MORE's Over-40 Intern Diaries: I'm In Over My Head

Ruth Morganto, 49, wanted to explore a new career but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Read what happens on Day 1 when she joins the MORE team to assist on an upcoming issue

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

Bottom line: I’m nervous. My wardrobe is dominated by the three T’s: Talbots, Ann Taylor, Target. It’s more than a little intimidating to walk into the office of a magazine that markets itself for Women of Style and Substance when your daughter has threatened to submit you for the show “What Not To Wear,” but I breathe deep and move forward.
After countless email and phone conversations, I’m delighted to meet Laura Sinberg, the features editor who owns me for the next two weeks. I’ll admit, I had Googled her prior to my arrival, so I knew that she was young (31), but I was expecting taller, more makeup, more “New York.”  Her outfit is stylish but not high fashion. And she doesn’t have that hardened, stereotypical city look. She’s just cute. A quick tour of the office proves this is nothing like The Devil Wears Prada. Where are the super-tall, super-skinny women with perfect hair and makeup? Why is everybody so warm and welcoming? Isn’t this New York?  Aren’t those folks supposed to be over-caffeinated, underfed and dangerously stressed out? I realize that I’m going to be OK here.  
The day was off to too good a start, so I wasn’t surprised when my computer log-on didn’t work. I secretly wonder if hiring me was all some big mistake. I know that I’m here as part of an upcoming “stunt” issue of the magazine—one devoted to doing new things and stepping out of your comfort zone. Maybe part of the stunt is to bring me here and then admit that it is all a joke. I shush the negative voices in my head.
While the IT department deals with my computer problems, I settle in with a pile of books being considered for review. As a book-aholic, there’s very little that I would rather be doing than reading. Do people really do this for a living? I’m positive I chose the wrong career.
Alas, a staff meeting interrupts my bliss. While editors are firing off ideas for new blog posts and cheeky slideshows faster than I can process, I find myself scanning the room, picking the staff members I’d love to have in my book club. Would it be presumptuous to invite executive editor Judy Coyne to lunch to discuss books? These women remind me of my friends. They are funny.
Since I am horrible with names, I keep a list on my desk of the people who stop by to introduce themselves. It quickly fills up with editorial staff inviting me to lunch. They’re not only friendly and funny—they eat!     
By midafternoon, my computer identity crisis is resolved. “Why don’t you write a blog post about your experience today?” Laura says. Doesn’t she realize most people can’t just write on command? I’m sweating already. But, like any good 49-year-old intern, I start typing. Soon, I’m handing over my first blog for review. Flashing back to college English classes, I await my grade. But Laura’s feedback is kind and more concerned with focus than grammar. I think I’m getting the hang of this.

Next: Navigating Social Media

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