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Is Joining the Occupy Movement Better Than an Internship? Is Joining the Occupy Movement Better Than an Internship?

Is Joining the Occupy Movement Better Than an Internship?

by Jillian Anthony

December 6, 2011

In early October, I spent the day talking to protesters at Occupy Los Angeles about their hopes for the movement. Among them was Jose Hernandez, a 21-year-old student who quit his part-time job as a photo technician to camp out full-time. I’m sure many of the 1 percent, the police, and many members of the media would criticize his decision to leave a secure job and join a protest arguing for more secure jobs, but I see it differently. For Hernandez, and thousands of other young people, the present is bleak. They want a brighter future.

Finally, our generation is taking a stand, and we have a chance to be a part of something more than serving lattes or spreading guacamole on a Chipotle burrito for a few bucks an hour. We’re faced with a choice: continue working an unfulfilling low-wage job or unpaid internship, or become part of something meaningful and future-shaping.

I love my internship here at GOOD, but years from now, I’m not sure I’ll value time spent making slideshows or blogging on our Tumblr account. And less-fortunate interns at other businesses surely won’t value their time spent fetching coffee or making copies. But the protesters at UC Davis who were pepper-sprayed in the face, or the occupiers at Berkeley who were beat by police alongside their professors, will never forget their contribution to a cause they really believed in.

So it's not all that crazy to quit your job, skip class, and tell your internship adviser you won't be coming in for a couple of days. The only thing you'll regret is letting history pass you by.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user EsotericSapience.

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Is Joining the Occupy Movement Better Than an Internship?