I totally lucked out on my first assignment. I had a two-year tour in Bermuda! I used my aptitude for science and math to calculate weather patterns, analyze data, distribute forecasts to ships and squadrons, and provide accurate measures of air pressure, temperature, wind speed and sea state. I plotted weather maps and got pretty good at estimating the base of clouds and recording visibility. My work schedule was two 12-hour shifts on, two off and then rotated to nights — it made for interesting sleep patterns but loved the flexibility with my time.
I served another three years in Virginia Beach and decided at the end of my contract to leave the Navy. I was ready to start something new and knew I was not a “lifer.”
When I got out of the military, I really had no skills that transferred to civilian life. I answered an ad in the newspaper for an admin at an advertising agency. I said a prayer and crossed my fingers that military service would be good enough to get a job. The woman that interviewed me offered me the job on the spot. That job led me to a career that I have enjoyed and still find rewarding.
Times have certainly changed since I entered the workforce, but I hope that anyone interviewing a service member today will give them the chance someone gave me. Military service should always be an honorable choice for our young men and women. It gave me a foundation of independence and confidence, but also the perspective that we’ve got to have each other’s backs in order to survive and thrive.