25,000-29,999 SparkPoints 25,218

Onward & Upward... Into The Next Chapter

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!

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Congrats on taking steps to MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

    I just wanted to throw this in there so you take it into consideration. You may want to check into the job market for RNs in your area. We have a family friend that just finished her degree (through a good university) and has yet to find a position here in Southern California. (Now she is only interested in a hospital so she keeps her skills up, so maybe its different if you want to go into a doctors office.) I guess they told her the average time to find something out of school is 18 months! I thought that was outrageous because I always see that there is such a need in healthcare.
    1895 days ago
  • FLGIRL1234
    It may be scary but something in your gut is telling you to go for it and your gut is not usually wrong. I am cheering you on!

    emoticon emoticon
    1895 days ago
    emoticon I look forward to you blogging about this new chapter in your life! Good luck. emoticon
    1901 days ago
  • BREW99
    1903 days ago
    First of all congratulations!! This post was so wonderful and inspiring, thank you for sharing it. I was in a similar position to you last year...working at a bank and hating it. I decided to switch to nursing too and ended up quitting my job so that I could take the prerequisites and waitressing to support myself. Now I've sent all my applications in and hopefully will be starting in May...

    Just wanted to let you know about this scholarship which I think would be a good fit for you:

    Just make sure to keep your GPA high and get some volunteer experience starting now and I'm sure you'll be a shoe in! I wish you all the luck:)
    1912 days ago
    YES! DO IT!
    1921 days ago
  • LYNSEY723
    How exciting!!! I have thought about going back to school for a better career too, but I have yet to figure out what I want to do when I "grow up"! It is great that you recognized your true desire and are going after it!!! Good luck!!
    1922 days ago
    Awesome! Check out Kaplan as an online option or check with your local hospital to see if they offer or can recommend a nursing program. Also, look at the current nursing job postings. Where I live, most hospitals are only looking for RNs with preference for the BSNs.

    Good luck to you.
    1922 days ago
    CONGRATS and you will love doing something you actually have a passion for and interest in.. BESIDES, it will be a GREAT JOB...needing more and more nurses :-) You Can do this and you are READY now! YAY!!! One Step at a time! My daughter takes some online classes and that's convenient. Just look into all your options... must feel good to be moving toward a new dream come true!!
    1922 days ago
    Congratulations on making a move not for the money but for your fulfillment. I am in a similar situation in my job except it's HR. I had the same come to Jesus moment that you did with my manager and I"m at a crossroads. I know it will work out but reading this made me feel good that I'm not alone in my struggles yet it inspires me to figure out my options as well! Thanks for sharing and Good Luck with your future!
    1922 days ago
    It's a very brave decision from both of you!
    I hope you will find what you like and you are very lucky to have such a supportive husband!

    You can do it!!!

    1923 days ago
    Congratulations on deciding to go for what you want out of life!! It is so easy to just stick with the safe option. I wish you the most luck on your new adventure!! I know you can do it ^_^
    1923 days ago
    first of all i just want to comment on another post about the 2 and 4 year degree....go for the 2 year!!! i made the huge mistake of starting out at an expensive private 4 year school and after 1.5 years realized i was spending soooooo much money and wasnt really getting the hands on i wanted. The pay difference? $500/year. THATS IT!! So i switched colleges to a 2 year program. My school offered a weekend program for adults who had to work full time. They did all day on the weekends and 1 night for a few hours during the week. 2 years. time consuming? absolutely! but totally worth it. Also most 2 year schools have affiliations with hospitals where they will pay for your school as long as you sign a contract with them saying you will work for them 2 years after you graduate.

    Right now I am going back for my BS, but, my employer is paying for it =) Again, i owe them 2 years, but i am in no additional debt! The only real reason to go back for your BS is if you want to go on for your MS in nursing. Like i only get paid $500/year for the two year degree difference. (Unless you take on a management position, then of course you will get paid more).

    Had i known what i know now; i totally would have started out at the two year school. The programs for 2 years are way more hands on and focus more of nursing and less on the BS affiliated classes of libral arts stuff. If you really want it, go back after and have your employer pay for it.

    Nursing is a fantastic field. Pay is great; every day is new and different, i love being challenged and learning new things! I also love the 12 hour shifts. I love going to work; getting it done; coming home and having 3 and 4 days off. Only flip side to that is the holiday and weekend issue. In the hospitals (where you make the most money and see the most stuff) you usually rotate every other or every third weekend, and of course you have to work holidays. Every hospital is different, ours goes by seniority. And they cant make you work the holiday if you worked it last year (that way ppl arent getting stuck working xmas every year, ect.) You live in a big city area with lots of hospitals and options.

    Hope it helped a little! If you have any more questions feel free to drop a message =)
    1923 days ago
    I love this blog--- you're always so inspiring! Congrats reaching for something that makes you happy, it takes guts when you're in the position you're in with paying bills and taking care of your kids. But it sounds like you have an excellent support system with your husband and I have no doubt in my mind that you're going to succeed. Good luck!!
    1923 days ago
  • LISA1101
    Congratulations!! I can honestly say that my career path consisted of Target and I was in your position of staying where I was comfy but not happy-- TAKING THE SCARY STEP WAS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE!!! I am in the job/career of my dreams. I am doing something that I am good at - well really really good at :) is the best. And I did make more at my previous postion in the same agency. But I found that the money took care of itself (lots of prayer too). I have passed the amount of money I would have topped out at in my other position and because I am happier and healthier, my finances, relationships with my kids and husband are better than I could have hoped for.
    SO TAKE THE SCARY STEP - ask about scholarships from local dr's, hospitals etc. Get a p/t job @ a dr office in the area you want to be in ~~YOU CAN DO THIS!! Get a job where you feel like you are blessed every morning when you go to work !!
    1923 days ago
    Wow, how awesome that your in a place where you can think through these things and that you have a family that will support you through the change. While I don't know anything about nursing, I returned to school to finish up my BA and then my MBA as a more 'mature student' and I loved it. I could never have thrived in that environment when I was younger but after getting some life experience under my belt, learning was a whole new exciting world. Best of luck in the next phase of your life. Take a deep breath and try to enjoy the ride!
    1923 days ago
    congrats! i am in the same situation as you as to not really feeling the job...change is scary but it seems you have a good support system and that will really help you...good luck on the school credits...cant wait to read more about this...thanks for sharing
    1923 days ago
    Just go ahead and look up a school that is within a decent commuting distance. As you go up in class, you'll spend more time in the class room learning and what not. Its a very time intensive program with exquisite rewards....aka over 30 bucks an hour.

    I know there are two year and four year RN programs and I guess pay would make the big difference. I would go ahead and get your FAFSA completed. You might be eligible for pell and that could mean free tuition for you!!

    Good luck! Reach for them stars!!
    1923 days ago
    Go for it! I wasn't in the same position as you but I did go to grad school part / full time while working full time. I went back to get my MBA because I knew I didn't want to work as an engineer for the rest of my life (my bachelor's degree). It was hard because of the time commitment and I didn't have much of a life for two years and was cranky at times but I am SO SO SO happy I did it. Now that I am finished I have been able to switch jobs/departments in my company to something I truly enjoy.

    There is no time like the present. I wish you the BEST of LUCK!!
    1923 days ago
  • JROZ87
    Good For you!
    I've done the exact same thing! I'm starting night school mid March to become a nutritionist! It's kind of ironic right now with my weight-issues...but at the same makes sense.
    It's what i always wanted to do and i'm also stuck and a corporate office job and it's just not healthy for my mind-set.I'm not happy...if i'm happy I will treat myself and everyone around me better and life will be that much more rewarding.
    Go for your dreams girl!!! You got this!!
    Let me tell takes alot of guts to do what you're doing!! Good Luck!
    emoticon emoticon
    1923 days ago
    Change is great! And what an awesome career move! I have a few friends who are RNs and FNPs, so I'll ask around about full-time/school opportunities. All the nurses I know love absolutely love their jobs-- and what a contribution to the world. Cheers to following your dreams-- you've definitely inspired me to look a little closer at my own :)
    1923 days ago
    Wow! You have given me some things to think about. I too have been wondering where I want to go from "here". What I want to do next. Congrats on figuring out your path! I am sure that it will be worth the hard work in the end!
    1924 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.