It wasn’t an easy choice to pursue a career in industrial construction. For some reason or another I just didn’t think I was cut out to be in the industry. Something about my fear of heights kept me away from the scene. Eventually, after being so unhappy for so long in retail, my fiancé told me one day, “Why don’t you go into the construction industry? You are capable of so much more.” Those words stuck in my head and marinated for about two years until I finally decided to do something about it. So, which construction craft was I going to go for? I knew what I didn’t want to do and that was to continue in retail.
I began researching some of the local colleges that were near my house. Lee College and San Jacinto College were my top two picks. I was working graveyard shifts when I began my research, and it was as if I was reading a foreign language. What in the world is Instrumentation Technology?! I figured out what a process operator and an electrician did rather quickly, but truth be told, electricity seemed a bit scary when thinking about how much voltage you could be dealing with. I wasn’t too sure about safety either, so I decided to look at it from a different perspective. How quickly could I be making the money I was making as a manager in retail? How long could I last in an internship program making less than half the money I was making before? How long are the degree plans, and what does the future look like for operators, instrument, and electrical technicians? And so on, and so on.
At first I chose process operator, but something told me to switch over to Instrument Technology. The hardest step came next: signing up for college. I had a general idea of what to do, seeing as I went to San Jacinto College when I was younger. This time around, I decided to go to Lee College. At first I took one class, just to make sure I didn’t over exert myself with my 50 hour a week night job. Then I took two classes, then three, then four. I’ll admit, my first instrumentation class was a bit overwhelming, but as I networked with some of the other students, I got to see that some of them were in the same boat as I was. Throughout this year and a half long journey, I have experienced many ups and downs. I overcame a lot of my fears, such as heights, a new environment, and electricity, and I quickly learned that electrical goes hand-in-hand with instrumentation.
Nevertheless, if you are looking to make a career change, just know that it is possible. It may be difficult, but it’s possible. There are a lot of people who feel like they are stuck where they are. I am proud to say that I am leading the way and showing my friends and family that change can be accomplished. There are a variety of ways to go about picking a career path, whether it be as a craft professional or an operator. The questions I ask others when we speak of a career change are:
- How bad do you want to change?
- What interests you?
- What would you like to accomplish, both long term and short term?
- Have you done any research on careers that you may be interested in?
- What does the future look like for the career you are considering?
- Do you know people in that field?
- If you do have something in mind, how are you going to make that change?
It is very important to remember why you are making a change. It will definitely help you push forward when you are feeling uncertain as to whether or not you are headed in the right direction.