Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I started working when I was 15 as a hostess at a Mexican restaurant. I moved out of my parents house when I was 18 right out of high school. Not for college, but for "love." Boy what a mistake.....
I stayed in the restaurant business for several exhausting years, mostly struggling to make ends meet, and spending way too much time staying up all night partying with "friends." Coincidentally, those were also the same years in which I packed on the pounds and became obese. A broke 20-something with access to the entire Cheesecake Factory menu day and night was NOT the best combination. So needless to say it appears that my 20s were really just a HUGE learning experience overall. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
After a few years of pouring sides of ranch and fetching drinks, I got a "real" job making $10.00/hr as a receptionist. (Oddly enough I made more money slinging Cheesecake). I was at bottom of the totem pole in an office, but it was a start. The start to what needed to be done if I ever wanted to break into the corporate world and do more. The receptionist position eventually opened a door into accounting, where I've been now for the last 10 years. Accounting was never a dream or passion of mine, it's honestly just kind of where I landed and where the road of growth took me, but I've done well, it put food on the table, so it's not all bad.
I've been with my current employer for 3 years now. I'm a mid-level accountant lacking an accounting degree. I've spent the last 10 years working my way up the corporate ladder to get to where I am now, which I am proud of. But, unfortunatley where I am now is stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck.... I'm above entry level, but not quite at that NEXT level. I'm inbetween levels. The difference in these levels of course is more challenging work and a lot more mone. Turns out my inbetween level has a glass ceiling and I've hit it. In order to go higher I either need 10 more years of experience, or a degree.
This was my epiphany last week when I had my annual review. Not really a news flash I know, but lets just say even though it was a good review, it left me with a TON of options to chew on and choices to make.
Option 1: Be content where I'm at. Maybe move around the company and explore another division... Ultimately work incredibly hard for the next 10 years until I can say my experience outweighs a college degree and claw my way into management. Which, lets face it in this competetive world would be difficult.
Option 2: Go back to school and get an accounting degree. Pro: It would be better money and do-able. Problem: I really don't want to persue an accounting degree. I enjoy my job, I make a decent living, but its not satisfying. Its just a job. The real question I asked myself was "am I married to accounting, enough to invest years of work and thousands in school to make it a life long career?" the answer is NO.
Option 3: I can completely flip the turnip truck over and go back to my original plan from 12 years ago. Go to college and get my RN. DING, DING, DING!!!!! I think we have a winner!!!!
After literally having my boss point out to me that I should persue something else (in a nice way), and doing some serious soul searching, I've come to the realization that I will get little to no satisfaction staying an accountant forever. I'd sooner poke myself in the eyes with needles than persue a degree in accounting. I'm not happy where I'm at in my career path, and I can't climb up with out the peice of paper that says I know how to do what I'm doing... The corporate world really sucks. I find it pretty ridiculous it takes a piece of paper to prove I can do what I know I can do because I've been doing it for 10 years. Grrr...... But that's a subject for another soap box.
SOOOO going to school for nursing is something I've always wanted to do. And I actually even started working towards it a smidge when I was 20 or so. Unfortunely, my long term goals were not at the forefront of my mind at that time in my life. I was way to heavily involved in my social life, and financially I couldn't pull school off. Then I got married, and yada, yada, yada..... school always taook a back burner. Afterall I was succeeding at what I was doing, we were paying the bills, food was on the table, but time was limited. I've been working two jobs for the last 5 years, we had kids to raise, day care to pay for, loans to pay, then we lost our home, also lost our jobs, etc. etc. the list of excuses goes on and on. Bottom line is school never seemed feasable. It still doesn't. But at this point in my life at 32, wishing I had done this at 20 I know there's no backing out now. I can't look back in another 10 years and say DARN why didn't I just do it!!
Maybe it's just that now that I'm older (maybe wiser) I realize there's never a good time to do anything, and struggling to do someting worthwhile is how life goes. Kind of like changing your lifestyle and losing weight. I never thought it was possible, but it was. It was literally at time a pain in my glutteous maximus, but worth every blood sweat and tear. Change is scary, change is exciting, and I'm not even sure how I'm going to make this happen... But I know I want to make it happen.
Now, the next challenge is figuring out the HOW, WHERE, & WHEN!! I have college credits I am praying to the community college gods are still eligible. I have pre-requisites to get done (hopefully at night or online so I can continue to work). But nursing school I know is going to be a HUGE commitment. Most programs aren't offered at night and its a full time committment for two years. Not working for two years is not an option. But hubby and I have already talked about maybe the sacrifices we'll have to make when the time comes. Moving into an apartment to save money. Him taking on the two jobs instead of me. Me perhaps even going back to waiting tables at night so I can go to school full time. OH BOY I feel twenty again!! ONLY SMARTER lol.
All I know is I desperatley want to do something with my life that is fulfilling and rewarding. I hate getting up and going to work every day. Not that its a bad place, but because it does nothing for me. Its mindless. Its a paycheck and I watch the minutes I am here until I get to leave and go break my back at the second job... I dream of the day where I can be able to say I only have ONE job and that job is helping people, and satisfying, and not boring, and every day is different, and pays GREAT!!
So, if any of my spark friends have any nursing school advice I would love to hear from you. I am terrified and excited all the same time, and truthfully not sure where to start. But when you know something is right, its rights. And after 12 years of SAYING I'm going to do this its time I walked the walk and DID this, no more looking back with regret. 2013 is going to be the year of CHANGE!