We’ve been talking quite a bit about second careers, encore careers, etc. here on Unretirement Project. I ran across a newly minted term recently that might relate to it – minternship. It’s defined as a way for individuals in the mid-career stage to get real-world experience. So, think of it as an internship for thirty-year olds.
But that got me thinking. If it’s acceptable to do a minternship in your thirties, why not in your forties, fifties, or sixties?! The goal is still the same: learn a new industry or profession. Isn’t it better to try out a new career before going all in and then realizing you don’t want to do this for the rest of your life?
I can see minternships happening both internally and externally. If someone wants to change industries, a minternship allows them to learn about a new field. Let’s say you wanted to move from the private sector to a non-profit. Internally, a minternship could allow an employee to try out a new position. Such as going from human resources to marketing. Or vice versa. Finally, employees might want to do a combination of the two. Maybe moving to part-time status in their current role so they can work as a freelancer.
Regardless of how a person does it, there is some planning and preparation that needs to take place. Here are six things to keep in mind.
- Get support from family and friends. Making this type of change is a family discussion. Even if you live on your own, there may be others that depend on you for caregiving or support. Talk with your family and friends about what you’re hoping to accomplish and how they can support you.
- Make changes to your financial position. It’s likely that a minternship will not pay the same amount of money you’re making right now. It’s also likely that a minternship will change the benefits you’re accustomed to. You’ll want to take this into consideration as you’re thinking about a change.
- Put your ego in check. Chances are you’re very good at your current job. Others might see you as an expert. Learning a new job or industry means you won’t be the person that everyone looks to. In fact, you’re going to be looking for others to show you the ropes. Get used to it.
- Be curious. This goes with the conversation about your ego. We’re going to have to ask questions, read books, watch videos, etc. to learn more about the role and responsibilities. Some of that might happen on your own time. If you’re used to not going to training or spending time to stay current, you’ll have to change your thinking.
- Define what success looks like. It’s possible that a minternship might make you realize that you don’t want to make a change. And that’s okay. No, let me rephrase that. Finding out that you don’t want to make a change is success. It’s important to look back on this activity and see the positive.
- Create a re-entry plan. At some point, the official minternship will be wrapping up and you’ll need to figure out next steps. While you might not have all the answers initially, it could make sense to journal the minternship experience and create a plan for what you will do once the minternship is over.
Minternships could be a great way for us to test-drive new work experiences and make decisions about the future. But they can’t be done in a silo. With proper planning and communication, a minternship can help us figure out our unretirement.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Orlando, FL