Wednesday, 9 December 2009

paying for the pleasure.

So under the guise of a charitable fund-raising exercise, the Evening Standard are actually (and with a lot of cheek I may add) auctioning off a weeks work experience and a chance to "experience life at London's greatest newspaper", their words, not mine. Their annual Christmas Charity Auction raises beneficial funds for children's charity, Kids Company. And yes, I agree that this is undoubtedly a worthy cause, and some of the experiences on offer are remarkable; an art lesson with Tracey Emin, dinner cooked by Gordon Ramsey, and access all areas for the Topshop show at London Fashion Week. 

However, the whole paying for work experience is an interesting auction, that, im not sure quite adds up. So, the fundmentals of work experience are; you learn, obviously gain hands on experience, all under the condition of working for free. Fair enough. If the experience and knowledge gained is abundant, i have no quarms. Now, I understand this is for charity, but I still have a small problem with the fact that the rather arrogant Evening Standard think its acceptable to allow some poor being, and it will probably be an over enthusiastic and eager graduate, (who's daddy has more money than sense) and is desperate to get a foot in the door of the impenetrable fields of media or journalism, to pay for the pleasure of 8 gruelling hours a day. 

Maybe it's me, but im really not getting it. All of the other auctions the Evening Standard have conjured up all offer the bidder some sort of celebrity, un-buy-able (yes I think I just made that word up) experience in which the outcome is pleasure not pain. Giving to charity for some unbelievable once in a lifetime experience is one thing. Giving to charity to have the opportunity to be a slave at one of London's newspapers is another, when, if you try hard enough, emailing many a journalist on a daily basis until they get so annoyed that they offer you work experience just to shut you up, you can get it for free (yes you don't get paid, but on the bright side you won't have to pay for it).

Ok, so this is not the only work experience opportunity they are auctioning off in the name of charity. However lot no. 25 is offering a little more than a week and a bit more pleasure. Six weeks of work experience (if you have £2500 to donate to charity, although that is the starting bid) with some of the fashion industries finest; in London, Versace press office in Milan, Roland Mouret studio in London, fashion photographer Tim Walker, Antonio Berardi in Milan and last but not least, the Evening Standard fashion team. Well worth the money, (even if it is still work experience and you have to pay for your own flights and accommodation), im still not convinced.

It does make me question, not only the ethics of such powerful industries, but the desperation some people are suffering in hard times. For the gradutes of media, journalism and fashion degrees of 2009, i feel for you.

Patience is a virtue. 
Good things come to those who wait......

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