I woke up one summer morning from a call from a family friend. He had heard on the news that morning that the restaurant I had worked at for the past 5 years was closing in a week. I assured him that we couldn't be closing, we've been open for 80 years and we were doing great business all month. Reluctantly, I started my laptop and brought up the local news station and there it was. A video interview, right on there homepage, with one of the owners. I froze. I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't even watch the entire 7 minute video. I had so many emotions flowing through me I couldn't speak. I had a two year old son and was making ends meet, barely. What was I going to do?!
Fast Forward a few week, the restaurant had its final day and closed its door. I applied for unemployment insurance so I could support my family while I looked for work. One stipulation of unemployment was attending a seminar at a career center. I was excited. These seminar help you update resume, learn interview skills and have lots of resources to get me on my way. I attended the seminar and tried to learn all that I could retain. At the end of the seminar, they made the entire class take an aptitude test. I left the seminar with a whole new attitude towards getting a new job. A week later I received a call asking me to come back in for a meeting. I scored so well on the aptitude test, that they asked me if I was interested in returning to school. My counselor informed me about a federally funded program for displaced workers like myself. They were help me financially both entering a certificate program and extended my unemployment while I was a full time student. I never saw myself on unemployment for more than a few weeks and almost didn't go through with this program. I have always had a job one way or another since I was 14. It took a few nights of contemplating and no calls back on my resume for me to finally go through with this program. I entered the Engineering program at STCC ten years after graduating high school.
I worked hard. I found a part time job that worked around my school schedule and my family obligations. More importantly I got off unemployment and still was able to go school. After my first semester, I had a 4.0 GPA. I never stopped. Work, school, family homework. But in the end it payed off. Half way through my 2nd and final semester, Pratt and Whitney came to my school looking for interns for their summer program. After having an hour long interview, I wasn't sure if I would get the internship, there was 15 other students doing interviews that day. A month went by, and I was sure I didn't get it. I started posting resumes everywhere I could online. I applied for 50 job in one week. One day I received a call. they wanted me. A jet engine manufacturer wanted me. I finished off the semester, received my CAD/CAM certificate and started working in there East Hartford, CT office.
About a month into the internship I was called into my team leaders office. Sitting in there was my supervisor, my team leader and his supervisor. They asked me sit down and asked me what my future goals were. I explained them a year ago I was working in a kitchen, now I work on components in a jet engine. At this point the sky is the limit. They let me know that they were impressed with my work ethics and how quickly I was picking up the tasked assigned to me. They went on to explain that to receive full time employment through them, I would need obtain an associates degree. They made me an offer that if I returned to school with my certificate, I could receive an associate in a year. If I was willing to do that, they could keep me on part time. I graciously accepted and re-enrolled later that day. It is all out of pocket but I received enough benefits through the state getting my certificate.
Now that brings us to present day. I will graduate with my associates degree this May, start working full time and receive a $3 an hour raise. I was referred by two of my professors to a program for professional returning to school while continuing to work. It is through STCC and Wentworth for Project Management. It will take an additional 2 and 1/2 years of online, night and weekend classes but it will advance my career exponentially. Less than two years ago, I was working hard for little return, happily. It took one horrible event in my life to bring forward me to a professional career. And now I understand the saying: Its always darkest before the dawn.