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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Choosing a Career...

So I'm kind of at a crossroads in life and trying to figure out where I want to go. In August 2015, my contract expires, and I can be a civilian again. Always though I would be a lifer, but after 8 years, I'm far too unhappy with what I do to continue on to retirement.

Here's the problem...how do I figure out what the hell I want to do? I've thought about going to CSU for a degree in Forestry Science, but honestly, I'm not sure what I want as a career....

SO my question to you is, how did you know, how did you decide, or did it just happen? August 2015 is still 2 years out, but I sure as hell want to have a plan before I jump off the deep end!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by OffRue View Post
So I'm kind of at a crossroads in life and trying to figure out where I want to go. In August 2015, my contract expires, and I can be a civilian again. Always though I would be a lifer, but after 8 years, I'm far too unhappy with what I do to continue on to retirement.

Here's the problem...how do I figure out what the hell I want to do? I've thought about going to CSU for a degree in Forestry Science, but honestly, I'm not sure what I want as a career....

SO my question to you is, how did you know, how did you decide, or did it just happen? August 2015 is still 2 years out, but I sure as hell want to have a plan before I jump off the deep end!
I had no clue or plans on heading into the criminal justice field. I went into college thinking I was going to be an engineer, then switched to teaching, and finally ended up with a degree in Political Science (Still graduated in 3 1/2 years).

My Junior year I got a internship at the Colorado Public Defender's Office doing investigations for misdemeanor and some felony cases. I needed a summer job and the Chief said that the community corrections facility was hiring, the rest is now history.

I graduated and worked for that company for 3 years started at the bottom and worked all the way up to being a supervisor of all the case managers. I left there and got a position doing similar work for Jefferson County and so far I enjoy public work more than the private sector.

So to answer you questions- it just happened. I went with the flow of life and I market the degree I have to whatever a position is looking for. Do what makes you happy though
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 09:02 AM
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For me it just happened. Though even with a degree it hasn't been happening since 2008, and at the start of the year I went back to school for a certificate to try and change careers.

Visit your local Workforce Center. They have several workshops designed to help do exactly what you're trying to do with career information/exploration resources and personality/aptitude/interest/skills assesments.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 03:43 PM
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I just went through the same thing and got out late last year. It sill a rough but there are a few places that are still pushing to hire vets. Gm is one, forestry is always a good field as well as GIS. Just kind of depends on what you did and what you enjoy doing.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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I just went through the same thing and got out late last year. It sill a rough but there are a few places that are still pushing to hire vets. Gm is one, forestry is always a good field as well as GIS. Just kind of depends on what you did and what you enjoy doing.
I've been looking at jobs within Forestry service. Seems like quite a few just need general work work experience. And with that work experience from that first job you can start using that experience towards other jobs. My wife's grandfather was a park ranger for a long time, and he loved every minute of it.

Atleast if I don't dedicate myself to a degree right away, I can still get one while I work doing online courses, for free basically.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 11:42 PM
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When I got out of the military I took a job with the National Park Service. Drove me up a wall dealing with all of the lazy tree hugging liberals. I lasted a year. Very few of them had any work ethics at all and it took them forever to accomplish a task. They actually told me that I needed to dial it back a notch because I was making the others look bad. I couldn't handle the rampant fraud, waste and abuse in their system.
On the other hand, I did work on the wildland firefighter side for a little and those guys (and girls) were great to work with.
The job market, even for us vets, is really slow right now and I'm sure it will be for a while. Take as many classes as you can while you are still in and utilize tuition assistance. Keep an eye on the job market and don't burn any bridges until 2015. Situations may dictate that you need to re-enlist.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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I've looked at the wildland firefighter side as well. Seems like they all want a 90 day experience in wildland fire though. Did you walk into a complete novice? I've only seen a couple that require no experience.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 10:46 AM
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One of my college class requirements was an intership. That will give you the required 90 days. I stayed on as a volunteer after my required time. Volunteering will probably give you the 90 days also as long as its documeted properly.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 01:18 PM
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FWIW, when I got out (many years ago), I took a job (any job), then my career just kind of happened.

It wasn't like a magical position opened up for exactly what I wanted, but thru various job postings, friends/contacts I made along the way and a bit of luck.

People always say "hard work", and that's true, but really it was just doing my best at whatever I happened to be doing, taking pride in my work and always trying to be better.

If you'd asked me what a perfect career would be when I first started out, it wouldn't even be close to what I ended up loving and excelling at. Setting the goal is fine, everybody needs a direction, but don't be surprised when plans change.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 02:49 PM
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I just kind of fell in to what I'm doing. Made a good name for myself elsewhere, was recruited by a good company, been here a while now.

Only advice I can give...don't be afraid to pick up and move. Places like CO, where everyone wants to live, have competitive job markets dominated by established professionals...places like Flyover, USA are where you build experience, so hopefully you can land a job later in a location you want.

Keep your footprint small, and do something that makes you feel good, if you can find it.

So, you know, forestry or porn or something.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 11:04 AM
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If you're set on working with the USFS, get in touch with ssmith0480 here; he started in the logging ops a few months ago and may be able to point you in the right direction. What's your MOS now, and how can it transfer into the civilian job market? I was a scout so my options were basically security or law enforcement... hindsight being 20/20, I should have re-classed to a light wheel mechanic or something. Civilians don't use scouts too much...

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-02-2013, 02:37 PM
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Were you able to find anything? Or find a good direction atleast? If not i recently talked to one of my buddies working for GM and he claims they are making a big push to hire vets right now. Just a heads up if your interested.
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