Unpaid Intern Says Minimum Wage Bad Idea

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Should internships be paid? Shouldn't even the lowliest intern get at least minimum wage? No, says someone who recently took four internships where he was unpaid. He was richly compensated, he says, in other ways. Such as? Well, in one job he learned how to work the office copier. In another, he got a 30-day Metro Card good for travel on New York City's subway. "I thought, isn't that nice?" he says. "It was more of a surprise to me than if I'd been entitled to it." From another unpaid gig he got a stapler—albeit one that he had had to buy himself. "I had to buy my own supplies," explains the former intern. "I took the stapler with me, and some grease pencils." What makes his story different from those of many kids who accept unpaid work is that he's not a kid. Steve Cohen is a middle-aged husband and father of two, a former media executive, and a recent graduate of New York Law School.

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