Career strategist calls manager roles 'glorified unpaid internships'


‘They don’t let you move up the ladder’: Career strategist says manager roles are just ‘glorified unpaid internships’

‘The pay is not worth the work that you’re doing.’


Braden Bjella


A career coach has sparked discussion after calling out modern managerial roles, dubbing them “glorified unpaid internships.”

In a video with over 1.4 million views as of Sunday, TikTok user Kyyah Abdul (@kyyahabdul) lays out what she perceives to be the problem with modern managerial positions.

“The pay is not worth the work that you’re doing, which is why I equate it to an internship,” she explains.

@kyyahabdul Stitch with @Robyn L Garrett #kyyahabdul #corporateamerica #climbingtheladder ♬ original sound – Kyyah Abdul

Throughout the video, Abdul explains that one can start at the associate level, and then make their way up to a managerial role. However, once they’re there, they find that they’ve taken on significantly more work—and their pay, though higher, isn’t enough to cover the increase in labor.

Those who are in managerial roles, she says, either choose to fall back down to the associate level or continue working to “make it to the next level” where they can earn substantially more money. She also notes that these higher positions can offer more pay for less work.

“The problem that we have right now is a lot of people who are millennials and Gen Z are stuck at this point,” she says, referring to the ‘manager’ position, “because people at director and executive level, who happen to be Boomers and Gen X, are getting a lot of money for doing not-so-much work.”

“These people don’t want to leave because of how much money they’re getting for very little work,” Abdul summarizes.

As these older people higher up in companies do not wish to retire, Abdul says that this has caused managers to become burnt out feeling as though they can’t progress, and people in lower roles do not want to be managers after seeing how much work managers perform for inadequate pay.

The video with which Abdul is stitching references an article from last month in Entrepreneur entitled “Young Workers Don’t Want to Become Managers — and This Study Uncovers the Reason Why.”

The study in question found that “a meager 38% said they were interested in becoming a people manager at their current company,” writes Ryan Wong. As for the reasons why those who were not interested in becoming a manager did not desire a higher role, workers cited a distrust in leadership and “increased stress, pressure and hours.”

Additionally, the study found that workers’ priorities are not found in the workplace. 

“When we asked people to identify their top ambition, 67% said spending more time with their friends and families and 64% said being more physically and mentally,” says Wong. “The lowest priorities were becoming a C-suite executive (4%) and becoming a people manager (9%).”

In the comments section of Adbul’s TikTok, users cited their own complaints about the contemporary workplace.

“The reward for hard work is usually more work,” wrote a user.

“And they don’t let you move up the ladder, they hire someone from the outside who is already at the exec level,” added another.

“Also no manager training,” noted a third. “Managing is its own separate skill set and companies are not training and letting ppl left to figure it out alone.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Abdul via email.

The Daily Dot