Five Blissful Benefits of an Uncommon Internship in Mid-Life

Written by Kristine Lassen

Graphic Design by Joel Lopez

“You’re getting paid, right?” my friend asks me.

“No. I’m not. It’s an internship.” I’ve just told her how much fun I’m having in my new position, despite being the oldest one on my team by well over a decade.

Crickets. My friend is so silent that I can hear the gears turning in her head. Is she going to ask me what she wants to ask? Is she going to ask me if I was nuts to take an internship at my age? Is she going to ask what I could benefit from an internship now that my long healthcare career is winding down?

No, she doesn’t ask. We move on to another topic. I know she thinks I’m crazy and weird. She’s not alone. I have the same thoughts from time to time. But taking an internship later in life can be a fantastic way to switch careers, gain new knowledge, and be a part of the Employee Revolution!

Here are five benefits of this internship. It’s been a fantastic experience for me, and it could be for you also.

1. The World is Going Remote; Time to Get Onboard

For those of us in healthcare, retail, or other service industries, remote work has not been a viable option. Yet, we long to reap the benefits of working from home. Service industries require skills that translate well into remote jobs, such as collaboration and conflict management. To an employer, that may not be so obvious. An employer may be hesitant to hire someone without remote experience, even with a robust resume. After years in the clinic, I wanted the flexibility of remote work, but who would hire a woman in her fifties without any experience? Nobody. That’s who. It didn’t matter that I had decades of work experience. I couldn’t get a foot in the door of the jobs I wanted because I had the wrong kind of experience. This internship boosts my resume, gives me the experience employers are looking for, and helps me move in a new direction. 

2. Learning New Skills

I have developed a strong skillset after over two decades in the clinic. To take my career in a new direction, though, I needed new skills. Different skills. I may be an expert at treating vertigo and balance dysfunction, but I didn’t know the difference between SEO and a UFO before starting my internship. Gaining skills that make me more marketable in my new field is an enormous benefit of this internship. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and the structure of this experience has pointed me in the right direction, giving me skills that are necessary for my career expansion.

3. My Fellow Interns Make Me Feel Young

Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room–I’m old. Old enough to be the mother of most of the other people on the team. And guess what? I like it! It’s energizing to work with a younger generation. I feel wise and clueless at the same time. I had my phone camera pointed at the wall during my first Skype meeting. When my team reviewed a draft of my first blog, they corrected my pronouns. My teammates are the future of the workplace. They are in the starting blocks of their careers. And although my healthcare career is winding down, I’m not done with the workplace. So, I need to stay current; I hope to remain relevant. They are helping me with that. I can learn a lot from them.

Group of people celebrating the benefits of a remote internship.

4. I'm Not Alone

When I decided to transition out of the clinic and into a remote position, I had options. I could go back to school, watch a million YouTube videos, take online courses, or even take one of the fantastic courses offered here. But I know myself, and if I tried to teach myself how to create content via YouTube videos, I would find myself down the rabbit hole of baking videos and knee-deep in chocolate ganache. I needed structure. I needed accountability. I needed to know what I didn’t know! I needed help with building an online network. The resources available to me through this internship are a considerable benefit and keep me on track. Shifting to a new career path takes time and effort however you choose to do it. Everything is a trade-off. The 10 hours a week devoted to this internship are more efficient than trying to cobble together a comparable experience.

5. Have Some Fun!

The last couple of years has highlighted the importance of doing work that I love. And I did not love my job. I have been burned out for quite a few years but did not feel like I had other options. I am not alone, and neither are you! The Great Resignation continues as people leave their jobs for more fulfilling roles. With my internship, not only am I doing work that I find fun and fulfilling, but I get to try on different hats and positions within the organization. It’s like shoe shopping, and I’m looking for that perfect pair of Chelsea boots!

If I decided not to take this internship, I’d be stuck in the same position I was in four months ago, wanting things to be different yet unsure how to make it happen. It’s never too late to course-correct, try something new, or do work that you love. For more super career advice, check out more of our blogs

Have a Super Day!

Kristine Lassen

Happy in my remote job, combining my love of health, wellness, and words.