For those that haven’t had the chance to see my Facebook updates, I took the hard choice of leaving Federal employment and have entered the real job world. With this choice, I am moving home to Minnesota so that I can be closer to my family members. I wanted to take a few to talk about this choice and why I decided to take this route in my already stressed life…
Leaving the Navy wasn’t an easy move for me. I was on track to make Chief Petty Officer (E-7), had an exemplary service record and knew that job inside and out, front to back, top to bottom. The problem was that I hated going to work every day, was tired of being held to higher standards than the other people who worked with and for me, and was constantly blocked from holding people to higher standards. So… I left. I left my retirement, my career, my safety net and my military family. If the choice to leave wasn’t already hard enough, I had plenty of people that felt the need to voice their opinion about my decision, often quite derogatorily and condescendingly, which really did nothing more than cement that I had made the right choice for myself. I didn’t bother with a final award, didn’t really say goodbye to anyone on my last day. Clean break. New life. Check.
I entered into the job that I really wanted… I was a federal quality assurance specialist working on submarines! I was so excited for this job that I had overlooked some of the negative aspects of it, but I see them now looking back. At the time, I had a serious drinking problem, was VERY in debt from my divorce and was overall a very toxic person to be around because of the giant chip on my shoulder and the constant hangovers. That being said, I was also working graveyard shift with someone who I didn’t get along with at all. This guy had been caught by multiple people in our office looking at nudity on government computers, was confrontational, and often would negate other coworker’s work and sign it off without any further discussion. One night, he threatened me with violence and I didn’t back down or away from him. I really hoped he would swing just once so I had a reason to finally beat him down for all the crap he had put me through in that office. I reported the situation the next day and was merely moved to another shift to work under someone that I actually respected and worked well with… so I kind of felt like I won on that one. He was later investigated for his computer usage and what not, but nothing really ever came of it that I know of (nor do I really care anymore).
I ended up leaving that job for a promotion at another facility. I really loved that office and I got to work with my close friend there. But the more that I loved my job and the income, the less I enjoyed the area I was living in and the people around me other than my closest friends. I went home over the summer and made the decision that it was time to move back to the Midwest. My boss and his boss completely supported and even helped me with making the necessary changes to move, which was completely unexpected after my previous office’s reaction to anyone moving onto better things.
I started with Flow International as a field service engineer a little over a month ago and I so far really enjoy the work! It’s challenging when you’re in the field, and it’s never the same day-to-day for what you experience. I make a decent enough living to be comfortable and get to bank my travel rewards for later use, so a pretty big win in my eyes. I’m also pretty much treated like an adult by this company and am never micro managed, which was something that I hated about federal employment. I really do think that this is still a job that I am growing into, but I am overall enjoying this change in pace!