A World of Opportunity
At some point in life, everyone must make decisions regarding a career, sometimes more than once. After I graduated from high school, I decided to attend a trade school. I wanted to be an auto mechanic. After nine months of banging my knuckles against uncooperative engines, I came to the conclusion that this is not the way I want to make a living. I moved back to my hometown and enrolled in the University of Texas at Ell Paso. I financed my last year of college by working as a substitute teacher with the El Paso Independent School District. This was my first experience working with children. As a substitute, I taught at all levels. I especially enjoyed working with the older children, simply because of their maturity and fewer incidences of discipline problems.
I completed the requirements for my Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) Degree, majoring in Finance and Marketing. After graduation, I accepted a position with thhe Department of Defense (DOD Civil Service). I was employed as a Supply Specialist, managing the inventory of spare parts for the Army’s aviation weapon systems, such as the Apache helicopters, known for making the first strikes in the Gulf Waar. I was then promoted as a Packaging Specialist, providing contractual requirements for the delivery of the Army’s managed items. Constantly striving for improvement I started taking graduate classes in the evenings. I remember sitting in class one evening when someone walked in and announced that we were at war with Iraq. During the rest of the class, I couldn’t concentrate on the lecture. Instead, I was thinking of the increased orders that were bound to come in. Just as expected, the work load really started getting hectic. I was working an additional 30 hours per week in overtime, while also attending class. Eventually, I earned my Master of Arts Degree in Management. Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, there was a frreeze, and the opportunity for advancement was limited. My supervisor was very supportive. He advised me to be patient. Dave taught me quite a bit about work ethics. He served and retired from the military. Dave amazed me with his accomplishments on the job. He never took “no” for an answer and always got his way, even with his supervisors. He was even asked to testify in front of Congress regarding procedures for items being returned from the Persian Gulf. Evven to this day, I catch myself saying, “What would Dave do?” He has really influenced my level of persistence.
After Desert Storm ended, and having worked for five years with DOD, I decided it was time to explore other career options. My friends helped me load my possessions onto a moving van, I said goodbye to my apartment on the Mississippi river front, and headed toward West Texas. I immediately obtained a real estate license and started working as a REALTOR. I enjoyed the work very much, especially meeting and dealing with the public, but realized that I was spending too much time and effort to complete each transaction. I still have an active real estate license, but only work on a referral basis.
In September 1994, I accepted a management position with a major retail chain store. The position provided the opportunity to improve my skills in customer and employee relations. I was responsible for maintaining inventory levels of all the hardline items, (i.e. everything in the store other than textile items) employee evaluations, and scheduling. Don, my supervisor in Odessa, Texas is another person who had an influence in my life. He allowed and encouraged me to make decisions. He would always say, “You can’t make a mistake. There is nothing you can do that can’t be corrected.” My actions were not able to prove him wrong. I managed to set off the alarms a couple of times, dispatching the police. Once I even lost the entire set of keys to the store while the regional manager was visiting. After two transfers, my ambitions surpassed my need for security. I wanted to discover what else was out there.
I consider myself fortunate to afford the luxury, at this time, of exploring various careers. I completed the requirements for certification in elementary education in May 1996, and am currently working toward certification in secondary education. I have always considered the possibility of becoming a teacher, having been influenced by my brother and sister, both of whom are educators. My sister has been a Special Education teacher for thirteen years. My brother is ESL certified and just returned from an assignment in Schenzhen, China (next to Hong Kong). The time seems right. I feel this career will provide me with the opportunity to enrich the lives of others, give me a sense of contribution, and provide me with unlimited opportunities. I’d encourage anyone to take the risk and discover their potential in different settings.