MORE's Over-40 Intern Diaries: I Can't Believe I Didn't Recognize the Editor-in-Chief!

Ruth Morganto, 49, wanted to explore a new career but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Read what happens on Day 5 when she joins the MORE team to assist on an upcoming issue

by Ruth Morganto • Midlife Intern
ruth morganto image
Photograph: Ari Michelson

Today I am grateful for my “Functional Attention Deficit Disorder.”  When I was in graduate school for counseling, my classmates and I took a test to assess ourselves on the attention deficit scale—and I was surprised to see that my score was pretty high. Thankfully, my professor looked at my score and clarified: “You don’t have ADD… you’re just the mother of two pre-schoolers! Your ability to focus on five things at once is what’s keeping your kids alive.” I’ve always been bored working on just one thing for too long. I knit while listening to audio books. I watch television while folding laundry. I can’t get through a book without opening another.
So it seems natural here when I’m forced to juggle tasks. My only problem is that I don’t have enough time to properly enjoy them all. I’m learning so much and everything interests me. Book reviews—fascinating!  Research—a mental challenge! Web work—a technical challenge!  Not to mention blogging—so much to write! I’m happily immersed in these tasks until Laura stops by and inquires, “What are you working on?”  Apparently, she was originally concerned that she wouldn’t be able to keep me busy. Now, we’re both a bit concerned that I have too much to do.
Today, I have an official meeting with Lesley Jane Seymour, More’s editor in chief.  I unofficially met her this morning, when I was staring at her, trying to place her face. When she smiled and walked into her office, I was terribly embarrassed that I hadn’t recognized her.  Lesley is fascinating and she truly represents More women: smart, accomplished, sophisticated, stylish, yet approachable.  When she tells me about her career—experiencing the intensity of working at Vogue, traveling extensively for business while editor of Marie Claire and staying home for several years to spend time with her children—I waver between awe and envy. I can only imagine how busy she is.
As Lesley grabs a salad to eat at her desk between meetings, I squeeze in time for lunch with another of the features editors, Nanette Varian. I nearly choke on my penne when she tells me that she spent most of her early career at Penthouse magazine. Since I’ve had many male friends through the years, I have been exposed (pun intended) to Penthouse, and I can verify that the articles were terrific. I just can’t imagine Nanette, currently dressed in a conservative sweater and jeans, socializing with Penthouse Pets. Another stereotype broken.
I’m barely settled back at my desk with more reading when Laura invites me to see Meredith’s test kitchen. Apparently they are cleaning out their ice cream stash. I fulfill my internly obligation by scarfing down a scrumptious ice cream sundae.
Sugared up, I return to work, juggling the myriad of tasks that various editors have assigned to me.  All too soon, it is time to catch my train.  Week one of my New York adventure is complete and I’m heading home to Pennsylvania.  Time to decompress in my quiet house, catch up with family and friends, and simply play with my dogs.  I love working in New York, but there is no place like home, however unglamorous it is.

Next: I'm Drowning in Tasks

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