Freelancing While Interning?

 I’ve felt conflicted about pitching freelance articles, since I’m interning at REDACTED (which is a great learning experience but is unpaid) right now and I want to make the best possible impression… I could write on the weekends but I’m already working 40 hours per week plus working on personal things. Should I just suck it up and work more during the weekend to pitch freelance articles or should I only be focused on the internship now? Thanks!

ASKED VIA EMAIL TO GAMEINDUSTRYGUIDES@GMAIL.COM

Don’t feel like you need to work more on top of your 40hr internship. It’s definitely an option but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest it for anyone.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

If your internship is for 3 months of less and is essentially a full-time job (40 hours), consider punting everything else until you finish your internship. While more is always better, you don’t want to burn out or end up turning down paid opportunities because your unpaid one is eating up the majority of your time. A few months, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing.

There are a lot of times where weekend work can be necessary but with 40 hours, temporarily, accounted for in your field this seems like a good time to hit the brakes on additional freelance.

Don’t Stress Too Much About How It Looks Because They’re Not Paying You

Making the best possible impression is important but if you’re worried freelancing on the side of your internship will be seen as unprofessional, I wouldn’t worry about that. Unless there’s something about it in your contract I don’t see any reason why you can’t go out and earn money after hours. A company that isn’t paying you shouldn’t even get 40 hours of your time to begin with (unpaid internships shouldn’t exist!), let alone your weekend.

Any editor that would judge an unpaid intern for doing paid freelance work on the side isn’t an editor worth working for in the future anyway.

Make Sure You’re Progressing Your Career

I’m against unpaid internships but even paid internships come with reservations for me. I hope you’re learning a lot and making strong connections but it’s still a huge time sink that’s destined to end. For that reason, it isn’t as good as freelancing on your own in my opinion.

Sure there are stories of folks making an internship a part-time or even full-time position but those are few and far between. And having a recognizable name on your resume may feel good but all it tells me is that someone tried you out for a bit and ultimately didn’t give you more than that internship. It doesn’t mean you didn’t do amazing work there but that’s why I never find interned at BLANK to be terribly impressive on its own.

This isn’t meant to discourage others from pursuing internships. I would’ve applied for them as a freelancer too! Just be thoughtful about what you’re committing to and what you’re getting in return.

In the case of the person who submitted this question, they’re on their second internship already. At this point, their time is likely better spent freelancing, self-publishing, and looking for part/full-time positions.

This question was asked to me via email. You can send your questions to gameindustryguides@gmail.com. These FAQ posts will be filed under the Ask Gameonysus Category of my blog. Questions are always kept anonymous.

Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash

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