MORE's Over-40 Intern Diaries: Navigating Social Media

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

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

“Six Hairstyles That Will Make You Look Younger.”  “Outsmart Your Belly Fat.”  “How To Be Employable in 10 Years.” If you, like me, find yourself perusing articles and slideshows on MORE.comuntil you realize you’ve missed your lunch and forgotten to do the laundry, blame Nicole Papantoniou, the ball of energy behind the magazine’s web presence. And today, learning about More’s site is the name of my internship game.

More thinks it’s important for me hone my technological skills because, let’s face it, being web savvy is critical in today’s job market. And, let’s face it again, women my age looking to make career moves often lack this transferable skill.  While the under-30 crowd blogs, tweets and has personal websites, those of us who were raised with typewriters (I can’t believe I just admitted that!) need to work to develop those skills. So Nicole has generously offered to teach me how to create a slideshow on the Mac computer that I still don’t know how to use. The process intrigues me, but I have to take notes quickly to keep up with her. She’s tossing out words and acronyms like CMS (Content Management System, a program that allows you to edit and publish material), dek (a short blurb about an article) and teaser (a line that lures readers). To me, it may as well be Greek. But when she stands behind me and talks me through my first slideshow—on over-40 love in the movies—it connects. Soon I have five screens open and I’m busily creating online content. While Nicole talks, I find myself wondering how to use this new skill to impress my friends back home in Pennsylvania.
I’ve been thinking a lot about home today. I love it here at More. The work is stimulating and fun. But the reality is that journalism jobs are painfully scarce—even more so for someone who is unwilling to uproot her family. While I’d love to find a way to continue to work with this team, I do intend to return to my day job as a college career counselor. (My husband will breathe a sigh of relief when I tell him the news.)
I wonder if people from New York, a city that seems so career focused, find it easier to concentrate on their work and not let family issues distract them. My daughter is texting me symptoms of what will later be diagnosed as tonsillitis, and I’m struggling to maintain my composure. I can’t be Dr. Mom when she’s away at college, and I’m not even comfortable taking her phone calls since I’m new here. Being a mom has defined me for 20 years, so it’s hard to ignore the ringing, but I want to be professional—even for a temp job where I run little risk of being fired.  
Which is why I’m pleasantly surprised when, amid the low hum of typing and quiet conversations around me, I suddenly overhear a phone call. It seems that one of the staff has an unhappy child at home, and managing her work while comforting this needy little one is proving to be a challenge. Just like every mom, she’s torn. When I later hear her declare this  “the worst day ever,” I feel somehow relieved that I’m not the only one who hasn’t perfected the elusive work-life balance.

While my daughter may feel hurt or even slighted that I couldn’t spend time on the phone with her today, I’m confident that she knows I’ll always be there when it really matters. For now I’m here, going out of my comfort zone to test a new career—and thereby imparting a different lesson: that we’re never too old to try something new.

Next: The Best Things So Far

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