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The Thin Line Between Internship And Entrepreneurship: Do You See It?

As a skilled professional, if you are being given the same responsibilities and recognition as an intern would be, it's time to start asking if entrepreneurship is a better deal for you.

As a skilled professional, if you are being given the same responsibilities and recognition as an intern would be, it’s time to start asking if entrepreneurship is a better deal for you.

As a student, I have been very focused all my life. Like in any other ordinary middle-class family, my father too encouraged me to focus on my education, rather than any extra-curricular activities or part-time jobs.

However, I was a very sensitive child. I felt ashamed to ask my parents for money, whenever I needed to indulge myself in any expensive activities. Because I never had anything called pocket money, I had to ask my parents for money every time I needed something. Since my father was very particular in monitoring what I was doing with the cash, every time I needed money, I had to explain myself to him.

There were many shameful instances, when I was caught and asked to justify my actions. It filled my heart with tremendous guilt and frustration. They never understood that I was just trying to spread some smiles. My father even questioned me once, “What sort of friends do you have, that you have to impress them for gaining their love?” So, I realized that I couldn’t let this happen to my friends. They were being misunderstood for no reason! It was my problem that I wanted to make people happy.

Fortunately, my father was very kind and patient towards me, despite his super busy schedule. He explained to me with an extra dose of love, that it is not a wise idea to opt for charity with money that was not a fruit of my hard work.

That’s how I decided to opt for part-time jobs. I was in my tenth grade when I took up the profession of writing at an entry level. I realized the importance of financial independence at a very early age and started working. When I completed my masters, it was the actual show time, because by the time I had already gathered about ten years of solid writing experience.  I found no difficulty in securing a full-time day job as a content developer or a copywriter, but the salary I was offered was like peanuts. I soon realized that Indian organizations were paying just about half of what I could earn working from my home if I worked for foreign organizations. Plus, it obviously saved a lot of travel time, money and energy. I could easily take a nap whenever I felt that there was no work; or I could indulge in self-enrichment, rather than sitting at my boring desk, gossiping.

So, I spent almost two years working as a freelance journalist and content developer, right from the comfort of my couch. It then occurred to me, that maybe I was capable of doing better things than this. I realized that I needed more than the virtual fame and compliments. So, I began to explore the Indian film and television industry. My parents and my sister told me almost immediately, that it was not a good idea.

A few months after stepping into the industry, I realized that they were right! Oddly enough, most Indian entrepreneurs these days no longer look for skilled, knowledgeable or experienced hands. They are constantly looking for interns! I started experimenting with my cover letter, and hey presto! I got a job in Mumbai. Even though it wasn’t really a decent paying job, I managed to survive. I realized how important it was to shut my mouth and pretend to be a fresher. As for my appearance, even yesterday an interviewer from a reputable organization told me “Oh my god! You look like you are fresh out of college.”

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Sadly, when I told them about my writing experience of thirteen prolonged years, they ran out of words and they decided to put me on a regular language test that was meant for the interns or the freshers. With a heavy heart, I completed the language test and left, because it was clear from their attitude that they could only afford to pay me the same amount they offer the freshers.

In fact, a few months back, when I was an integral part of a prestigious organization, I had the opportunity to call and interview a few candidates. I got an insight into the recruitment process, and I realized that Indian organizations are moving towards quantity, instead of quality.

They prefer to call in ten interns, instead of one experienced person, absolutely free of cost. All it requires is a certificate, and they can completely enslave the candidates. They can pressurise those who are fresh out of college to the extreme level by simply naming it as an amazing learning opportunity!

In fact, some organizations don’t even have the decency to offer those students travel and food expenses. When top notch companies screen the resumes of students, they inevitably conduct a background check, in order to handpick those candidates whose families can afford to sponsor them, so that they can focus completely on the growth of the reputed Indian organizations.

Oh wait! And what about the personal growth of the intern or the candidate? That is certainly not there on their priority list!

The moment an intern or a fresher starts talking back, they know that their expiry date is approaching. They will be immediately be replaced by another quiet, hardworking and obedient intern, the moment they realize that they could be a valuable resource for an organization. Even though this system might seem to be profitable for Indian organizations, it cannot be the ultimate solution.

Unless they realize the value of an experienced and skilled professional, they will continue to pester the interns or the freshers; and because all of them are not ready to deal with the work stress, they perish. They are left with no social life or friends, and they plunge into depression. Some even die at an early age due to stress related health hazards.

On the other hand, the organizations too will continue to suffer major losses. Hiring ten interns instead of one skilled professional might seem to be a lightning deal, but none of them have the right tools or resources to complete the task within the deadline. And even if they succeed in doing so, after several brainstorming sessions and sleepless nights, the content they end up creating might not be able to create the desired impact. As a result, many Indian media companies and organizations have had to shut down their operations over the past few months because no matter what content they are delivering, the audiences or the readers feel like “been there done that.”

As for the skilled, educated and experienced professionals, one can be sure that they will never be out of a job or business. With the booming of the social media platforms and foreign companies investing in the Indian markets, a really talented individual has no reason to moan or cry for a reputable organization to hire them.

They are quite capable of creating their own brands and killing it. Plus, the Indian government is working overtime to improve the lives of small-scale entrepreneurs and women creators.  All it takes is courage, to step out of the line and make a difference – Indian professionals are getting there slowly.

So, it is actually the large-scale business owners (who intend to run their companies by exploiting talented youth) who should be worried about being out of business and not the experienced professionals.

So, here’s my message for all the talented youth of the country: “If you have it, flaunt it!” because, it is a now or never moment for you!

First published at author’s blog

Image via Pexels


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