So.... we're in 2017. (Yes, that statement is a few days late, bear with me).
As some of my posts obviously showed, 2016 wasn't exactly a banner year for my household.
An unexpected career loss. With the subsequent financial stresses, and the fun of re-discovering how much fun job searching never is, particularly when one is older or trying to stay in a specialized field, or both.
An untimely death, and the subsequent ripples still affecting the extended family.
My daughter's own health issues becoming a bit more serious for her, and the attempts to help her learn what to do to help deal with things, and hopefully find new routes towards improvement.
Plus, the myriad other things which seemed to happen, in retrospect a part of life, but often being a "Ugh, what now?" moment.
And, a few lessons became apparent in all of this. Some I had known, at least subconsciously, others were new.
- Life is life, and it occurs. Often despite your plans. Be ready.
- Some of the people you thought were your friends disappear quickly once you can't do anything for them anymore.
- Some people you never realized will step up and be there for you when you need it most.
- Have a plan, or at least an idea. Because, if it all changes tomorrow, you may be making it up as you go.
- You can tighten your belt and drive on through a lot.
- Kids are way smarter, way more aware, and way more understanding than we give them credit for, even in tough times.
- Family matters.
- Take a second and reach out to people, even if just to say hi. It matters more than you know.
- Lean on yourself, and lean on faith, at the same time. Because you need both.
- Even when you're having it rough, you can always find ways to be generous and help others. Both for the decency of it, and the perspective.
- Sometimes a clean break is rough, but the best thing.
- Even if it's rough being stuck at home, having the increased time to be with your family is completely worth it.
- (For the dads) If you ever can, take a year and be the primary "house" person - cooking, shopping, cleaning, errands, sick kids, kid appointments, school functions, what-if's and the like. You'll learn something from it.
- Some days, just getting up and making it through is a victory.
But, this is a post about more than that - because, the wheel does turn, time does march on, and things change.
After a prolonged search, screening, interviews, paperwork and all the other fun, I am finally on the cusp of gainful employment again, starting in the next couple of weeks. Truth be told, it's a significant step forward in salary and potential for my and my family's future. Even more pleasing (to me) is that it's a position which allows me to continue to use the skills and specializations I've developed, and to at least somewhat contribute to the safety of our nation and our communities, even if I'm not "operational" anymore. Which matters to me...
Due to the fact it will be a Federal Government position, it may change some of my (infrequent) posting discussions - or, it may not. I have a feeling I certainly won't have a shortage of "someone did this dumb" moments to share at the very least. And, with a lengthy commute involved, as well as some other elements, we're going to be making adjustments around the house to accomodate the changes.
Which, is where I'll close with some other introspective thoughts, based on a couple of conversations I've had recently, and the realizations from them.
You see, I'm smart enough to know how lucky I am to be moving into this opportunity. As I've learned (and others as well), job-hunting once you're out of your 20's gets harder and harder, particularly when you mix in increased salary expectations versus how much the business is willing to invest in an old product versus a newer one. And, when the majority of your job background is in a rather specialized field, that can make it more challenging. Not that I didn't have other options, or other talents - but, my hope was to keep doing something based on the counter-terrorism and bomb disposal field, as I do have a passion for it. With the economy, the transition in political power affecting the nation as a whole, and a wealth of other issues it was tough.
I also considered the numerous little "chances" which led me to this point. Those times my life, or my career, or some other element, minor at the time, all helped build to this opportunity. The absence of which would have completely removed the possibility.
But, there were some things I realize helped me have this opportunity. Maybe this part can be a little mental primer for myself, or others, on things to recall career-wise.
- Invest in yourself. Take the opportunity. Be it a training class, something you develop a side interest in, or someone else saying "We'd like you to try this." While there are elements of it that in retrospect I could have done much better, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the fact I have a broad skill set backing up my narrow specialities was a game changer. For more on this, Scott Adams has written some excellent discussions on skills multiplying your ability, rather than merely adding in a stack.
- Network. Even if you don't call it that. The more people who know your abilities, and can vouch for you, the better.
- Perservere. Whether it's in the daily job, or the job search, it's a marathon not a sprint.
- You don't know it all. You're not irreplaceable. But, you can make yourself an asset even so.
- Even if you're happy, mid-career, and not going anywhere, keep a current resume. Not only for the unexpected, but it also helps you sell yourself if you need to.
- Don't lie, don't exaggerate, but don't be afraid to be proud of your skills and history. Own your successes.
Here's to the next step in the journey...
Just a few ramblings from a confused guy. Former military, former cop. Husband. Father. Student. Role playing gamer, on intermittent weeks. Avid reader. Internet addict. Small "l" libertarian. Too many others to mention. The views and opinions expressed herein are my own, and do not reflect those of any official agency or government or species. Names have been changed to protect the guilty; God protects the innocent as a matter of course.
“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”
"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds
Thursday, January 19, 2017
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As a longtime reader, thanks to RSS feeds I've been using for many years, I'm popping up to say good luck. I am hopefully on the brink of another career change myself (toward your field, actually), so I understand the upheaval. And my last year was pretty chaotic and hard on my family, but I learned a lot about the medical world and about family. Life certainly is life, and it keeps marching on.
Well met! Just added your page to my feed, as I had no idea you were following. :( Sorry! And thank you for the kind words.
Captain, been meaning to comment on this one since you posted it. A lot of good wisdom here. Congratulations on your new position. I hope you enjoy it.
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