The recent controversy regarding unpaid internships was misunderstood and, in classic Twitter form, taken out of context to satisfy personal agendas. If you want to read all about what blew up on Jane Slater of the NFL Network, Jason Barrett wrote a tremendous piece on all the madness.
I think sales internships are valuable. I also see the fanny pack as a functionable wardrobe item for young Dads.
Most often, sales interns were working with the sales assistant in a support function doing busy work, while the sales assistant did more heavy lifting. But they were learning, making contacts, and sometimes getting college or class credit. THEY DID GET SOMETHING IN RETURN. But that isn’t happening anymore.
Several media companies faced lawsuits brought by unpaid interns contending that the companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. FOX and many companies lost the court fight and had to pay back wages. Most media companies don’t offer unpaid internships as a result. So, we did have some abuse of the process especially when the internship wasn’t connected to college coursework.
Salespeople don’t think they work for free. Most of us are on commission in broadcast sales and only get paid if we sell advertising or, in some cases, collect the money. I am unaware of many compensation packages that include paying AE’s for attending sales meetings, proposal/script writing, writing orders, etc. We do those other tasks because we accept it is part of the job to get the commission.
I think that is changing or at least it should. More on that in a minute.
The heated exchanges on social media are typical get off my lawn type riffs. People over 35 ripping on ‘kids today’ under 35. Some feel Gen Xers and Millennials act as if they are entitled to a higher wage, want to be paid for internships and do not want to do busy work.
I would maintain that the younger set are more evolved and recognize good, better and best opportunities. They have a higher value of themselves and at times can recognize some job opportunities as situations stuck in the 80s, following practices from a bygone era. Some of course are unrealistic, but not most.
These younger employees have learned faster, more, and differently than any baby boomer. They know better. They grew up professionally in a worldwide economy and want tools to compete where the most amount of money can be made. I feel the most insightful millennials are less interested in starting in market #150 working for 30k when they can work digitally and reach the world. They don’t want to cold call on prospects who don’t see the value of advertising let alone radio advertising and not get paid.
They want to sell not collect, get in more closing meetings not handle continuity, and recharge and research not get in the energy suck of inputting orders. They don’t want to attend meetings so middle managers can check a box. They want warm leads, accredited seminars and business offices that are servant oriented to the people who create the business. That’s why I believe most of the best young AE talent are not in broadcast sales anymore. How many recent college grads have been hired for a sales position at your station recently?
I don’t blame the messengers.
Some of the biggest media companies are using nationwide inside sales groups, automated sales processes, and working to reduce the amount of money paid to salespeople. The messengers see that, and only want a place at the table where they don’t have to buy their own meal and can get a decent portion. They don’t want to have to shop for it, cook it, etc., etc.. Long live the Fanny Pack!