I never thought I would disagree with Graduate Fog. Tanya writes a lot of good stuff and best of all, writes honest stuff. But in this case I have to disagree.
Graduate Gog responded to a BrokeInLondon.com advert. You can find the full response here.
In summary what Graduate Fog is saying is, it doesn’t matter that BrokeInLondon (BIL) does not generate revenue at the moment and the person running it does not take any money. Irrespective of BIL making money or not (which they are not), they cannot hire unpaid interns. The founder working for free does not mean the workers have to work for free as well. If a business isn’t making money or pulling in investment, it’s a poor business idea and no one should do unpaid internship for such a business.
I have few comments on this, and this isn’t anything against Graduate Fog. I just can’t make myself agree to the latest argument by Graduate Fog and in a nice way here’s what I think.
1. Unpaid Internships are bad… but could there be a test period?
There is no arguing unpaid internships are bad and they really do make my blood boil. No question about it. But I dislike unpaid internships because
i) Businesses offer unpaid internships who generate revenue – that’s unfair
ii) Unpaid internships are often selling a lie that it will turn into a paid job
Now, in this case BIL isn’t making any money. Forget making money, it isn’t generating revenue. The guy who runs it doesn’t get paid… so realistically, I wouldn’t expect to be paid if I was working for BIL. Is it right to treat a business which makes £100,000s+ in revenue not paying interns the same way as someone who makes nothing but dreams of creating a successful business?
My answer is No, I am afraid I wouldn’t treat them the same way.
2. BIL has responded with something… is it right to blast them for that?
Graduate Fog has named and shamed many businesses who hire unpaid interns which is quite frankly exploiting vulnerable unemployed people. Anyways, whenever someone comes back they come back with a spokesperson trained to speak garbage going blah blah blah blah blah.
In this case BIL has come back laying it’s points and saying what it is doing and why it doesn’t pay and who it doesn’t pay. And Graduate Fog has responded by mocking the letter and the thoughts behind it. Why not draft a full response and counter each point sincerely rather than mocking a site that doesn’t generate revenue?
Maybe I am wrong, maybe the best way to respond to small startup sites like BIL is to mock them and make them feel they should’ve just shut their mouth and carried on.
3. BIL isn’t Graduate Fog or Career Geek
Career Geek is a failure when it comes to making money. I could never get it to generate sustainable revenue and all my grand plans failed because I could never be bothered trying to pull in investment.
In that sense Career Geek is a failure. I keep talking and doing everything on my own + give space for others to share their views on the blog.
Graduate Fog – Tanya does all on her own too. Pretty much the same story as me. However I don’t know what her business plans are, her revenue etc.
Essentially CG and GF would not hire unpaid interns to grow and all that sort of stuff.
But BIL isn’t one of us. It is a new site trying to build itself… maybe we should give it some leeway. Knowing my own failure in ever becoming sustainable, I am a lot more sympathising to small startups who could really make it if they could put some time to build proper traction right at the start.
So that’s my view… the truth is, when it comes to unpaid internships I am on the same side with Graduate Fog. And even after this, I don’t disagree with Tanya’s sentiment. If there is someone who you should listen to when it comes to action on unpaid internship it is Tanya of Graduate Fog.
However, this time, just this one time I think BIL didn’t deserve all of the harsh criticism.
p.s. to BIL – if you guys don’t generate revenue or pull investment in the next 12 months – the idea is not viable and it’s best to shelve it.