Mini Fail: Paint Splattered Woes of an Unpaid Intern

2012-06-07 04:35 PMEpic Fails

In our brand new series, Mini Fails, we’re inviting you to share your ‘fails’ with us, specifically when it comes to internships, job applications, university or terrible jobs. Whether they’re mortifyingly embarrassing, horrifically exploitative or just downright heart-breaking, we’re all ears. So, are you sitting comfortably? Got a nice fire going in the living room? Let’s kick things off with an all too common tale of an unpaid intern… 

You call this experience?

After university, I was pretty excited to land a three-month unpaid internship at a publishers, but it turned out to be not exactly what I expected. I came a bright eyed, debt ridden graduate; I left a paint-encrusted intern (with a hefty overdraft).


The advert had promised experience of proofreading, sourcing images, and even a bit of editing. It seemed exactly what my experience-anorexic CV needed. Two months in and I had become an expert at going to Tesco to pick up office kitchen supplies, I’d developed excellent cheque banking skills at Lloyds, everyone in the local post office knew me by name, and I could navigate London’s seedy world of light fittings shops like the Artful Dodger himself.


All these mundane errands (or, for want of a better phrase, ‘office bitch’ tasks) were to soften me up for the big one: me and two other interns were enlisted to paint the inside AND the outside of the office. Did we refuse? Nope, we dutifully spent two weeks sanding the walls, slapping whitewash onto the outside walls and white paint onto the inside.


The new brogues I’d bought for my post-university working life: paint splattered. My compensation? I stole a couple of pens from the stationery cupboard. I should have used my stolen goods to scrawl “slave labour” across the freshly painted walls. Instead, I stuck it out and thanked them heartily for the “experience.” What a sucker.


Have you got a mini fail you want to share? Email:

Image courtesy of Danaboo, ‘Painted Touch’


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