Mid-Career Internships: Just Like College, Without The Fun!

by SixFigureStart | July 16, 2009

  • My Vault

We can give you articles, advice and resources until we're blue in the face - and we will - but the ties that we believe truly bind us are our shared experiences as members of the Pink Slipped nation. Sure, we may be gainfully employed (for the moment at least) in the business of dispensing unemployment truth, commentary and humor, but there isn't anyone among us who hasn't experienced a layoff, or a long period of unemploymentality. With this in mind, we offer you the Temporary Tales: Anecdotes of odd jobs, temp jobs, part time jobs, time-passing techniques or sanity maintenence tactics that we employed during our own struggles with unemployment, brought to you (almost) every Thursday. As our own tales continue to roll along and inevitably inspire your memories (or your belief that anything we can blog you can blog better), we invite you to share your story with us. Be it inspirational, horrifying, hilarious or somewhere in between, if you think you've got a Temporary Tale worth sharing, send it to us at PinkSlipped@Vault.com.

This week in Temporary Tales, the Wall Street Journal steals our idea!

Okay, not exactly, but WSJ is currently running a story on older, experienced laid-off workers taking their chances with unpaid internships as unemployment numbers continue to rise. The article proves that not all Temporary Tales have to be harrowing. The three interns profiled in the story, aged 26, 28 and 33, all seem to be genuinely happy to be working all day for diddly squat.

"It gives me the ability to keep my skills sharp and keep myself active," Ms. Gibney says. Before landing the 16-hour-a-week gig, she adds, "I felt guilty and depressed just sitting at home looking for jobs that didn’t exist."

Now she just feels depressed when she sits at her desk and realizes that her current job only sort of exists. But hey, it's 16 less hours spent searching for the remote, so she's got that going for her.

To be perfectly fair and reasonable, an unpaid internship is really almost never a bad thing. Sure, you'd rather be getting paid, but internships might open up the possibility of that happening down the road. Do a good job for the company as an intern and who knows what might happen. Even if you don't get brought on full time there, we've said a million times that job searching is about networking, and networking is, when it comes down to it, about knowing and developing relationships with as many people as possible. Your internship might provide you with other opportunities, like compensation for training and certification courses, which another one of the article's interns was taking advantage of. Finally, an unpaid internship can prove particularly useful if you're attempting to transition from one industry or career path to another. No luck finding jobs in your new industry due to lack of experience? Use your 20 or so unpaid hours per week to learn those necessary skills and beef up your new resume.

Plus, your becoming an intern will free up those 16-20 hours a week for some college student, and lord knows they don't have enough free time.

Starting Fresh With an Unpaid Internship [Wall Street Journal]


--Posted by Steven Schiff, Asst. Producer Vault.com

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