Explaining Unpaid Internships to your Parents | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:59 AM, January 25, 2019

Explaining Unpaid Internships to your Parents

Parents really care about your future. They spend a huge chunk of their hard earned fortune just so you can receive a good education and craft a bright future. When it comes down to the final semester, you want to be able to tell them that it all counted for something. Hence, you opt for the most competitive paid internship that lays down the path of your imminent climb to the epitome of success. However, not all of us are lucky enough to land a paid internship and must have to make-do with an unpaid one. This is how you come to terms with breaking the news to your parents.

Dissolve your inhibitions

An unpaid internship is like sticking your foot into the gap of a closing door. It's a great investment for your future. You are taking your first step into the company of your dreams. If you perform well, you'll gain recognition and good recommendations. Yes, it all comes at the price of having to ask your parents to keep supporting you till you are legible for a 'real' job. But, you need to be able to do that for yourself. Your pride will not nourish you, but the massive experience you can gain from the internship surely will. Internalise that and learn to look at the intangible value of the experience over immediate monetary compensations.

Bite the bullet

Once you have accepted the costs, it's time for confrontation. Make sure they are seated in a comfortable setting. Jot down the pros and cons in your mind ahead of time. Start talking.

Begin by stating the positives. Don't assume you are entitled to being financed in this period. Discuss the job details, explaining to them why you chose this internship and why you decided not to wait for a paid one. To make it easy for them to trust your decision, be assertive and confident.

Next, move on to the harsher technicalities. Explain to them that you have considered the costs. If you must move to another place, or make daily commutes, give them a detailed breakdown of the costs. Really delve into the logistics. This will enlighten them about your difficulties, and provide insights about your needs.

Give them the mic

After sharing your stance, it's your turn to listen. Remember, they came from a generation that never considered unpaid internships. They will have a lot to say. Take their opinions seriously; they may have valid arguments that you should consider. You could suggest counting the expenses of your internship as a loan. Make it a point to state that you aim to repay them once you become self-sufficient.

Take it as it is

If things work out and your parents agree to support you, congratulations. If they are still unyielding, remember, this isn't the end of the world. You have your goals set, and it's up to nobody but yourself to achieve them.


Susmita is a literature major who lives on tea and sweet toast. Reach her at susmita.newaz@gmail.com.

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