This week I have returned to a placement. It was a rare Monday where I didn't dread walking into the studio.
Returning to a placement is nice because you know what to expect of them, and they know what to expect of you. Simply feeling comfortable around your temporary colleagues and knowing your place within the environment is so important to feeling at home and usually it can take a few weeks to get settled, (if you are even still there by then). It is a situation, which many take for granted, and yet sometimes, aside from a good wage, this is all an intern really wants; to feel at home.
When offered to come back to a placement I was honoured. Convinced I had done a good job knowing I had sufficiently impressed this particular agency, I practically jumped at the chance to return. It has take me eight placements to get to this stage and being an agency I admire I etched the dates in my diary.
Trouble is, by booking ahead to go back to a placement, I worry that I have prevented the organic developments of potential employment from blossoming. After all I am going back to an agency I know wouldn't offer me a job, atleast not a permanent well paid job. Maybe I could stay, but not on these wages.
I often get the impression that at some placements you could stay forever (if you could afford to). Pure laziness on the agency's part means that it is easier to get you back in again, or keep you on. They can't be bothered to find another graduate and after all they know you can do the job and they get on with you so why not ask you to stay. Legal issues prevent people from paying below minimum wage for more than four consecutive weeks, but after bringing that up with another placement, who I worked with for two months, I am certain they couldn't care less.
I wish there was more legal help or guidance, with pay in particular. If my only threat to an agency that underpays me is that I will leave, how will they ever learn if another graduate replaces me easily enough.
Agencies take advantage of the fact that you are desperate for a job and like me now, simply too tired to keep bouncing from one office desk to the next. I know I am worth more than what I am paid and I will not settle at an agency until they agree with me.
It could take me a while.