It’s my first day of work here at More, and I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking when I applied to be a midlife intern in a field in which I have zero experience. I had submitted my resume on a lark two weeks ago when More posted this to their Facebook page:
Just for fun (and for an upcoming issue) More is looking for someone to join us for two weeks for a totally informal internship. That’s right, you’ll be an adult intern—and you’ll blog about it. If you’re 40-plus and looking to re-enter the job force—or if you’re thinking about transitioning into journalism from a completely different field—this is the perfect chance to get your feet wet.
Impulsive isn’t a word friends would use to describe me. I like routines and my life is extremely average. I’m 49 and I’ve been married to the same man for 22 years. We live in a suburb of Philadelphia, have two teenagers, 17 and 19, and two dogs. For the past 16 years, I’ve worked as a part-time counselor at Delaware County Community College, providing career advice to students, most of whom have no idea what they want to do when they grow up.
I love my counseling job but lately I’ve been wondering whether it’s time for a change. College enrollment across the country is declining and work has been slow. On top of that, my daughter left for college last year, my son is headed there this fall and my husband—who used to rely on me to manage the family while he traveled for business—recently retired. Suddenly, nobody needs me at home. Well, maybe the dogs! Or, at least the one that takes seven medications a day.
So it was a bit of serendipity when, on a day when I was home, stalking my email and waiting for an update on a friend’s lost dog (which, don’t be worried, she eventually found) More’s Facebook post appeared. My new gig was an email away.
As a career counselor, I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t touched my resume in over a decade, and the last time I wrote a cover letter was in 1987. So although More’s call for an intern intrigued me, I wasn’t ready to act on it. Thank God for user-friendly websites that will take your information, format it and spit out decent-looking finished products. Resume and cover letter, check. The magazine wanted a writing sample—but since my credentials as an author are limited to e-mails, absence notes to school and occasional ramblings to friends, I attached one of my much-anticipated holiday letters and hit send.
I shrieked when my email flag popped up the next morning. It was Laura Sinberg, one of More’s features editors, asking if I could really commute to New York from Philly. Serendipity to the rescue once again, because my dear friend Jeanne, who, coincidentally, gave me my first More magazine subscription as a 40th birthday present, had recently moved to northern New Jersey and had been begging me to visit. So I had housing! Now I just had to finagle time off from work and convince my husband that my leaving him to his own devices for two weeks was an excellent idea.
You can only imagine the shock in my office when I told them what I had done. I was laughing, but they all feared that I might be making a serious career move. “WHAT?! Are you quitting?! For an internship?” I quickly assured them that it was a temporary position and everyone offered to help cover my absence.
My typically well-behaved son left little doubt about whether he felt sad I was leaving. I had no sooner pulled out of the driveway than he posted on Facebook, “Mom’s out of town! Party at my house!”
So, here I am—perfectly unqualified for the blogging position and wondering how to use this big ol’ MAC computer sitting on my desk. Please come along on this journey and share the adventure with me!