Retirees At Work: How To Start Afresh - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Retirees At Work: How To Start Afresh

Dec 04, 2015

Retirees At Work: How To Start Afresh 

Have you seen The Intern? It's a recent movie starring Robert De Niro.

De Niro plays Ben, a 70-year-old retiree. Ben, like many retirees we have written about before, found that retirement is not all it was cut out to be. Instead of being relaxed he seemed restless. Instead of being at peace he seemed at unease.

He has enough money and friends, but something seems to be missing. He misses being helpful, productive, and busy... all the symptoms of leaving a job and giving up work.

It was then that he found a sign, 'Senior Interns Wanted'.

And it was thus that he ended up as an intern for an online fashion website, founded by a young entrepreneur, Jules.

The rest of the movie shows him navigating his way through an office where most people are young enough to be his children, teaching a few things about life and work to these young ones, and along the way, learning a few things from them too. Most importantly, it shows in Ben a feeling of fulfilment.
Older Common Sense Living readers often write to us asking us what they should do. They may be financially secure, and tucked away safely with their loved ones, but are hankering for the kind of busy excitement that used to come from working.

We usually share ideas such as start a business, learn a new skill and turn it into a profit, volunteer at local organisations, write a book, new hobby, etc.

This movie gives us a new idea... how about becoming an intern?

But is this possible? Are there companies giving retirees opportunities to intern or in any other way contribute to their endeavours?

Probably not. Formally, I have never heard any Indian company, startup or otherwise, posting opportunities for retirees.

But don't let that stop you. With your years of experience, you have so much more to offer any company than a young, straight-out-of-college kid.

And with Indian entrepreneurs getting younger everyday, many of them would be glad to have the expertise and wisdom of an older person around as they muddle through the challenges of starting and growing a business.

Our friend, Michelle Hammond from the Escapologist, wrote an article talking about how to get yourself an internship, no matter what your age. Here's what she says...

Anisa Virji,
Managing Editor, Common Sense Living


Retiree internships are big business

As far as I can tell, there aren't any retiree internship programs here at home. But in the U.S., no one is off limits as a potential intern - not even retirees. In fact, retirees are often seen as the ideal candidates.

When Bill Clinton was in office, the U.S. Senate offered a Senior Citizen Internship Program, whereby anyone over 60 had the chance to work under a U.S. Senator for two weeks.

Then in 2009, Barack Obama signed a law that allows for the creation of federal fellowships for anyone aged 55-plus in every U.S. state.

This was a move inspired by, a company that helps older workers transition from high-power positions to retirement.

It does this by pairing them with non-profits in need of private-sector expertise.

The benefits are obvious. Keeping older workers in a job can boost the economy, alleviate retirement insecurity, and even deter people from accessing the pension.

Far from being a charitable act, any company who hires an intern also stands to benefit, says Ryan Hunt, senior career advisor for

"They bring advanced decision-making, mentoring and leadership qualities to the table that many of their younger counterparts still haven't developed," he says.

Reinvent yourself with an internship

I think it's safe to assume you won't be earning big bucks (or any bucks, even) as an intern.

But if you're looking for a change of pace, or a chance to learn some new skills, interning could be the answer.

It was certainly the answer for Deborah Mitchell, who used an internship to "rebrand" herself after losing her job at CBS News. Deborah had been in the industry for 25 years.

"I was thrown into a job market that was in transition - social and digital media were the new ways to communicate, and I didn't have the skills," she says.

"Part of my career makeover involved interning again. As an adult, I had to swallow my pride and forgo the monetary value of my years of experience and become a student again."

Deborah, who went on to start her own company, has three key pieces of advice for other would-be older interns.

  1. Create a new brand. "Make a list of your skills, the must-haves, and what you can do without in your new work life. Once you've narrowed the list down, it's time to start researching your internship."
  2. Learn new skills. "Ask for more responsibilities, to sit in on meetings and conference calls, and to shadow the most active employees of your department."
  3. Network, network, network. "Create friendly, respectful bonds with everyone you meet - you never know who might become a useful contact or a helpful reference."

Why an internship is the perfect opportunity

Think about how many interns are in their 20s, straight out of university (or still studying), and with no solid know-how of, well, anything.

This is where you stand out. You can highlight your years of experience, not to mention your track record of reliability and hard work. Any company would be foolish to pass you up in favour of a wayward 20-something.

There are plenty of ways to find internships. Head to networking events. Hit up job boards. Get active on LinkedIn. You might be surprised by what you find.

Use an internship as a way of "winding down" after your career. Or "winding up", if you're looking for a career change.

Or simply use it as a way to meet new people. Learn new things. And above all, enjoy yourself.

Michelle Hammond
The Escapologist


Michelle has the right idea. As one of my Retire Rich readers wrote to tell me: I want to retire from work, not from life.

And why shouldn't you continue to live richly productive lives? Our society, our economy... they're all changing. This is a wonderful time to live in India - possibility is everywhere. And that's why our retirement ideas are so popular. They give you the opportunity to create the ideal retirement for you - ideas for the richest, most creative, most fulfilling second life you could possibly imagine. Just click here to see what I'm talking about.

Image Source: The Intern Poster


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4 Responses to "Retirees At Work: How To Start Afresh"


11 Dec, 2015

the article along with addendum forms a of knowledge for those who are looking for landing lights (as in the case of an aeroplane). thank U Anisa. Regards, CS


04 Dec, 2015

Anisaji-Great idea for retired people like us. But truly speaking our working Inc do not realise the advantage of engaging the retiree or possibly the mind set needs a transformation to adopt your suggestions. Trust if not in the near future at least in the time to come retiree will get an opportunities to serve the society. Regards.

Like (1)


04 Dec, 2015

Excellent and inspiring;


04 Dec, 2015

Interning is not that easy. After you are 60 most youngsters in the set up think you are anachronistic, have outlived your usefulness. While it is tough, one may give it a try, be sportive when you are being referred to behind your back as oldie. Take such things in its stride and you may be a successful intern