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When you agree to work as an intern you are knowingly toeing the line between unpaid labor and a way to get ahead in your chosen career path. Due to the nature of unpaid internships, many sleazier companies have made a habit of taking advantage of their young and dedicated workers. So, knowing that it is possible to be taken advantage of, how can you make sure that you are being treated fairly?
1. Are you personally comfortable?
While you will be expected to bust your tail and work hard, you should never feel personally uncomfortable around the people you are working with. An intern is still a professional, albeit an unpaid one. This does not give your co-workers or bosses permission to be mean or rude to you or to do anything that makes you feel unsafe.
2. Are your hours and duties fair?
An intern is expected to handle a full load of work while they are 'on the clock' but they should not be expected to work as efficiently as Superman. This means that you should have a manageable allotment of work. No one intern should be required to do the work of three other people. This also goes on to the amount of hours you work, as well.
3. Do your duties match what you agreed to?
Some internships will promise one set of duties and then deliver another. If you are interning at a radio station then you should do work involved with the production of the station. You should not be expected to clean every toilet in the building or something else completely unrelated.
Knowing what you deserve as an intern will keep you from being treated unfairly.