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Unpaid Internships - Are They Worth It?
July 22, 2021 at 6:30 PM
by Devayani Bapat

It took you years of hard work, sweat and tears to get done with your architecture degree. There were sleepless nights spent, sprawled on the floor, a creative block knocking your brain out, cold. Endless hours were spent stressing over group projects that required coordination, persuasion, and that extra effort. You’re finally out of University, ready to take on the world by storm. You’re all set to sketch, design, create and build the career of your dreams. Remember, you’re worth it.

You get a call from the HR manager at the firm, “you’ve been shortlisted for an interview” they say. Your happiness knows no bounds. You get together your best formals, research the heck out of the firm, have all your answers prepped, and are pumped to ace your first shot into the real world of architecture. Let's fast forward to the day of your interview. The employer is impressed and ready to have you on board as an intern! Victory is yours. Just when your smile is from ear to ear, the employer announces, rather declares with a sense of authority and entitlement, “this is an unpaid internship! However, just remember that you will possibly never get such an opportunity in your life ever again. Our firm has dished out a pool of renowned architects and designed for reputed clients. We’ll revisit this conversation 6 months down the line and take it forward as a full-time role given that you excel at the internship.”

Your heart sinks, however, the thought of losing such an opportunity makes you want to grab it, with both hands. Now, this is where we step in and help you take that call. In our opinion an unpaid 6-month commitment to work, with a degree in hand, is outrageous. While many may laugh at us and say that it is extremely hilarious for us to persuade a beginner in the field to forego a golden opportunity, we have our reasons and I’m going to dive right into them.

Four Reasons why Unpaid Internships are Not Worth It

1. Lack of respect

2. You've probably spent a lot of money on your education

3. A Vicious cycle?

4. Companies care for what they pay for

1. A lack of respect


Unpaid internships are merely a representation of the lack of respect for the profession. It is nothing but undervaluing one's skill and desire to work. An unpaid internship is malpractice in the field that tends to undermine the effort and amount of work a person does in order to become an architect. Accepting such an offer is nothing but setting little store of and disrespecting one's own profession. Many believe that if they take up an unpaid internship, they’ll get a break in the industry. While this may be true in some cases, remember that an unpaid intern is highly displaceable for an architecture firm, and there are lots out there that think like you. The minute your 6 months with the firm are up, the HR manager is sure to start recruiting for another unpaid intern, another individual willing to give up on the worth of their profession.

2. You’ve probably spent a lot of money on your education</