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Dubai radio presenter Kris Fade wants to hire you, but…

Dubai radio presenter Kris Fade wants to hire you, but…

You may have to be willing to work for free

Kris Fade greenback

I know nobody wants to work for free, but hear me out.

How many times have you heard the phrase “I deserve this?”

“I deserve to get a pay rise. I deserve to live in a big house. I deserve to go on holiday.” No matter how serious or silly the topic, people increasingly feel entitled to things.

In fact those in their 20s are three times more likely to have narcissistic personality disorder than those who are 65 years and older, according to a study sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile millennials scored 25 per cent higher in entitlement-related issues when compared to those in their 40-60s, and 50 per cent higher than those over 60, according to a study by the University of Hampshire.

It’s no wonder then that Kris Fade, the man behind the Middle East’s highest rated breakfast show on Virgin Radio, has seen his fair share of entitled interns and jobseekers.

“We get people every day going, ‘Can I get a job at Virgin Radio? I think I’d be really good.’ Yes… Yeh yeh, come in man, come,” he tells me sarcastically as we chat on my business talk show Greenback.

“It doesn’t work like that. And people do feel like they should be given this. [They feel] entitled because your parents may have a lot of money or you may have gone to a great school and all of a sudden, you think this is my pathway.”

He continues: “We’ve had interns come over the years and like, after three weeks of working for free, have the conversation like, ‘okay guys, so can I get a job?’ I worked for my first radio station for one year for free… I had a full time job working in a café called Jamaica Blue at Roselands shopping centre where I grew up…

“And for one year, I worked for this radio station… cleaning out what they called the dungeon, which was downstairs where all the prizes were kept. I used to do that three times a week… And after two years of that, I eventually got to get behind the mic a little bit. [But I] was literally cleaning out this dungeon. If I told someone now to do that for a year? No chance,” he says.

And he’s right. Google “millennial work ethic” and you get dozens of articles titled “the age of entitlement,” and the “Me! Me! Me! Generation”. Even the apps that we’ve created are designed to make everything easier and faster so that you can get maximum satisfaction and efficiency in the shortest time possible with the least amount of effort required.

It’s not just millennials.

Influencers want free dinners and flights. Consumers want free music and movies. Readers want free news and articles. But just like influencers must prove they’re worth advertising with, and artists must make music worth listening to, and journalists must write articles worth reading, so must interns and jobseekers prove they’re worth hiring.

Why shouldn’t you work for free to prove yourself first?

Kris Fade did it for a year. He’s now not only the most popular (and probably the highest paid) radio presenter in the entire Middle East, he’s also the owner of a multi-million dollar healthy snacks company called Fade Fit. It’s Dubai-based but it’s products are already sold in Saudi Arabia, Oman, South Africa and Ireland. And it’s only a year old.

In January, it’ll drop smoothies, more multivitamins, crisps and organic milk. That’s not bad for someone who worked for free for an entire year.

Now I’m not saying companies don’t take advantage of interns. Corporates in particular are known for using and abusing interns. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t companies that value their interns too. I got my first job after a three-month internship, and it was the best decision I ever made.

And you don’t have to intern at corporates. Fade suggests reaching out to people in your desired profession and shadowing them at work. He says, “If you wanted to be a journalist for example, find a journalist in the country, message them and say, ‘Can I come shadow you? I promise I won’t bother you’.

He’s even taken on an intern from Instagram.

“She kept hitting me up in a really cool way but then she started telling me stuff I really wanted to hear about, because she works as a nutritionist somewhat and she understands about snacks… she said a couple of key things – she said I don’t want the money, I want the experience.

“And it’s not that I want to get her for free. It’s never that, but you know where they’re coming from. I want to make sure people get paid for their time. I’m against seeing people do work that deserves to be paid,” he says.

I reckon he’ll hire her.

And I reckon we could all do with a little less entitlement and a little more good old hard work. Because the blatant truth is that the need to prove yourself never really ends.

Fade is the perfect example of that. He says, “There are a million people that would love to do what I’m doing and every day I’ve got to protect it. There’s always someone knocking on your door wanting your job. No matter what you do, everyone wants to take someone’s job. That’s what this world’s about.”

Kris, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Lubna Hamdan hosts the Greenback show every week on Downtown Dubai TV 

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