Interns: can’t live with ‘em, can’t get coffee delivered to your desk exactly the way you like it without them unless you want to tip someone. And who ever has pennies on them these days?
In my office, there are approximately 800 interns and they’re all integral to keeping my place of employment a well-oiled machine on board a tightly-run ship. For example, today I asked one girl who I’m pretty sure works here to organize some magazines and she did it. Without her, those magazines would be decidedly disorganized. Or the time that I saw some kid in a Sizzurp T-shirt in the kitchen and told him that there was a big box near my desk. Four hours later, that box was in the recycling bin. And then we hired him!
Apparently, though, not everyone has such pleasurable experiences with their post-adolescent free labor.
Take, for instance, the case of Diana Wang, the former Harper’s Bazaar intern who is dramatically suing Hearst, along with jewelry designer Fenton/Fallon, for having the audacity to ask her to do exactly what every other intern does. Diana’s lawsuit made a bit of a splash when it was filed earlier this year, and now, this week, she bravely broke her silence and gave an interview in which she tries to frame herself as some kind of folk hero. Watch the throne, Erin Brockovich.
In the interview, Diana described in harrowing detail the duties at Hearst she felt were “inappropriate.”
“Day-to-day, the interns would be out on errand runs carrying bags and bags of samples,” she said. “There were times when I was carrying several bags and there was no way I could get through the subway turnstile to get back to the office or to the next location.”
So, she’s still there, stuck in the turnstile at the 57th Street subway station, conducting this interview? 127 Hours realness!
She went on, "Sometimes the other interns would actually come back and tell me about the physical struggle they had with all the packages they had to carry around. That kind of thing I just felt was so utterly outrageous for the magazine to put that burden on interns and put them at risk like that.”
Carrying things isn’t utterly outrageous, friend. Utterly outrageous is being asked to masturbate in front of a photographer.
That is utterly outrageous. On the list of things that are utterly outrageous as approved by society at large, “schlepping” does not make an appearance.
I suggest you read the whole interview if you’re in the mood to smoke a Marlboro Red on your front porch and mutter about kids these days. But if you don’t have that high a tolerance for pain, let me sum it up for you thusly: intern with an off-the-charts sense of entitlement got a negative review at her internship, got angry and filed a lawsuit.
FREE LEGAL ADVICE FOR HEARST LAWYERS: Your closing argument, in its entirety, should simply be “Sit down, intern.”
Diana, I get it. Internships kind of suck. But also, they do serve a purpose—you can’t start out on top. You can’t go from writing a blog in your bedroom to editing GQ overnight. You can’t go from Instagram right to Tommy Ton. Shit like carrying samples all over Manhattan is meant to keep you humble and keep you hungry. Somewhere, somehow, this got lost on you. Give it a few years, you’ll understand.
And one final note, cut this shit out. You weren’t forced to do anything. This wasn't some sort of Fashion Magazine Indentured Servitude. I’ve been to the Hearst Building before and from my experience the exits are very clearly marked. You could have seen yourself out at any time.
As I suggest you do right now. (Burn.)
Steve Dool is a writer based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.