Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Starting Over

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.


Nomads By Nature said...

Foreign Service and IT go together too. That is what my husband does. He made the switch into the career with the hopes that he could then apply and get into the State Dept. Here we are now; on our 4th post. :)
Go for it!

Shannon said...

I too am married to an IMS (Information Management Specialist) It is actually a bit easier to get into the FS as a specialist than as a generalist (FSO). IF you have any questions about IT and the FS feel free to leave a comment on cyberbones and Dave will get back to you.

Brandee said...

Thank you for the support and comments! And Shannon, once I start my classes next month, I think I'll definitely have a few questions for David.

Honestly, I hadn't even thought about doing IT as a specialist. Hopefully a position will open up once I gain a little education and experience.