screen-capture software compounds the problem, which becomes most dire when potential employers see the photos. At best, says one researcher: “[Prospective employers] might just think if you look uninhibited, you’re an idiot, and they don’t want to hire an idiot.”

From Harvard Business School



Internships Under the Microscope

shutterstock_253848799 [Converted]Obtaining internships has become as necessary to college students as the classes they take or the books they read. But these experience builders, especially unpaid ones, have come under the gun as many lawsuits brought by unpaid interns weave through the court system. So how can instructors help students manage the internship quagmire?

First, some facts. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted research that shows a strong correlation between a student having an internship and receiving a full-time job offer before graduating. Therefore, encouraging students to go for these internships is a given. However, the correlation between internships and job offers does not exist if the internship is unpaid. NACE has not conducted research analyzing whether unpaid internships lead to job offers after graduation, however. Therefore, no actual figures can back up the notion that unpaid internships lead to job offers,

In policy papers, the NACE has stated that both paid and unpaid internships should provide positive learning outcomes such as practical experience, perspective on career options, and obtaining networking contacts. If students can land paid or unpaid internships that offer tangible lessons, they should jump at the chance, NACE suggests. Still, students taking unpaid internships should be aware of the Fair Labor Act standards governing the organizations that offer unpaid internships. They are:

  1. The internship must be similar to training in an educational setting.
  2. The experience must benefit the intern.
  3. An intern must not displace regular employees and must work under close supervision of staff.
  4. The employer offering the internship derives no immediate benefit from the intern’s activities; in fact, the internship may actually impede operations occasionally.
  5. The employer offers no guarantee of a job following the internship.
  6. Both intern and employer understand the intern does not receive payment.

These strict rules and the recent spate of lawsuits surrounding them have put both employers and colleges on guard. Many companies are starting to pay interns to avoid facing lawsuits. But others, such as magazine publisher Condé Nast, have opted to stop their internship programs altogether. Some colleges are paying more attention to protecting their students from unfair labor practices by insisting the company proves the job meets the Fair Labor Act standards. However, not all colleges have taken this step.

The legal scrutiny of internships has affected the number of positions available, making them harder to obtain. Still, they remain an important factor for résumé building and job preparation.

Below are resources for students looking for internships.

  • Glassdoor, the job review site, names its picks for the 25 best companies for interns in 2015. Facebook tops the list, followed by Chevron, Google, QuickenLoans, eBay and Yahoo!
  • Quint Careers offers a free e-book, The Quintessential Guide to Finding and Maximizing Internships.
  • Web resources for students looking for internships:

interninc connects students, employers, and universities in a social networking platform.

internJobs.com  provides access to a national database to search and to post résumés.

internmatch offers a large selection of paid internships.