- Posted January 3, 2011 by
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Sudden or drastic career change?
From Tech Writer to File Clerk
"We just draw lines." That was our motto for ten years. We drew diagrams and schematics for aircraft. We did a lot more like ensuring documentation was accurate, listings for equipment was complete, interacted with costumers foreign and domestic, and set the pace of team development for our branch in the business. We got awards and recognition for our hard work, but people just believed we drew lines and that was all.
After 9/11, the aircraft industry took a major hit. Our group was always looking to see if we were the next person or group of people to get chopped. Layoffs were rampant and it didn't matter how long you were with the company, just sometimes your number was up. I saw a lot of great people go, and a few people we all wished would go never were even threatened. But we all saw the writing on the wall.
I had talked to my supervisor about my options about a month before the new cuts were going to go into effect. He advised me to take a two year educational sabbatical and get my degree. If I went on the company's "dime" they had to hold a job open for me. I jumped at the chance.
Instead of opting for the engineering degree that would seal my fate to the company, I went after a communications degree and fell in love with the work I did as an internship requirement. I had found my calling. I loved being in the public eye and decided that public affairs would be my new career field.
The problem with the switch was that the company that footed my bill didn't have any openings. So back to the technical writing field of drawing lines. I was unhappy and looked for jobs where ever I could. I even tried an internal internship with the public affairs group in my company. I just couldn't find a break.
Then news of future layoffs came down again. I was frantic to find a new job. I couldn't handle the will we or won't we be laid off mentality any more.But public affairs was not in my immediate future.
My husband landed a job in a different state. It was an entry into government service as a civilian firefighter for a military base. He was so excited and he accepted the job before we even discussed it. What was I to do. I made good money at the company, but I was in danger of losing that job due to lack of work coming in. So, I made the plunge. I quit and picked up my family and moved to a different state.
I was unemployed for several months, scouring want ads, job fairs, and even church groups for leads to a job. It was five months, 18 days, and 22 hours before I landed a decent job interview. Two hours later, I landed two more.
One interview I just didn't like. It was for a technical writer and although the pay was good, I wasn't fond of the people interviewing me. One person didn't even look me in the eye the entire hour I was there. The vibe was wrong and I knew I didn't get the job within five minutes of being there.
The other two interviews went smashingly. In fact, I did so well, I got offers from both of them. Here is the thing, I turned down the public affairs job for the menial file clerk job. Why? It was a matter of timing.
The public affairs job took over six different interviews, a test of my personality, and made me dream so large that I felt I could take on the world. The problem, the interviewer took over two weeks to let me know how I was progressing between interviews. I was in complete limbo. I started interviewing two months before I got the job offer, which was three days after I accepted the job offer for the file clerk position.
I am happy with where I landed. I got a good job. It is a lot less money than I am used to making, but the work is honest and I have a jumping off point in the government sector. Within a year, I can transfer to a different position, quite possibly with the public affairs office.
Was it worth it? I think so. I am still rather young, very intelligent and I can make my own future. This time around, I don't have to worry if tomorrow is the day I get my pink slip. Stability has its perks.