For me, the last year has been a journey in starting over. I moved to Texas in January 2010 to get away from a very toxic family situation in Massachusetts. I had a couple of friends, but was really starting over and living a new life down here. I split from my boyfriend of four years, and met someone new and wonderful. I began and got laid off from my job. The government cut back on hiring and DS cleared hundreds of new names for the register; I had to start over with the Foreign Service.
Tens of thousands of dollars into my bachelor's degree later, I have realized that I have no real, feasible Plan B for if the Foreign Service doesn't come through. So here I am, making what I hope is the adult decision to start over one more time. Because I was laid off due to outsourcing, I'm eligible for a program that falls under the Trade Adjustment Act. This allows me to attend training for a new career full-time while collecting unemployment benefits. I have up to two years to complete said training. This means I have the opportunity to bid the soul-sucking world of customer service and call centers adieu.
After a week of being completely overwhelmed with information and emotions--mostly regarding the possibility of ending my Foreign Service candidacy for another year at least--I took a deep breath, spoke to some of my friends, and decided to look into computer science and information technology. While this is completely subject to change, it's likely that I will start school this summer to gain a degree and/or certifications in programming. It's not a field I ever would have imagined for myself, but it makes sense. I live in a technology hub, so a career in computer science is a natural shift. There are a lot of positions available for an entry-level programmer, and they make enough for me to pay my bills (an all-important trait, really), so I'm going to go for it. A new skill-set can't hurt me, and I'm ready to look for a secondary career, not another job to occupy for the next however many months.
I'm nervous and scared that this might not work out for me, but it feels like a step in the right direction. I still want the Foreign Service more than anything else in this world, but I'm willing to consider reality for once.