Bad News. “Girls” Style Internships Rampant. Good News. Intern Nation Wins Book Nomination
In the premier of HBO’s new series, Girls, intern Hannah Horvath goes to her boss and asks for a job. She had been working 40 hours a week for a year with no salary. Her boss promptly fires her. Did she learn valuable skills as an intern? Maybe. But, she worked at a book publisher and her goal was to get her book read. That never happened. Hannah, played by Lena Dunham, could have come out of Ross Perlin’s new book, “Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy,” published by independent publisher, Verso. In fact, Dunham, interned for an independent publisher, Soft Skull, but not for a full year like the character she created. Her old boss claims it was only for a summer.
The impact of intern labor is far reaching. Dunham’s work life isn’t unique. Perlin estimates that American organizations have between 1 and 2 million interns a year. Ben Lear, a reviewer for Left Eye On Books, called Perlin’s book “ultimately, an impassioned argument for reclaiming the lost rights and privileges of workers.” Because of its fresh perspective and its ability to give voice on a social problem Left Eye On Books found it easy to nominate as one of our best book selections.
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