MORE's Over-40 Intern Diaries: Moment of Truth—Should I Switch Careers?

Ruth Morganto, 49, wanted to explore a new career but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Read what happens on her last day as a MORE intern

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

"To achieve something you have never achieved, you must do something you have never done.” I’m walking to work on my last day at More and a street sign has just summed up my internship.
I still can’t believe that I, the rarely impulsive homebody who hates cities and new experiences, worked up the courage to apply for this crazy job. I will never understand why they picked me, but I’m thrilled that they did.

My final assignment at More: write a summary blog about my experience.  OK…here it is.

In these past two weeks, I’ve learned a lot about producing a magazine, but I’ve learned even more about myself. The Shrinking Violet doll I treasured as a child spoke my truth: “I’m just afraid of everything!”  But now that I’ve had this intern experience, the anxiety that plagued me for decades has abated. I’m calmer and confident than I ever thought was possible. Before I started, Laura asked what she could do to make me more comfortable and I joked that I was so far outside of my comfort zone that I couldn’t even see the edge. But with each new experience and assignment my comfort zone has expanded—exponentially! More important, every day has been fun. I read numerous books, was treated to many delicious meals, visited a dear friend and made new friends.

When I applied to be a midlife intern, I was a little lost, maybe even a little bored. Work was slow. I fantasized about the life I could’ve had, one in which I put my English lit degree to use as a writer. But a funny thing happened during my time here: Though I loved working with these women, I realized that perhaps I’m better suited to my current field. I know that journalism offers few permanent positions, particularly for those who aren’t willing to move to New York.  I love my home and have no plan to uproot my family (although I wouldn’t be opposed to pursuing some local freelance opportunities).

I’m returning to my counseling job with new insights into the world of journalism. I doubt that anyone could have made better use of this experience, because as a career counselor, I have the opportunity to share my newfound knowledge with my students.
 
My sister has always claimed that I live in “a fluffy world where everything works out as it should.”  It may seem that way to outsiders, but I like to believe that I just look for the good in any situation. And when the world comes crashing in—as it almost did when that Mac computer rejected me on day one—I try to laugh. Although it may be true that serendipity brought me to this job, the people made it work out. They challenged me, mentored me and made me smile. For them this was just a lark, but for me it was an achievement, and I’m so grateful for the experience.

Read Ruth's blog, starting from the beginning here

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