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Weighing in on Interning: Ask Noah

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: At 27 I am considering an internship at a large film company. This would mean leaving my low-paying desk job that is boring and completely unsatisfying. What factors should I consider while deciding?

A: If you are going to take a chance, now would be the right time. Still, proceed with caution and eyes wide open.

You currently make very little money, are you prepared to make NO money? I assume you would need to cut down on expenses. Think about what you would be willing to sacrifice for this opportunity. Before taking the leap, plan a very specific but doable budget, keeping in mind that even interns need to eat!

The entertainment industry is tough. You will work long hours, often doing tedious and mindless tasks for folks that seem unappreciative. It requires an unwavering commitment, extreme persistence and tremendous tenacity.

Bottom line: don't leave a paying job if you aren't really certain that this is what you were always meant to do!

Observe your personal life. Have you experienced some major life stressors in the last month? Be sure that your desire to make this specific change isn't being stoked by unrelated factors. If this is the case, give yourself some extra time to make your decision. If you make the move, make it for the right reasons.

Can your ego handle the title 'intern' after being gainfully employed? This transition may require some getting used to. Can you handle the potential naysayers that believe you made the wrong decision; perhaps even close friends and family? Ask yourself these questions very carefully and see what comes up for you.

Do your research; does this company have a history of hiring interns? If so, how strong is their internship program? Will you have a mentor or advisor there? Do they have a habit of using interns for six months-- only to get rid of them when they begin to inquire after paid positions?

Most internships do not guarantee future paid positions. Heed my advice, advocate for yourself by asking some investigative questions before taking them up on their offer.

After weighing the pros and cons, you will make the right decision.

I look forward to hearing how it all turns out.

Please send questions and comments to ASK NOAH at

Have a profitable and peaceful week,


This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Noah Kass is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction, relationship issues and work stressors. He has been Clinical Director at The Dunes: East Hampton and Realization Center in Union Square. Mr. Kass was a frequent guest on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show," featured in a segment called "Kass' Couch" and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.

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