All of us are familiar with the traditional definition of an intern. It's usually a student that you invite into your business to lend a hand, in return for course credit and some on-the-job training. But this downturn in the economy has turned the world of interning on its ear.
Now, interns with marketable life skills are exploring ways to keep themselves up-to-date for today's job market. It's kind of a win/win situation. The company benefits from the experience of the intern for little or no money. And, the intern learn new skills that will lead them to the next job.
Interning is something I did myself. It wasn't easy to re-invent myself after Wall Street, but I thought it would be fun to try breaking into in the exciting world of communication. I had zero experience in that field so I wondered how I could get on-the-job training without any media background. So this is what I did.
One day I walked into WNYC the New York City public radio station and asked if I could intern. They were surprised but actually receptive to the idea. I started my new adventure by workng every Tuesday as an assistant to the producers for the Brian Lehrer Show. My job was to look for potential guests, cover press conferences, and since this was a call-in show, I got to be in the studio working as their call screener. All of that was great exposure to the world of radio don't you think? I got to do a little bit of everything.
My year as an intern was a gift. It helped me get clear about what I wanted to do next. I was becoming more sure that my second career would somehow be involved in communication.
Before deciding to become an intern you have to get over yourself. Chances are you will the the oldest member of the team. You will be taking your marching orders from someone young enough to be your kid and sometimes that will be a challenge for your ego. But, the experience you get will help you find a place in today's job market or the confidence to start a new business doing what you love.