Today’s guest blogger is Teresa Zell. She is an Army veteran and an intern in the IRS Veteran Employment Office.
Sometimes life has a way of knocking you down and stopping you in your tracks. It’s at those moments when you have to make a decision to either stay down and give up, or shake it off and move on.
I’m a veteran who proudly served my country. The injuries I sustained while on active duty prevented me from continuing to work in my chosen field. For the first time in my adult life, I found myself unemployed. I didn’t know what steps to take, or where I would find myself in the future. I was scared, which isn’t something I’m used to. Like most people, being scared also isn’t something I like.
Worse yet, I’m not very good at asking for help. I pride myself on being self-sufficient and a nose-to-the-grind-stone kind of worker. I was in new territory and I wasn’t sure where to begin. I had to start somewhere and the first step was to make a choice: I could do nothing or pick a new path altogether.
New paths can be just as scary as finding that your old path has ended. However, they can also be rewarding if you are open to new possibilities and the challenges that come with them.
I reached out to the Veterans Administration and was assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor who worked closely with me, assessed my needs, and helped me decide on a new career path. I decided to focus on my education and will complete my Bachelor of Business Administration next June. I also accepted a four-month non-paid internship with the IRS in the Veterans Employment Office.
While I don’t receive monetary compensation for my work at the IRS, the intrinsic rewards I’ve received are invaluable. As a veteran myself, I’m honored to help fellow veterans find new opportunities, whether they be paid or non-paid.
I’ve received training, which helped enhanced my skills. This built up my confidence, which is essential to helping me find new opportunities for myself. I’m confident that my IRS experience will eventually lead to full-time federal work.
If you’ve found that you’re facing changes and challenges, and are looking for a new path, I encourage you to consider a non-paid internship. It’s a means to gaining new training, meeting new contacts, and expanding your résumé.
The choices you make – or don’t make – will have an impact. Non-paid internships have great value and will enrich your life in many ways.
Have you ever chosen a job for the experience over the money?
Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.
Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to “do good and do well.” The first ten years of my career were in non-profit and educational organizations. I appreciated the fact that my work had a direct impact on people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, high school kids, the homeless, people struggling with substance abuse and others in society who’ve got a rough shake. At the same time, since I was a proposal writer I was able to make a decent living to support my family and allow me to be philanthropically generous. That was a huge win-win for me…and I hope I never stray from that path as my career progresses.
Of course, the real litmus test for all my jobs was this question: would I work in this job even if I didn’t get paid? If I didn’t feel passionately about a “yes” to that guiding query, I’d not take it…and I even moved on quickly from jobs where it became obvious when that wasn’t true.