Is it ‘impolite’ to ask about money?

A MEMBER reports a recent exchange with a paid intern (on London living wage) at their regular place of work. Shortly before she left for a better-paid job, said intern said it was now considered "impolite" to even ask in the first interview for a "position" in media/advertising/market research circles whether the gig on offer was actually paid.

If you get through to the second interview - all contemporary "positions" in these industries seem to have a second interview - only then is it considered good etiquette to bring up questions of money, such as whether there is any. Our correspondent, together with a staff colleague who was also an NUJ member, told their intern to go into Interview 2 ready to open with: "We need to talk about money." They also forwarded her the Freelance article about Vince Cable reading out the HMRC helpline number through which people can shop their "employer" for breaking the National Minimum Wage Act: see here. She emailed her colleagues immediately before going into the interview, "Plan - accept internship, learn everything, leave, call in HMRC and get back pay!" or words to that effect. We had trained her well!

In the end the market research gig for which she was interviewed turned out to be a (well-)paid one, and the office where she now works is above ground level and even has proper windows, which is an improvement on the basement office where our correspondent regularly works.

Last modified: 05 May 2014 - © 2014 contributors
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