Work Without Pay Is Not OK

Oct 24 2018

Work Without Pay Is Not OK

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By: Celeste Drake

Beginning next year, Congress will finally start paying its interns!  

For years, people who want to help build a better America by working in Congress have been offered “jobs” with no pay—as congressional interns. These internships are coveted because they help open doors to prestigious scholarships and graduate schools, and they help young people get started on careers in law, politics, diplomacy, business and many other fields.

But think about it. Who can afford to take a nonpaying job? Not me. And certainly not most people who come from a working-class background. I was lucky enough to have my first congressional job come with a paycheck. Otherwise, I’d have had to turn it down.

So who can afford to take these jobs, and all the doors they open? Often, it’s the very folks who already have lots of economic advantages. If you’re lucky enough to come from a family who can afford to pay your Washington, D.C., living expenses for a summer or semester or even a whole year while you learn how Congress works and rub elbows with this country’s current and future power players, that’s awesome!

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