T. Sydnie Taylor, 54, paralegal, Houston
"The economic downturn affected my home-based medical marketing business early on, so I decided to do something I had always dreamed of: go into law. The program, for an associate’s degree in paralegal technology, required an internship, which I wasn’t very happy about. I’d worked in professional environments for 25 years, so why did I have to pay the school to do that again?
"I interviewed at a small law firm, and when I was picked over all my younger classmates, I felt so great. Because of my age, I’d been having doubts. And that first day, I was terrified. It was an adjustment. I used to be my own boss; now I became the support staff. A week before my internship ended, one of the partners called me into his office and closed the door. I thought I must have really screwed something up; instead, he offered me a job. I was totally blown away. I’m now working there part-time, and I hope to go full-time once I graduate. Don’t get me wrong. It’s humbling to be the old-est person in the office. Even the partners are only in their forties. At first, everyone called me ‘ma’am.’ I said, ‘That’s your mother. Call me Sydnie.’ "
Originally published in the July/August 2009 issue of MORE.