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Take This Job and Change It

Misty Womack needed a change. After years of part-time work as a home health physical therapy assistant, the Army spouse was at a career crossroads. Her three boys were all in school, and her current line of work was far from satisfying or challenging.

“When I did home health, if anything went wrong, we called the nurse. I had no responsibility until the nurse got there and took over,” she said. “After some time, I decided that I wanted to be the one that people called. I thought, ‘I can do this.’ ”

Womack began researching nursing programs and was accepted into a local two-year registered nursing program. She graduated in May 2011 and is already fielding job offers as she prepares to PCS.

Now, she is a success story. She was able to change her career and find a new job with little lag in employment.

And now, with the unemployment rate currently hovering at 9.1 percent — and the elimination of jobs due to downsizing — more people are following Womack’s lead and changing their careers and their lives.

Gone are the days of dedicated employees who retire after 40 years of service. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are no statistics available on the number of times people change careers in their lives, but people ages 18-44, on average, have 11 jobs in their working lifetime.

As enticing as a career change may sound, there are a few tips for making the move.

First, do your research, Womack advises.

“My nursing program began with 35 [students], and we graduated 18. I think many people didn’t realize how much was involved time-wise and education-wise, and some people didn’t know at all what they were getting into.”

Next, talk to people currently in the field before making the leap.

“If you can, volunteer first and do some observation hours,” Womack said. “Get exposed to whatever it is you want to do, and feel it out.”

Womack discussed the move with family members who were nurses and learned both the pros and cons of the field before she applied to school.

If you know you want to change but cannot decide on a new career, research fields that are growing in employment rates.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent job outlook report showed that employment in professional and business services such as accounting and bookkeeping continued to increase in 2011, as did health care employment.

Keep in mind, sometimes making a change for the sake of change will not fix your career slump. Take time to find a career that you love.

“I really enjoyed my school, but it would have been a huge mistake if I didn’t love nursing,” Womack said. “My family and I had to make a lot of sacrifices for me to switch careers, but for me, it was totally worth it, and now it’s paying off.”

For Military Spouses
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