Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number: Why You’re Never Too Old to Be an Intern

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From Robert De Niro in The Intern to Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship, scenarios in which older gents snag intern roles — and report to superiors much younger than them — have been played for comedy gold recently on the silver screen. Besides revealing a lack of creativity when it comes to titling movies, these films actually touch on a growing reality. But being an older intern isn’t necessarily a laughing matter — here are three reasons why it’s a great idea to be an intern at any age:

Pivoting Careers:

It’s less and less common for employees to stay at the same company for years at a time. And often, these employees aren’t leaving their jobs for similar positions elsewhere, but entirely new careers. Sometimes it takes a few years to figure out that a career just isn’t going to work for you, or your field experiences a major downturn and you’re pretty much forced to find work elsewhere. That’s where internships come in. If you’re pivoting your career to an entirely new field, snagging an internship is a great way to get your foot in the door. Plus, with an internship, you’re usually only committing to three months of work, so if you’re not entirely sure that this is the pivot you want to take with your career, an internship is a great way to test the waters without making a years-long commitment. Since you’re already arriving at this potential new field a little late in the game, you’re probably a little wary of spending years in a new position without testing it out first. An internship is the perfect compromise.

Re-Entering the Workforce:

Thanks to a rapid advances in technology, most job roles are now constantly evolving. If you’ve been out of the job game for even just a few years, the role you would be returning to may be almost unrecognizable. So for folks re-entering the workforce, snagging an internship is a great way to re-introduce yourself to the working world and acquaint yourself to all that’s new. Whether you’re a former stay-at-home parent or someone returning from extended medical leave, an internship may be just what you need. Not to mention, with today’s fiercely competitive job market, someone with a gap in their resume may not be able to find paying work right of the bat, so taking an internship becomes a required stepping stone to getting that paycheck back.

Learning New Skills:

You don’t have to be out of a job to land an internship — internships are a great way to simply learn new skills at any age. Finding an internship that complements — but doesn’t duplicate — the skills you’re learning in your current position could be a great way to give you a leg up on the corporate ladder. True, you’ll need to focus on part-time internships (or even internships that let you work from home), but if you’re really passionate about the subject at hand, you can find a way to make it work.

And really, entering the internship world with a few years of working full-time under your belt could be the ideal scenario if you’re looking at unpaid internships — you’ll be better able to support yourself through a few paycheck-less months since you’ve (hopefully!) been saving up some cash from your previous job. As an older intern, you can ditch the constant ramen dinners, and that’s a major plus.

Have you ever taken an internship where you were the oldest intern around? What was your experience like? Share with us in the comments below!

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