Who the heck *are* you guys?

Those are the words of the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person when my cube nayber and I stormed his office this morning. Actually, we didn’t even think he would be back today. We thought he’d be out all week. I’m sure he expected to be able to sort of settle back in to work today and slowly remember what the heck he does for a living. Everybody on my team is a bit like that. We are designers. But we had a question and so we nabbed him. And brought him right straight back to reality. Ka-whomp.

Hey, NPR is just now talking about non-traditional interns. That caught my attention. Because that’s how I got my loverly job working for the LSCHP. I was in my early 50s. I was taking classes at our top-notch community college. I signed up for User Experience III for that term. The course description mentioned doing work for real clients. I figured I would be writing 40-50 page analyses of non-profit websites. Analyses that would be ultimately thrown into the circular file.

Not. To my absolute horror, when I got to the class the first night, I found out that each of us would be assigned to do “free” internships with various tech companies. I knew about two of the companies and even knew some of the folks who worked for them. The third? Who the heck? Sounds like corporate America to me. I “prayed” that I wouldn’t be matched up with that one. Of course I WAS!!! And the kicker? The prof snagged me at the end of the class to impart the knowledge that *my* internship would be a *paid* internship and (of course) it would not be good to let the rest of the class know that I was getting paid. Yeah…

Yikes! This involved an actual interview in whatever bizcaz-able clothing I could muster. The summer intern that I replaced was an ultra-smart young Harvard whippersnapper. I can still remember thinking what a hard act I would have to follow. But the other team members were around my age or older and, although the LSCHP is a bit younger, he is not exactly a spring chicken himself.

And so, I woman-ed up and took the damn drug test aaaaannnndddd… After three months of interning… I. Was. Hired. As a full-time salaried employee.

I am awful enough at things like job interviews that I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t have been hired off the street. But, as an intern, I was able to demonstrate that I was reliable and could get along with people (yes, really) and do productive work on our product.

Now, I was a bit dumb-founded when NPR interviewed a mom who went back to work via an internship at the age of 41 (!) who had to be trained to use social media tools. 41? Say what?

One Response to “Who the heck *are* you guys?”

  1. Margaret Says:

    That’s really cool how you got your job! I’m hoping that my older daughter falls into something in the non-profit world. She’s decent in interviews, but quiet and shy. She isn’t full of fake charm and energy although she’s a very hard and reliable worker. 41 and couldn’t use social media tools? Ouch.