“After more than 30 years working with autistic teens and deaf senior citizens, 53-year-old Susan Cherry, who is deaf herself, was looking for a change.
Her dream had always been to work in a medical lab, but her high school teachers had warned Cherry against it because of her hearing disability.
But when she recently learned that the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology offered medical classes, Cherry decided to return to school full-time to get a second bachelor’s degree.
The only problem was that in order to fulfill her graduation requirements, she’d have to do something that’s atypical for a 50-year-old: complete a 10-week unpaid internship.
Cherry is just one of many older people in the U.S. doing something that would’ve been largely unheard for those nearing retirement age in generations past: taking steps to reinvent herself, rather than preparing to retreat from the professional world.
“There have always been mature workers who simply enjoy work and don’t wish to fully retire ’til much later in life,” says Ryan Hunt, senior career advisor for CareerBuilder.com. “But in this economic climate, it’s clear many are applying for new jobs due to financial constraints.”
In addition, increased longevity and changing notions of aging are causing more Americans to look for new professional opportunities as they enter into their 50s, 60s, and even 70s. Plenty, like Cherry, are seeking out internships or entry-level jobs to help them get to the next stage of their lives….”