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How'd You Get Where You Are?

Foxer55

A-List Customer
Messages
413
Location
Washington, DC
JennyLou,

Well, I graduated in December with a Bachelors or Arts. 8 months later and over 200 job applications later I still work at a minimum wage job. An American Studies degree is not very popular with employers and if you do want to pursue the field they usually prefer a Masters.

I know the drudgery of all those job applications. Just keep doing it.
 

Gregg Axley

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,125
Location
Tennessee
I've been at the same local agency for 25+ years, moving around to two different departments in that time.
The first department was in Law Enforcement, and I loved it, but the pay sucked.
So I went back to college and earned a degree in Management with a minor in Marketing.
After that I took a job at another department, dealing with an interest I've had since I was a child...automobiles.
This pays more than the last job, but not what my degree warrants, given my knowledge of government policies and procedures.
But I enjoy the people I work with, the duties I have, and the small office I call my own.
Plus I'm provided a car (of my choosing) to do my job with, and the gas is paid for.
Yes there could always be more, but when you finish a 38-40yr career, can you look back fondly on the people you worked with or the jobs you did? If not, then IMHO were the sacrifices you made worth it?

Things could always be worse.
At my previous job I had a cubicle, and almost every vehicle I drove was a Dodge. :eeek:
I HATE Dodge.
 
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Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
It was in the back of my head that one day I'd become an attorney....
I went to a pretty selective Jesuit high school--- more preppy than parochial.
I got my Dream Job by pure luck.


Ignatius?

Law school was always in my sights; though I later declined an offer from Kirkland&Ellis, which sealed my ambitions for the bar.
Inexplicable given my innate interest, but a wanderlust had seized me-heart and soul-and I abandoned the profession without intent.
Circumstance or fate, but I knew it was the right call for me.

Congratulations on your career and all the best in retirement. :)
 

ChiTownScion

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,242
Location
The Great Pacific Northwest
Ignatius?

............Congratulations on your career and all the best in retirement. :)

No, Loyola Academy (Wilmette). Back in my day Ignatius was known as "the jail on Roosevelt Road" and really was not an option: I lived in the northwest burbs and it was either St. Viator in Arlington Heights or the Academy. We were always told at Loyola by teachers who'd also taught at Ignatius what spoiled rich suburban brats we were compared to the noble proletariat on the West Side, so it's kind of nice to see Ignatius become a much more desirable place than it was: they had a huge influx of funding and were able to really improve the facility. Both schools are now co-ed. I would have killed to have girls around in the day.

Academics were not really my forte' until about the latter part of my junior year at the Academy.As I said, I was lazy and content to just pass my courses. Finally came to the point where I began to notice that all of my friends were pulling honors and that being satisfied just to pass courses was no longer cool, so I finally took the advice that had been barked to me for years and applied myself. Whatever else I may have experienced there, I did obtain some decent study skills. Made dean's list all through undergrad, to the amazement of all.

I loved those undergrad years: I was a fanatic about studying, but I also had a fairly active, if somewhat vanilla, social life. A lot of my classmates were returning Nam vets and women who had raised their kids and were finishing their degree work, and they really did not tolerate a lax attitude among their peers. It was a great motivating factor as far as always being prepared for the class work. I restricted my alcohol intake, for the most part, to one weekend early in each semester when I'd go visit friends in Champaign and party all weekend: I'd get it out of my system, then really hit the books for the rest of term.

Undergrad really was the most fun part of my life. Heck, if I were single and had no family responsibilities I'd go back and become a professional undergrad. College kids today should thank my wife for keeping me grounded lest I become the annoying old campus geezer.
 

PistolPete1969

One of the Regulars
Messages
185
Location
Wilds of Southern Ohio
Haven't decided where "here" is, but its been an interesting ride. Born and raised in suburban Phoenix, moved to Toledo (Ohio that is..) my sophomore year of high school, followed by a move to Cincinnati the day after I graduated high school. Joined the US Navy, stationed in San Diego for Boot camp and apprentice school, then off to Bremerton, Washington to join the USS Nimitz. Travelled all over the world, and upheld the tradition of sailors on shore leave in exotic foreign ports....

I am now a corrections officer for the state of Ohio. I have held dozens of other jobs, some better, some worse, but have always managed to at least feed and house myself. That liberal arts degree is really paying off....hahahaha.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
Joined the US Navy, stationed in San Diego for Boot camp and apprentice school, then off to Bremerton, Washington to join the USS Nimitz. Travelled all over the world, and upheld the tradition of sailors on shore leave in exotic foreign ports....


I have some "fond" memories of a bar fight in Piraeus, Greece. We were ordered to stay in barracks or on station because of the Med Fleet visit, so of course we went looking for trouble :eusa_doh: and got our collective asses kicked. Navy won that one. :eek:
 

DesertDan

One Too Many
Messages
1,578
Location
Arizona
I grew up in the construction/maintenance trades.
My stepfather's entire family was in the construction business, so I entered "pile-it training" when I was about 10 years old. When I wasn't in school I was on a construction site of one kind or another. With few exceptions I have performed almost every job involved in the raising of a residential or commercial structure and the on-going maintenance of them. I have held positions from foreman/supervisor all the way up to plant manager.
Right now I work in the facilities department for a large defense contractor as a planner/scheduler of maintenance.

I have always been a musician beginning with piano and trumpet when I was very young (my mother was an accomplished pianist) and took up the bass guitar when I was 13. In my 20s to early 30s performing was responsible for a significant portion of my income, sometimes it was the sole source of it (construction, even during good times, is a feast to famine profession). I still play and perform to this day.
 

newsman

One of the Regulars
Messages
183
Location
Florida
Wow. First. I never thought I would be in the place I am now. I had other desires. That being said I've done everything I've wanted to do. I would just prefer to do more of some of what I have done. But...i am getting older and somethings are best left for people without knee issues.

How did I get where I am, now?

Hard work. Not giving up. I have more than one college degree. But the fact is learning on the job is almost as important as any book you can read. Now that I am in a more technical area of work...that's all there is. Lots of reading. Lots of planning and project management.

At this point it's just a job.
 

Old Rogue

Practically Family
Messages
854
Location
Eastern North Carolina
A graphic arts class in high school peaked my interest in photography, which lead to a part time job as a photographer with the local newspaper. Working for the paper was fun and made me a minor (very minor!) celebrity among my peers, so I figured photojournalism was the hot ticket for a career choice.

Upon graduation from high school I enrolled at Chowan College, which at that time was a small, private, two-year institution located in Northeastern North Carolina. It had a fairly well respected graphic arts/photography program and I got a partial academic scholarship so success in my chosen career seemed assured.

I learned a lot about photography and photojournalism during that first year at Chowan. One of the things I learned was that most of the famous photojournalists that we studied never made much money and an alarming percentage of them died relatively young, often from complications due to alcoholism. Not exactly the career path I had envisioned. Late in the second semester two Air Force officers from the ROTC program at nearby East Carolina University visited our school. Once I told them my SAT scores they became very interested in me and spent most of the afternoon extolling the virtues of life as an officer in the USAF. It all sounded very exciting and who wouldn't want to become a fighter pilot, so I decided to make a strategic shift in my career plans.

Somewhere over the summer the allure of joining the Air Force waned, and instead of ECU I enrolled at Craven Community College as a Business major in the fall. By the end of the school year I was bored out of my mind with business classes, and decided that I would go to work instead of returning to school. I knew I was a smart guy, had always maintained a high GPA, so I didn't see any reason that companies wouldn't be falling all over themselves to hire me.

In no time at all I landed a job as a helper working rotating shifts in a fertilizer plant at a local phosphate mining concern. For those of you who have never worked in a fertilizer plant, trust me it is no dream job. It is hot, exhausting, and at times dangerous work. After kindergarten, grade school, high school and two years of college, the year I spent working in the fertilizer plant turned out to be the best education I could have gotten. I learned that smart guys are a dime a dozen and it takes a lot more than a few smarts to build a career. Fortunately, I was still single, was in debt only for my car, and had parents that were happy to allow me to live at home rent free if I wanted to return to school.

With plans to return to school in the fall, I left the fertilizer plant job and after very brief stints over the summer as a Sales Inspector for Orkin (yes, the termite company) and as an insulation installer I was hired as a pneumatics mechanic's helper at a local military aviation maintenance depot. The job was so good that I modified my plans slightly and enrolled in night school at Craven Community College that fall rather than resigning to become a full time student. Technology had always interested me, so I chose Electronics Engineering Technology as my field of study. I continued working during the day and attending CCC at night for the next couple of years. When I was nearing completion of the electronics program I was selected to become an apprentice electronics mechanic by the aviation depot. Hmmm I thought, maybe the idea of setting a goal and working towards it instead of relying on good looks and charm has some merit after all!

As soon as I completed the two year electronics degree I enrolled in a pre-engineering program at CCC, and continued attending night school and working during the day. This program was coordinated with NC State University and upon graduation would transfer hour-for-hour and you could enroll as a junior in NCSU's school of engineering. Within another couple of years I completed the Associate's in Pre-Engineering and completed the apprenticeship program at work. Oh, along the way I had also found time to get married and my first daughter was born.

With a young family to support quitting my job to enroll full time at NC State wasn't an option. I had started using a lot of computerized electronic test equipment at work and had become fairly proficient at writing control software. Park College, out of Parkville, MS, had just opened an extension campus on the military base where I worked, and offered computer science as one of their degree programs so that seemed a natural next step for me. I enrolled in the program, paying for it with a small inheritance left to me by my grandmother a few years before. Not blowing that inheritance on something like a new car but saving it for something really important was one of the best decisions I ever made as a young man.

Over the next few years I finished my B.S. in Computer Science, had another daughter, moved from the Electronics Shop to the Engineering Department (as an electronics technician), had a third daughter, and finally moved to the Information Technology Department, where I still work as the director or Operations, Enterprise Architecture, and Information Security today. My two oldest daughters are now married and I have two beautiful grandchildren. My youngest daughter has just enrolled for her freshman year at Craven Community College where she intends to follow in the footsteps of her oldest sister and study Nursing. The middle daughter is married to her high school sweetheart, who is now a soldier and they are currently stationed at Ft. Bragg.

While it hasn't been all sunshine and blue skies, life has been very good to me so far. I'm now eligible for retirement, but I'm not ready to stop by a long shot. I'm looking around since it would be nice to find something a little less stressful. I'm eligible to start drawing my pension, so salary won't be as important as finding something that I really like doing and which gives me more time to spend with my family.

In closing, I absolutely have to give credit to all the people that helped me along the way, and there have been many of them. A number of people took me under their wings and mentored me at work. Without their guidance the professional success I've achieved would not have been possible. More importantly, my wife has stood by me all the way. Especially during the early years when we weren't making much money and I worked all day, sat in class till ten at night, and spent the weekend doing homework (while she was taking care of our children!). Come to think of it, she worked a lot harder for my success than I did!
 
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Bugguy

Practically Family
Messages
563
Location
Nashville, TN
A BS in Education (Biology/Gen Sci) and a year teaching in inner-city Chicago in the CPS. Even though I had a relatively high draft lottery number in the first round (260), I gave up teaching and joined the Peace Corps as a health volunteer in Korea. Three years in Korea and two years of grad school at UNC and I landed a hospital administration position. Three hospital systems over 33 years plus 4 years of non-profit work and here I am. Two years from retirement, I guess I'm living the dream.

Regrets? Many, but mostly today I regret I didn't start contributing to a pension fund when I was in my 20's. If I had, I'd be retired now.
 

Bugguy

Practically Family
Messages
563
Location
Nashville, TN
One additional comment…. if it wasn't for all the early years I spent at the Chicago Boys Club, I'd probably have grown up to be a slug with no moral compass!
 
I just had this conversation with my 20 yo son. I am teach intelligence to US, NATO, European and African partner military forces. He says to me, "Dad, I can't imagine ever being as successful as you..." I reflected for a moment on how I got here. I ended up telling him the truth; I could not have ended up here by planning it if my life had depended on it.

At 18 I went to university. End of the first semester I had a 1.7 GPA because I was majoring in Friday Night, Girls Dorms, etc. Knowing I was too smart to ruin my academic career because I was not disciplined enough (yet!) I joined the Army and became a paratrooper. After figuring out that the fun part was the jump and eveything after that pretty much sucked, I went back to school.

Got a degree in history. Do you know what you call a guy with a degree in history? "Oh, waiter...I say, waiter..." Ended up going back in the forces but this time in naval intelligence. Never intended to stay. Every four years I would drop my papers to leave and then would offer me the one thing it would take to stay. Good thing they did because I met my darling bride in grad school that they paid for.

Navy took my to RAF Molesworth, UK where I ended up staying for 15 years. Yeah, went a bit native. I love teaching all the bright young military minds how to actually think. That is the only reason I stayed; the kids. I just love those young NCO's and junior officers. Well, all good things have to come to and end. My darling bride to a job in Houston and we have repatriated to Texas.

It is a good thing to plan your life. But, we all know that no plan ever survives first contact! The only advice I could give him was to plan ahead but be ready to flex, adapt and overcome.
 

Gin&Tonics

Practically Family
Messages
899
Location
The outer frontier
I was born into a middle class but not terribly well off family in a fairly affluent suburb of Vancouver. My parents were both in the hotel business when I was born, in fact mom was dad's secretary at the hotel where they both worked at the time. Both were high school graduates, but neither had degrees. I believe dad worked his way up to a management position in the business having started as a front desk clerk when he was young. Mom, I think, had some kind of technical certificate from a practical school. In those days, there was the "university stream" and the "labour stream" and I think she took some post secondary related to typing and clerical work. Both my folks were over 30 when I was born. I was the only child as they were disinclined to have more, partly because at that time my mom was considered to be at the very top of the risk scale for pregnancy.

I graduated high school and went on to the university transfer program at the local college, with an eye toward a psychology degree. I rather liked it, for the most part, although I railed against the oppressive leftist regime so common in post secondary these days. It was during this time that I began to consider a career in the military and decided to try the reserves as a test bed for it, at the suggestion of a very dear family friend who was a patron of the regiment I eventually joined.

During my time in the army, I got a job working security at what is probably the most dangerous hospital in Canada, and this was where I discovered my true calling in life: law enforcement. I worked there for almost a year, then moved on to a private security job as a K-9 handler. It was during this time that I got a call from my old co-worker from the hospital. He and I were both working toward careers with the Vancouver police, but I had been prevented from applying for a period of time because of my graduated license (in BC, you have to have an "N" sign on your car for two years and the police required you be graduated to a full license). He told me that he was going to attend an info session for a non-police law enforcement agency (not going to say who I work for due to security reasons) and asked if I wanted to go. I decided to go for it, and after the session, I asked the recruiter if they cared about the N. He said it didn't matter as long as by the time I was completely finished the training, it was done. I had only 2 months left, so I applied. My friend and I wrote the entry exam on the same day and both passed. For some strange reason, he never got a call back and I got hired. It's my agency's loss, because he's now an RCMP officer and he's an outstanding individual, but I suppose it's probably best for him.

I got hired and been with them 7 years now. I love my job and I feel it's very important, but I do have major frustrations with the upper management. Unfortunately my department is run by a bunch of bureaucratic morons who don't have the first clue how to run a law enforcement agency. They're trying to run it with outmoded 1980's corporate management strategies and it would be laughable if it wasn't so detrimental to the operation. As of now, I'm sticking with it, but if the stupidity gets too extreme I may put in for a local police department.

During my time in the army I met my wife, who was a newer member of the same regiment. We've been married over 7 years and have 3 gorgeous little girls. 4, 3, and 1. Our middle daughter has down syndrome and was adopted from Ukraine. We own a two bedroom town house and overall things are pretty good. My wife is an RN, but she doesn't work because she's staying home with the kids. We both feel that is critically important and worth sacrificing for, but it definitely means a lot more overtime for me and money is tight. It's a sacrifice we're willing to make.

It's an odd chain of events and coincidences that brought me to where I am, but I feel extremely blessed. :)
 

Stearmen

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,202
I some times think this might just sum up how I got to where I am today! [video=youtube;e8TUwHTfOOU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8TUwHTfOOU[/video]
 

TomS

One Too Many
Messages
1,199
Location
USA.
I got out of the Marine Corps in 1987, and answered a help wanted ad for policemen shortly thereafter. It’s been almost 30 years, and I've never looked back. My AS and BS were earned in dribs and drabs over my adult life.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,211
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
tve1025-19760915-111.jpg


"I didn't get where I am today by posting sarcastic comments on Internet forums!"
 

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