This September I will start my second and last year as a graduate student. Which means I should start looking forward to my future prospects as an employed human-being. And search I do. And it turns out to be one impossible journey, even in the land of opportunities and growing economy – China. I would like to point out one huge huge annoyance that I bump into everyday on my searching spree.
While looking for job or any kind of position I had to first give up one the so-called starting positions, which usually ask for 2-3 years of work experience. Therefore I turned to the land of internships. Turns out that nowadays the requirements and application process for simple internships is getting more and more absurd. Some ask for 40 to 50 hours a week, while not giving an money whatsoever. Some ask for several years of experience, which is what the internship is ought to give. And some have interviews upon interviews. Is this the new form where you need to be experienced before getting further experience? And when will I have time to finish my studies with the 40 hour week. Don’t forget, you need to get the money for food, accommodation, and transportation, too.
Is volunteering the new internship? Seems so. A lot of organisations have offers for both internships, which are basically full-time jobs without contracts, salary, or benefits, and volunteering positions. These seem to resemble part-time internships, more focused on project work, and easier to apply, as they do not ask for three recommendation letters. 20 hours per week for basically the same management, administration, marketing, or any kind of experience definitely works for me.
But wait, volunteering does not equal volunteering, as one major international dream organisation has show me. It has internship position, yes, unpaid, in extremely extensive cities, without benefits. It has proper job positions, of, course, but you need minimum of 5 years of specific experience for them. And then they have volunteering. With special requirements. It asks for experience of 2-3 years and minimum of 25 years of age. Oh, damn this.. Now to voluntarily help people I need to be specialised in it? Payment? Forget about it..
These results of the searching for a position have truly disappointed me. I question whether it is the career type that I have ever chosen guilty for this. Whether the job market is going insane. Or many organisations have noticed that by calling a simple “assistant” position an “internship” you can save a whole lot of money by simply not paying, because the new currency and salary for us graduates is experience and recommendation letters.