Hello everyone! My name is Chris. I’m a single dad working in the IT field as a Lead Systems Support Analyst for an accounting company. That’s just a fancy way of saying “Senior Help Desk Technician.” I’ve been in and out of the IT industry over the past 17 years and I have an interesting job history.
Leaving the Nest. Life as an Airman
After graduating high school and enjoying my last summer vacation, I shipped off to basic training and joined the US Air Force. I served in the military for seven years as a Computer Technician and took the opportunity to travel the world. It was an amazing experience. I was stationed in Biloxi, San Antonio, South Korea, Guam, Germany, and Kuwait. Needless to say, I’ve been around!
If you haven’t been to Europe, I suggest you put that on your bucket list. Make it happen!
Life After the Military
After serving in the military for seven years I got out and decided to pursue my degree full-time. Fast forward 4 years, and several IT internships later I graduated with a BS in Information Systems and Technology. It was an accomplishment!
Economy Crash. Tough Times Ahead
Unfortunately, the time I graduated was the time when the economy tanked. Naturally, company’s went into survival mode, laid off employees, and downsized. Others weren’t so lucky and folded completely. During this time I couldn’t find a job to save my life. It seemed no one could.
After many fruitless attempts to find work within my career field, money was getting tight. I had to move back in with family after being on my own for over 10 years. Not exactly a high point in my life but hey, I did what I had to do.
The Casino Industry to the Rescue? Not Ideal, but it’s Work
Times were still tough. I was on unemployment for months, and my job prospects were abysmal. Did I mention that I couldn’t find a job to safe my life?
Well during that time, my sister was dealing poker and doing well from it. She suggested that I go to poker school and learn to deal cards. So, I signed up at the local poker school and began to train. She had connections in the casino industry and helped me get my foot in the door as a slot attendant while learning to deal poker. Yep, I was a walking cashier, cashing out tickets for slot players.
I cashed out tickets for about six months when positions for blackjack dealers opened up. The kicker? Full training provided by my employer; an opportunity which I jumped at! I dropped out of poker school, trained to become a blackjack dealer, and went live in six weeks. It was new, it was fun, it was exciting, and it paid well! Good times were here again.
Being a Blackjack Dealer: The Good and the Bad
The pay for a table games dealer is pretty decent. I was making close to $50,000 a year working only part-time. It’s nearly impossible to find a part-time job that paid this well. I considered myself extremely lucky to find an opportunity like this.
The pay was great, but the job had its drawbacks. I had no benefits. I worked on tips and my paycheck fluctuated every week. It was a 24/7 operation; I had to work odd hours and holidays. The casino was exempt from the non-smoking laws because it was on an Indian reservation. I was breathing in second-hand cigar and cigarette smoke at work. Each day I left the place smelling like a used ashtray. As Cleveland perfectly puts it: “Oh, that’s nasty.” 😆
Getting Back into the IT Field
Being a blackjack dealer was fun and paid well, but I didn’t find the work fulfilling.
I decided to get back into the IT industry after dealing cards for a little over 1 1/2 years. That’s a long time being out of the IT field. It’s fast paced, and if you’re not up to date on current technology, then you’re obsolete. So, I used the remaining of my Montgomery GI Bill to pay for a couple of computer boot camp classes. I finished the courses, got a couple of certifications under my belt, and found the job I’m now in. It doesn’t pay as well as my blackjack gig, but it’s full-time with benefits, it’s on a normal schedule, I’m working in my career field again, and I have a great boss.
Returning to the Competitive Job Market
Why am I looking for another job? Well, my son lives out-of-state, and I can’t help raise him 3,500 miles away.
While the economy has recovered somewhat, it’s still difficult to find a job. Despite the experience I’ve gained from my current employer, I’m still having a very hard time finding employment at another company. I’ve applied to several places over the past seven months, and managed to land a single interview. I’ve spoken with HR reps about other jobs I submitted application packages to. They either say that the job has already been filled (thanks for the update people), or they’re still reviewing the 250 plus applications they received for the job I applied for. 250 applicants?! As my jaw dropped to the floor I thought to myself, “that’s insane.” That tidbit of information gave me insight on how fiercely competitive the job market is.
A combination of factors led to my current state of mind. Frustration with the massively competitive job market, being underpaid, and not being able to see my son regularly has created the perfect storm for me to say, “enough is enough.”
The straw that broke the camels back was a bad job interview experience. Remember the one and only job interview I got during my seven month-long job search? Yep, that’s the one. Based on the job description, I knew I was the perfect candidate. Of course, I had to learn and grow into some things, but I was more than capable of doing it. It was a phone interview, and I was drilled with questions by a panel of 4 people. I really miss the days where things were much simpler.
Why I’m Here
Frankly, I’m tired of working a 9-5 job for someone else. I don’t want to fight traffic to and from work five days a week. I feel constrained working in a tiny cubicle for a relatively small salary.
Time flies, and before I know it my son will have grown up. I want the time and financial freedom to be in his life as much as possible, and I don’t believe a traditional job will give me that opportunity.
If you’re in the same place I am, or can relate to my experience, then I want to help you escape the rat race. If you’re just looking for a supplemental income, that’s perfectly fine too. If you’re tired of getting scammed by “get rich quick” schemes, or getting ripped off by these self-proclaimed “gurus” who are offering a “silver bullet” product about online marketing, then you’ve come to the right place.
With that said, let’s escape the drudgery of the rat race and get started!
Check out my profile on Wealthy Affiliate. I’ll see you there.
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