Career Change

Career Path: From Military to Writing

Career Path: From Military to Writing

This is a true career story as told to and is one of many interviews with professionals who have found fulfilling careers after using our job-search resources.

I am a professional writer, of website content, that has worked in this industry for over ten years. Today, my job most closely resembles my ideal situation. I am employed by two writing agencies that put me in touch with clients needing content written for their websites.

This is similar to freelance writing, but I do not have to solicit work from clients or negotiate fees and contracts. My agencies handle the business side while I am free to focus on the writing.

My satisfaction level is a ten because I am able to release my full enthusiasm for the work. This job is something that I have always wanted, but it was my eight years of service in the military that made it possible by shaping me into an individual that could achieve this. My work is not easy, and those considering this line of work should know that there are challenges faced by all levels of writers.

The road to my current career opportunity began when I enlisted. I entered the service as an undesignated enlistee because I was unsure of what I could do. My first years of service were humbling and challenging because I worked as a non-rate in main propulsion. My duties included wiping up oil, fetching tools, and constantly executing the menial tasks that support a ship's operation.

There was no glory in my early years, but that time helped me to understand what opportunity truly looks like. I believe very few people will ever have a career handed to them, and while I served at the lowest levels of the military I learned to take pride in every task I was assigned. Learning how to take what I was given and turn into the opportunities I desired was a hard lesson, but that is the greatest lesson I learned in the military.

I never allowed myself to become complacent with my situation as it first appeared. In the beginning, I had no rank or authority in the military but I was still motivated to succeed. I became known for being dependable with any task and eager to accept any challenge. Slowly, my life improved because my outlook improved.

The people I served with spent their time waiting for opportunities to appear, while I took opportunities I had and exceeded expectations for the sole reward of the experience. The work attitude I developed in the military gave me the stamina, fortitude and patience that have brought me to my current level of achievement.

The strangest part of being a professional writer today is the feeling I get every time I introduce myself as such. I get out of bed every day and attack each assignment with the same eagerness I learned in the military. I am proud of all that I have achieved, but I do not allow that to make me complacent in my current successes.

The biggest challenge I face is the continued struggle to perform at a level of excellence that is unprecedented by others regardless of the immediate rewards. Most of my successes both in the military and today were quiet and only resulted in the respect of my immediate coworkers. The military taught me to look for my own rewards and to not spend my time waiting for the recognition of others. Great achievement and reaching goals takes time, and the most stressful part of my life is the result of trying to keep taking the small steps and making the slow progress toward my dreams day-after-day despite the lack of compliments and awards.

In the military, I learned that my job only had to be as stressful as I allowed it to be. Now, I handle the daily stresses by staying focused on my own goals. I earn a modest wage, but I choose to measure my success in progress rather than dollars.

Today, I work full-time doing what I love in perfect harmony to my family life and other personal goals. I am able to travel with my family at any time because I have learned how to be disciplined with my work time. The military taught me that life could be extremely hard and disappointing if circumstance was allowed to dictate how I felt. There are constantly situations and challenges that affect my work, but I always have the control to decide how I feel about those outside variables.

I rose to the level of an E-5 at the peak of my enlistment, but I never allowed my rank to limit my personal standards or dreams. There are many career paths to being a professional writer. I have a bachelor's degree and I am currently working on my master's. I also wrote for publications without pay and struggled to find career opportunities. However, it is my unwavering belief in myself and dedication to my goals that has seen me through to this opportunity.

In five years, I believe I will have increased my income by continuing to write every assignment to the best of my ability while simultaneously exploring additional opportunities. By constantly growing and seeking new challenges, I extend further into my own achievements. Success means different things to different people, but it is never something that is bestowed upon those that simply wait for it. The military taught me that all situations can be transformed into opportunity for greatness.

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