It can sometimes get tough being a student in the professional world. A lot of employers will treat you fairly and with respect, but there are also employers who will treat you unfairly just because they can. I’ve gone through my fair share of volunteer and internship experiences, so here are some tips to help you avoid getting screwed over by your employers.
1. Back that shit up
As my profs always used to remind us, back everything up. If you’re a freelancer logging your own hours on a Google Doc, save it as a PDF every so often. If you have important emails on a company email, forward it to yourself. Things can happen and things can get deleted, so protect yourself by backing everything up.
2. Stand up for yourself
If you’ve worked hard on something, you deserve credit for it, and it’s not right for someone to take your work without credit.
3. Secure your payments
Don’t wait a week until after your pay check is due to remind your employer – always stay on top of it. It’s your hard work and your hard-earned money. If you don’t stay on top of it, they might end up running off on you without giving you your last pay check.
4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
I had the chance to do an internship at this really cool place, but I was told that my tasks for two out of the four months would be serving coffee and doing food runs, and that I would possibly be able to actually do work depending on my work ethic. I ended up not doing it.
5. Do your job, not your job x10
Your contract outlines what your job title is and what you’re expected to do. It’s awesome if you take initiative and exceed your expectations, but it’s unfair to you if your employer expects you to go above and beyond and out of your way to do things that aren’t part of your job.
6. Ensure you’re being treated with respect
I once had an interview where I was interviewed by several different people, and the last interviewer told me, “I bet you just wanna get the fuck out of here.” I got the internship, but I didn’t take it. Just because people are your superiors in a company, doesn’t mean they can treat you disrespectfully.
7. Always make sure you’re safe
If you don’t feel safe or comfortable in a situation, do something to make yourself feel safe. At the end of the day, it’s just a job, and your safety is more important than anything else.