Interning at 30, 40, 50: New Way to Test Out Career

Interns in the office, in the field in social work, and grooming dogs might be in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, reports Beth Braccio Hering on

Interning is how more and more displaced or dissatisfied workers are testing out a fresh career path. They might be also using this route to get a foot in the door in an industry new to them. In addition, since interns seem nonthreatening in organizations, the role is great for attracting mentors and big breaks. It's lonely at the top, and the brass might take a shine to interns, guiding their next steps.

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Internships are both paid and unpaid. Here is one, listed on Craigslist, for editorial tasks in the Washington, D.C., area that pays $15 to $18 hourly. Others provide no payment. Instead they may offer credits toward a certification or degree -- or just the opportunity for experience and to make contacts.

There are many ways to get to become an intern. You may be enrolled in an educational or training program and the institution matches you with an organization.

You can scan the help wanted. More and more internships are listed requiring no affiliation with a school. You just present yourself as the best fit for what's needed.

Or, you can use your initiative. You want to find out if you would are suited for working with horses. So, you contact stables and farms around your area and pitch that you're available 20 hours a week to do anything and everything. You keep trying until you get in. As you perform the tasks, you figure out if you want to open your own riding stables, become an animal technician, or even go the distance and apply to veterinary school.

Jane Genova


Jane Genova began focusing on transitions when the academic market collapsed as she was writing her dissertation in linguistics and literature at the University of Michigan.  After re-establishing herself in the public relations industry, she gradually published on the subject.  Her first piece was on The Professional Woman in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Since then, she co-authored the book THE CRITICAL 14 YEARS OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE and myriad e-books and articles on career subjects ranging from emotional intelligence to aging.  In the 1980s she attempted another change by attending Harvard Law School.  She didn’t complete the degree but channeled that experience into maintaining a legal blog [] housed at the Library of Congress.

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