Amanda Goes to Work: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
Hello my fellow MechSEs! It’s been a while since I’ve checked back in. I think last time I wrote a post, I was camping out on a drill ship in the Gulf of Mexico. I didn’t mean for a year and a half to fly by, but 2016/2017 turned out to be very eventful year in the life of Amanda. To sum it up quickly, in the past year I…
- Turned in a letter of resignation
- Packed up and moved to a new city
- Survived the job search
- Started a new job in an entirely new industry
As you can see, it’s been a busy year. I’ve been wanting to write a new post for a while, but to be completely honest, I was nervous. I wasn’t quite sure where my journey would take me. (Hopefully my story can help some of you out there if you’re about to enter a similar unknown).
In October 2016, I found myself at a crossroads: I was to be transferred from drilling to the chemicals division, I’d need to move from Houston to Beaumont, and most likely I’d need to be in Beaumont for a couple years before I could relocate, or I could resign. Not in my wildest dreams in college could I have ever fathomed being faced with a choice like that. I was one of those students who found ‘their’ industry early on, and worked for the same company every summer in the same department from sophomore year to full-time. I always had a plan, or so I thought, and when I moved down to Houston after graduation, everything I’d worked so hard for in college had finally fallen into place. I had never imagined working somewhere else, not even another company, let alone another industry. Until October 2016.
Even though I didn’t have much work experience outside of Drilling, I knew that Chemicals wasn’t what I wanted. I’d made a lot of friends that worked in the Chemicals division and they all enjoyed it, but being in a refinery just wasn’t something that excited me. I knew that if I decided to accept the transfer, I’d almost immediately start looking for something else. For what, I wasn’t quite sure yet, but I knew I’d be looking. The question became, “Do I scatter right away, or do I take the job until I find something else?” That ended up being the easiest hard decision I’ve had to make to date. I didn’t want to make the move to Beaumont and waste the time and energy of my new team training me if I knew that I would eventually be leaving (especially because, if I had my way, that would be sooner rather than later) so I just cut to the chase, and left. In about two weeks, I went from being on a ship in the Gulf to turning in my laptop and packing up my apartment. To be perfectly honest, it was terrifying, but it also felt right (I guess there’s a reason why the phrase ‘go with your gut’ exists).
By Thanksgiving, I was moving into an apartment in Dallas. My personal life helped me pick the new location, my boyfriend has lived here for over three years and I have a lot of friends here myself now, but I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do once I got there. I figured that if I was starting over regardless, I might as well pick the city that gave me the biggest support network. Dallas was exciting because it’s also very diverse. There are a lot of large companies in many different industries that call Dallas home.
I’ll write another post soon about the job search, changing industries and what not, but I guess the main point I want to get across is never think that you’ve got everything figured out. Life is really good at throwing curveballs (both good and bad) and sometimes you just have to hang on for the ride. For some people, the right decision may have been accepting the transfer and going from there. For me, it was taking a chance at starting over because hey, if I was about to start over, I’d rather do it in a position and location of my choice. Once you make that decision, embrace it and make the best of it. Change can be hard, but it can also be really rewarding. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in the last year and a half and the craziest thing to me is that if you’d asked college-me if I could ever imagine quitting, packing up and starting over in a new city, I would have busted out laughing (or maybe crying?), but now I couldn’t imagine having not done it.
I guess when I was in college, I thought that I always had to have a plan and if things didn’t go as planned, they didn’t exactly go right. Now, I’m a little bit more flexible. Plans make your life easier (and I definitely haven’t stopped planning), but make sure you’re open to new opportunities too! You never know what’s waiting for you around the corner, I certainly didn’t.
On that note, good luck to all of you still fighting your way through finals! You’ve got this! Enjoy your holidays and have a wonderful new year. I’ll be back soon!