Some mid-career professionals are moving forward by starting over.
Mary Knox Merrill/ Staff
Laid off from her copy-editing job last summer at Standard & Poor’s and seeing her freelance work dwindle, Ms. Fernandez applied for an unpaid internship at the website start-up company wowOwow.com, an online community for women. “I was really attracted by the possibilities and being able to do something that I didn’t necessarily have experience [in],” she says of the Internet-publishing venture.
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. The internship role, once reserved for college students and entry-level candidates, is attracting mid-career professionals eager to retool their skills. With 7 million jobs lost since the beginning of the recession, internships are becoming a sought-after way to reenter the job market.
“There are a lot of adults who are out of work, a lot of adults who want to transition into second careers – and an internship is the best way to get a foot in the door and ... learn about a new industry,” says Lauren Berger, founder of InternQueen.com, a website devoted to college internships.
An internship allowed Linda Franklin to blaze a new career path after 22 years on Wall Street. At age 50, Ms. Franklin applied for an internship at New York’s public radio station WNYC. For the next two years, she lived off her savings while she worked – unpaid – recording sound bites at press conferences and from pedestrians on city streets. The experience, at first, was a hit to her ego.
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