Making a career change. . . is it worth it?

I have changed my career enough times now that I’ve realized it doesn’t matter how far along you are in your current career or even the reasons you’re ready to make the change but just how determined you are to make it happen.

There have been so many times throughout my adulthood where I’ve thought that I was too old or not smart enough to be taking a new path. Somehow I’ve managed to persevere, grow, adapt and excel to that next thing.

I read up on a few articles on how other people have made changes in their own life when it came to a career that they never would have imagined doing. Their stories all seem to be similar in the number of hours of work put in and the sleep they lost. Well, let me tell you it’s all true.

“In fact, anyone can become a web designer and/or developer with just three things: a computer, internet connection, and determination.”

Rean John Uehara

Unintentionally falling into the public service of firefighting and paramedicine at a very young age became not just a career move but also a lifestyle per se. Initially, I started an EMT-B (emergency medical technician) course at my community college not knowing anything about what an EMT-Basic actually does. I only signed up so I could get a ‘job’ as an EMT “driving” people to the hospital to pay my way through college instead of slaving away on an assembly line at General Motors (where I was laid off anyhow). I eventually had some of my classmates talk me into starting the fire academy that summer and the rest is history.

Once I started with my first fire department as a volunteer I was hooked, the adrenaline, the helping of those in need at their darkest hour kept me going. I loved it. I had a second family at the firehouse, my brothers and sisters were always going to take care of me, but they would never be able to keep me from the effects caused by tragedy. Things I saw on a daily were things most people would never see in their lifetime. I knew I needed a change but what was next for me? I was 26 with no degree and I knew nothing but fire and EMS. So I took myself to the Navy recruiters office and said sign me up, I’m ready to go now!

I joined the Navy made it through boot camp as a 26-year-old with mostly younger recruits at my side. After boot camp graduation, I was sent to A school to learn my trade as an Aviation Electronics Technician (AT), then to C school to learn my platform (E2-C Hawkeye). After technical schools, I was sent to Atsugi, Japan for my first assignment as a maintainer with Squadron VAW-115. I was reassigned to my next duty station in Norfolk, VA with Squadron VAW-126 where I deployed for 9 months on the USS Harry S. Truman. I served my initial 4-year active duty contract and was released to the Individual Ready Reserves for the remaining 4 years of my contract.

After being released to the civilian/Veteran status I returned to my ‘security blanket’ the fire service and started my degree in nursing. Once again the fire service took its toll on me. Fortunately, because of my training in the Navy, I was able to get into the civilian side of electronics. I knew the field of electronics wasn’t what I wanted to do forever so started looking for other options ( I watched a lot of YouTube videos). I kept coming across everything in the information technology field. I knew I could get where I wanted quickly carrying over a lot of what I already knew and learned in school. So I signed up for some courses in the web design program, little did I know I would enjoy it as much as I have. I love everything about it which makes it hard to focus on just a few aspects and get really good at them because I want to know all of it and be able to create all of it on my own!

So if you are thinking of changing careers regardless of where you are on this life path, I say do it! Challenge yourself! See if you have what it takes to get where you want to go! Learn and do, failures only lead to success.

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