I recently landed an internship at Empire magazine, one of Britain’s most popular film publications.
But before you get excited on my behalf, they’re paying me the grand salary of £00,000.
Zilch. Zero. Nil. Nada.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. I wish I could just get on with it, but being paid nothing really bothers me. I’m also very concerned that I’m to actually learning anything new here despite the team being very welcoming and friendly.
It’s the sort of publication, in short, which I’ve always dreamed of working. But in my dreams the fact that there was some sort of pay check was pretty much a given.
I really hate the fact that I work from 10-5, and earn absolutely nothing. It’s unfair and, frankly, it’s so insulting.
I’ve headed the editorial & social media of a national radio station. I’ve written columns for several magazines and I’ve launched my own digital monthly fashion newsletter.
I don’t want to seem proud, but transcribing interviews and watching films to count the number of people Vin Diesel kills is not my idea of editorial education.
And not having a regular income terrifies me more than I can say. I felt so tired getting the tube home I wanted to cry, which I did when I was safely second in my room. I felt so scared. All these thoughts kept tumbling through my head and I couldn’t control them.
It felt like the rest of London had interesting, paid jobs to do, and for some reason I had just done 8 hours of work for an amazing magazine but wasn’t getting anything in return.
I’ve wanted to work at Empire for years. Only now I had, all I felt was cheated. It was like Fate was laughing at me; opening the door but denying me the basic resources to actually make it feasible. I’ve worked so hard to make it into an editorial job, and now it turns out my hours of overtime, self-learning and hundreds upon hundreds of articles is worth no more than an unpaid internship. Some dream.
Part of the difficulty is there are very, very few friends I can talk about the depth of worry which comes with not having steady income and being on the full time career ladder.
You can’t possibly know the fear of having very little money unless you’ve been there. It’s a toxic demon which seeps into every part of your life. In a city like London, money dictates everything. I’ve lived on nothing but the very basics for over 3 months, and I’m so tired of it. I’ve cut my food budget down to the absolute minimum. An expensive night out or extravagant spends are non-existent.
And tonight I feel so alone, so completely vulnerable. So used, so exhausted and so without faith anymore.
I swear, if there was a way to just sleep and never have to wake up and deal with all of this again.
Well, I’d be sorely tempted.