1. High School jobs. My jobs in high school were a good opportunity for me to get out of the house and earn a little extra money. My parents were divorced, came from nothing, and had nothing. They worked full time and had part time jobs to keep roofs over our heads and food in our bellies. Since I also came from pretty much nothing I had to walk everywhere I went. I walked the 3 miles to school and the 4 miles to work every day. I held two jobs while in high school, I worked at a pizza place doing just about everything and I worked at a retail store doing just about everything else. In the end everything I learned came down to two things, you get back what you put in, and you need to trust yourself before most others will trust you.
2. U.S. Marines. "It's just a 4 year commitment if I don't like it, and if I do like it I can retire after just 20!" Ah yes, I remember those days. full head of hair, no wrinkles on my face (just a handful of zits), and a million ideas about the future. I regret nothing about my service to this fine country and the people who live here, most of them anyway, but after deciding to exit after 4 years life has moved fast. Really fast. 10 years disappeared before I came back to school. In the Marines I of course was a rifleman first, an "Expert" I might add, and an Armored Amphibious Vehicle mechanic second. Like we used to say, "If you've never smelled diesel, gun oil, hydro, and fresh ocean air all at the same time at zero five hundred you haven't lived. I served a combat tour in Iraq in 2003, came home the same year. Shortly after our return I was made a maintenance chief for a platoon of vehicles and was given a group of marines to train. A year later I had the best Marines and the best platoon of vehicles in the company as we were getting ready to go back to Iraq but it was the end of my 4 years. They asked me to stay but I had to walk away while I still could in the summer of 2004.
3. Life After. After I separated from the service I worked a little construction and excavating before getting a job working for a manufacturing company making the hardware that went into the machines that crafted aerospace bearings. Very precise and, after a while, boring work. I did that for over 3 years before moving halfway across the country in search of a better opportunity in 2007. After 2 years of realizing we weren't going to find the end of the rainbow we moved back to Vermont in 2009 where my wife and I have family close by.
4. Getting to now. Getting to now starts with when we moved back from Wisconsin in 2009, I was employed at the local VA hospital since then. I started as a housekeeping aide, which of course is hospital speak for janitor, then I moved up to a desk after about a year. A desk isn't something that I was really used to, I used one from time to time ordering parts for vehicles in the marines and updating machine equipment availability in the aerospace bearing company, but not full time. It was however what I am used to, something out of my comfort zone. If someone offers me employment where everything is absolutely right up my alley and what I've done and what I'm comfortable with I'll either be very suspicious or I'll just assume it makes sense because I've finally "done it all." The opportunity came up after a while though that I can go back to school because of my service time and because of financial stability. Everything worked out and if I can keep my grades up I can do anything and go anywhere.