For decades, companies have been "employing" interns to do work. But a spate of recent litigation has made many many organizations wary of using college students to essentially perform real labor without paying them, all under the guise that interning is an educational experience. Apparently, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's female empowerment non-profit, Lean In, has no such concerns.
The always hungry Internet monster exploded yesterday when it discovered that Jessica Bennett, an employee at Lean In and herself a one-time recipient of Internet pity after being axed by Tumblr, was looking for an intern. One who, you know, didn't want cash. Any cash. At all:
After a series of people voiced their displeasure — including threats of violence from the likes of one Marcus Gummibear (pictured above) — Bennett clarified last night that she was really looking for a "volunteer":
Bennett isn't wrong. The Red Cross, for example, accepts volunteers and treats them kindly. But
interning "volunteering" at Lean In isn't the same as, say, delivering food to the homeless. The kind of person who wants to "volunteer" at Lean In is probably looking to put the experience on his or her résumé and parlay that into a good job, perhaps through connections or recommendations. Bennett's "volunteer" would also be locked into a schedule for the next four months.