Monday, October 03, 2011

midlife monday: turning tricks

Oh forties! Why do you make me feel like a giddy schoolgirl?
No. I hasten to add that no, I am not dribbling inconsolably over the Biebs. Neither have I become strangely silent when the object of my crush walks into the room/coffee shop/park. Come to think of it, I wasn't way back when anyway though I'm sure I would be completely tongue-tied if confronted with unlimited George Clooney (substitute Daniel Craig if you're a little younger ... oh hell, I'll have them both).
No, this is career giddiness. It's the what-am-i-going-to-do-for-the-rest-of-my-life? giddiness that afflicts the "What do you want to be when you grow up?" generation. Right now, I know what I don't want to do (I think) but am not so sure of the specifics. I need to explore more, to experience the world of millenial working that I've been out of for the last decade.
One idea I've been pondering is working in a few internships (OK, a lot of internships), so I can learn a bit more about an industry completely new to me (writing, freelancing, communication) and expand my network some more. I have so many fragments of ideas that I'm in danger of getting lost in them, so time to focus. But who would take on a 46 year old intern? Aren't interns for high school and college kids?
Apparently not.
The definition of an intern is someone, usually a school or college graduate, who receives educational training while working in a paid or unpaid position. Wikipedia broadens the definition to include mid-career persons too ... which I guess includes midlife mature mothers such as myself.
And if I needed further proof that my age doesn't disqualify me Jian Ghomeshi's guest today was none other than a 42 year old intern in the film industry. *claps hands with delight and validation*
Well - not so fast. This particular intern, Eric Glatt who along with another intern, is launching a class action lawsuit against the company involved in producing Black Swan, Fox Searchlight, for violating labour law by using unpaid interns for jobs which were not educational or for college credits. Glatt's arguement centred around his opinion that, even in accepting an unpaid internship, doing a job which centred round nothing more than entry level office tasks demanded minimum wage payment in lieu of educational content ... which I'm sure causes somewhat a dilemma to both employers of interns and those considering an internship themselves. The suit even warranted comment from Anderson Cooper of CNN about suing for pay in an unpaid position being wrong (secondhand reporting I know but I cannot find a link to the piece I heard on Q this morning).
So, is an internship all about working for no pay? about starting back again at the bottom of the pile? of putting up and shutting up? and then fetching the coffee (again)?
For one thing, at 42 years old Glatt is no employment newcomer, unlike many high school or college grads. Unless he's been living off a trust fund till now, he will have been showing up to work to earn a salary on a daily basis. I can understand that in a lot fo cases, an internship is as much about learning to work as it is about acquiring job-specific skills. Is it right therefore to expect a skilled worker to grub about in the entry-level bottom rungs of employment? Why not check out their skill sets and place them appropriately?
As a mature worker, I do already have a level of competence in employment. My skills are rusty but I know what I can do. What I will be looking for in an internship, is an introduction to the career I'm interested in, not a recap on how to make coffee. I am more than willing to muck in with the work environment but I am averse to being exploited. Pay I'm not so fussed about, though it does put the icing on the cake, but only as long as my unpaid input is rewarded with relevant on-the-job training.
Entitled, much? I'm sure I will have rattled a few well preened feathers. I can hear the, who does she think she is - pfft! stay-at-home mothers these days think the world owes them.
Well - it does, but that's a different story.
ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!