We are all familiar with the traditional definition of an intern. It's always been a student who is invited into an ongoing business to learn the ropes. The intern, in exchange for their help, earns college credits or a stipend but benefits most from the great on-the-job training.
These days the world of traditional interning has got a new twist. Now older women, wanting to re-enter the workforce. are starting out as interns. It's a great way to enter a new field and learn new skills.
Interning is something I did myself. It wasn't easy to re-invent myself after almost 25 years on Wall Street, but I thought it would be fun to try breaking into in the world of communications. I had zero experience in that field so I wondered how I could get on-the-job training without any media background. This is what I did.
One day I walked into the HR department of WNYC, the New York City public radio station, and asked if I could intern. They were skeptical at first but after I told them my reasons they were quite receptive to the idea. Who wouldn't want a smart, confident woman eager to help them out for very little pay?
I started my new adventure by workng every Tuesday as an assistant to the producers of the Brian Lehrer Show. My job was to look for interesting guests, cover press conferences, and since this was a call-in show, I was also their call screener. I got to try many new things and that's the best way to figure out what you are best suited for.
My year as an intern was a gift. It helped me get clear about what I wanted to do next. I wasn't exactly sure what my next career would be, but with the training I got in communications I knew it was definetely something I wanted to pursue.
Before deciding to become an intern you have some work to do. You must learn to keep your ego in check. Chances are you will the the oldest member of the team. That means you will be taking your marching orders from someone young enough to be your kid. The upside however far outweighs any ego battles you will encounter. The experience you get will help you reignite your passion. And, if you shine in what you are doing, there is a very good chance the company might offer you a permanent job. Once you're in the door it's all up to you.