3/29/16

You Never Know Where the Path Will Take You





I graduated from college with a Bachelors degree. I was a substitute teacher for the first few years out of school. Then I stayed home with my kiddos for the next 9 years.

When I had to find work so I could support the kids and I, I was fighting an uphill battle. My resume outlined my accomplishments in the world of education. Then there was a 9 year gap with no "work related" experience. For several reasons, I knew I did not want to go back to teaching but I had nothing to help me find employment elsewhere.

I needed a job. I needed income. So I applied anywhere. Everywhere. I was not too proud for any job but I really did not want to work in retail. I thought working at a bank would be great because the schedule should work well enough with the kids' school schedule. But the phone never rang. I couldn't tell you how many applications I filled out. No response.

I finally got a call. Just one. It was to sell fine jewelry part time at a department store. I went to the interview and I accepted the job. There were definitely parts of this job I really enjoyed which was a plus. I loved being the opener. There was something about the quiet of the store as I emptied the safes and got my little part of the world organized for the day.

One day, I waited on a woman. While being the good retail worker I was, I asked if she was going to use her store card. She responded that she worked at a local bank and she was going to use her bank card. I turned to her and asked if they were hiring. She handed me her business card and told me to send her my resume. I took her card and handed her the items she had purchased. After she left, I couldn't help but think I had already applied to several banks with no response, why would this be different? I went home after my shift and thought nothing more of this exchange.

Two days later, my plans were cancelled. I was annoyed that my plans changed and didn't know what to do. So I decided to go ahead and email her my resume. It wasn't very long before I had an interview set up with a branch that was 10 minutes from my home. After the interview, I was offered the job. I was hired as a full time CSR (teller).

I loved being a CSR. I loved connecting to the regular customers. Hearing about their day, looking at pictures of the grandkids and being helpful overall. The surprising thing to me was that banking is heavily driven by sales. And I do not like sales.

I moved up very quickly at the bank, hired as a CSR, trained to be an FSR (account opener) and even became a loan officer with my very own NMLS number. But I was getting so tired of the constant push for opening CDs, opening credit cards and cold calls to get customers in the bank to open other products. Banking is a business so I understand the need for these things but they took the enjoyment out of my job and I knew I didn't want to do this forever.

So I interviewed to work in the billing office for a local healthcare company that has long term acute care, inpatient rehab hospitals as well as outpatient physical therapy clinics throughout the United States. I loved this job. Sometimes it was stressful but I loved this position. It was perfect for my personality. And it did not involve any sales. This was a full time job that I truly enjoyed. But it did not pay enough for me to support my little family. So I worked hard and kept my eyes open to other positions within this company. After all, I did have a college degree which should open some doors, right?

It's funny how things happen. A friend of mine from college moved his family into the area and we met up for dinner one night. As I sat there talking to his wife, I asked what she did for a living. I could not believe when she told me the company she worked for, because it was the same company I worked for. She was in another building on the same campus. I started asking about what she did and for a second I was interested. Then I realized it was an IS job and I know almost nothing about computers.

She said I should apply, so I sent on my resume. I figured the worst that could happen is they aren't interested and I still have a job I enjoy. I submitted my resume...and heard nothing. For weeks. When I returned from vacation, I had an email asking if I had taken the Epic test (you have to pass a logic test before you can interview). I responded I had not and was then scheduled to take the test.

This was the hardest test I've ever taken in my life. To my surprise, I got the call stating I passed and was asked if I wanted an interview. I was still unsure if I wanted an IS position but decided to take the next step forward. Even if they offered the job, I didn't have to accept it, right?

During the interview it struck me, one of my self proclaimed strengths is problem solving. If you had asked me a year ago, I would never have believed this about myself. But the job in the CBO taught me that not only am I problem solver but I feel great satisfaction from finding solutions.

I was offered the job and I accepted. Although, I was very nervous about this new twist in my career path. I was such a novice. I went to all my trainings. I passed all my tests and projects. And now I am an Epic Implementation Specialist. Some days I feel like I am catching on so slowly. Other days I feel so pumped because I feel like things are clicking into place. Most days I face challenges. But I am proud of what I do. Both facing the tough stuff as well as literally, what I do. I feel like what I do from my desk makes a difference in the patient experience and that feels good.

I never, ever saw myself working in such a technical field. But I am thrilled to be here. It feels like I've done a lot of job hopping since 2012 but as I sit here today, I'm amazed at what I've been able to accomplish in 3 1/2 short years. It seems each step of the way, I was taking a completely different path from the one before. Looking back, I needed each turn to be able to learn more about myself and gain the skills I would need for the next turn. I'm happy with where I am today. I hope to continue to grow and learn. My path has definitely not been straight. But it's led me to a very good place and for that I am grateful.



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