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Joanne the Scammer and the Unpaid Intern - Just Being Funny

Cold sweats, shakes, delusions, and diarrhea. I'd surpassed the “I'm so sick I should see a doctor regardless of the copay” phase and was now in the “here's my computer password; call my mom if I die” phase. I’d lost seven pounds through running to the bathroom to clear my colon. On day fourteen of what I was sure was a modern strain of the Black Death (Dramatic. I know!) when my internship boss called. 

Apparently, she thought my two weeks’ notice was contingent on me finding a replacement. It wasn’t. After eight months of unpaid laboring, I decided to move on. Finding a replacement was my parting gift. It wasn’t my fault, nor my problem, that Rebecca the unreliable Canadian was, well, unreliable.

Short of breath and borderline delirious, I explained that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t help because I was seriously unwell. Faster than it took me to put my arms under the covers and roll on my side, my roommate’s phone rang. 

Mumbling. Chucking. Pacing. There’s a knock on my door. “Sheisty artistic director just called, and she wants to pay me $20 to man the box office.” That day I was too sick to care or understand. However, when I was healed -- when I was able to comprehend the levels of betrayal. I’ll say this: hell hath no fury like a loyal slave scorned.

Like where you find the nerve to demand an educated immigrant’s sweat and blood and then turn around and offer pay to my roommate. Yo, had I said ‘yes’, she would have had me out there working for free ninety-nine. Lesson: know your worth!

Check a scene. I accepted the internship because the Ms. Sheisty McSheisterson assured me that when her funding came in, she would hire me to work at the theater. My roommate had interned there the summer before. It seemed like a good opportunity to get up to speed and whatnot.

Worse than not earning a red cent was the fact that this internship cost me money. I spent money on bus passes and lunches. Worst of all, Joanne the Scammer charged my friend thirty dollars to see her dusty, raggedy, gouge-my-eyes-it’s-bad teen playwright showcase. I was a volunteer and she couldn’t give my friend one comp?

I couldn’t even get good “exposure” because she misspelled my name in the playbill! Dread!!! After the showcase, I lamented about having to get the train at ten pm. The other intern said that they got paid ten bucks for the night. What is a Masters degree if you can’t even earn ten dollars?!

Two months later, the roommate started working part-time at the theater. She earned a grand a month for work I’d done for free. WOW, somebody call Charlamagne Tha God so I can be crowned Donkey of the Day.

Well played, sheisty Artistic Director. I’ll never get those eight months back. I guess me being shortlisted for the soon-to-be funded theater admin job was not contingent on me submitting myself to first-world slavery. After all, my immigration issues weren't your fault, not your problem. 

Shout out to the employers who pay their interns.

What would you do? Tweet me using #JBFxOnicia

Created on St. Maarten. Based in Chicago. Onicia Muller (@OniciaMuller) writes, says funny things, and enjoys hanging with creative minds. Originally published in The Daily Herald's Weekender, Just Being Funny is a weekly reflection where Onicia laughs at life

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