Commentary

October 12, 2012

My educational journey: Without education, we can’t compete

Tags:
Elizabeth K. Torre
Hanscom AFB, Mass.


I began my federal service career in 1989 when I was only 19 years old, which was quite an honor as far as I was concerned.

I was thrilled to get a position as a GS-5 secretary in what used to be called the Industrial Base Initiative Group. I had great skills from attending business classes – or so I thought; I could type 100 words per minute and took shorthand at 100 words per minute, when we still used typewriters with multi-carbon papers and shorthand to type what the boss dictated.

Time went on and I was promoted from secretary to Inbound Shipment Clerk in the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office.

I really loved my job and didn’t see the need to continue with a college education because I was pretty happy where I was.
Eventually I left federal service for a contractor position, where I was the “Go To” girl for training on the contract writing system and on how to build contract files. I helped train the civilians on basic contracting functions and often inspected files for compliance with regulations. I absolutely loved this job and earned a fantastic income without having a degree. Then, two years ago, government contractor policy changed and my job was eliminated.

It was devastating to find out that I could train brand new civilians without previous government experience how to do the job, but I no longer qualified for the job I had been doing for nearly 12 years.

You see, in order to be a federal civilian in contracting (aside from background experience of which I had more than enough), you are required to have a bachelor’s degree. Guess who didn’t have a degree yet? You guessed it, me! However, my 21 years of acquisition experience enabled me to return to federal service as a GS-12 Program Manager. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the group of people I work with, but it’s kind of like being a baker for 12 years and then leaving on Friday and coming back on Monday as a mechanic. One benefit of this position is that if I am able to return to the contracting field, I will go with a greater respect for the work our Program Managers do!

So now here I am, 23 years after beginning my career, a mother of 10-year old triplet boys with a full time career, taking two college courses per semester to complete my B.S.B.A degree in business. In addition, I’m on a Level II PM slot so I’m also taking all of the required courses to maintain my certification; it’s really like taking three classes per semester.

Although I am pleased to say I’m doing very well academically, waiting until my 40s to start college, having three children, a career and community obligations does not make this an easy task. I don’t recommend this approach to others!

This has been an eye opening journey. I’m learning a great deal and although I was apprehensive about going back to school at this age, I’m pleased with my accomplishments to date and know that my children are proud of me as well. It’s definitely a journey I was reluctant to start, but now that I have, I feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment as I complete each class.

I know that even if it takes me two more years to finish my degree, I will be able to better compete with the younger, highly educated generation for the best jobs. We all need to remember that we are all dispensable no matter how good we think we are at our jobs. Without education, we can’t compete! I wish I pushed myself in my 20s instead of having to push myself in my 40s.

My children will learn from my mistake – success isn’t easy and failure is not an option!




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

2015 Memorial Day message from 412th TW/CC

Team Edwards, Thank you for the outstanding welcome!†These past two months have been dynamic and exciting and I am honored to work with each and every one of you.†I truly appreciate your dedicated service and tireless efforts spent developing the needed capabilities for our Air Force and joint partners. This is my third assignment here...
 
 

This Memorial Day, reflect on true meaning

It was nearly 150 years ago that our nation first observed a day of remembrance for those who died in service to the United States of America. Over the years, more than one million American Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and Airmen have given their lives in defense of our great nation. We owe our...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.  These brave Americans are part of a tradition of sacrifice, a theme highlighted in a recent book by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran called “For Love of Country: What...
 

 
Untitled-1

What’s your social thumbprint?

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jessica Hines Just as you would lock the front door of your home or secure your wallet, social media users should aim to lockup and secure their online personal information and do regular ch...
 
 

Have you really joined the Air Force yet?

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska–For those of us in uniform, particularly enlisted members, memories of how we came to be in the military are fairly easy to call to mind – whether the process was more than 20 years ago, or closer to 20 months ago. As I recall the experience, that trip to the Military...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

“What do you do?”  That is the question most asked of people when they meet for the first time.  It implies that we are what we do. But deep down we know we are more than our job. Our character, personality, hobbies, and family life are not often considered when we meet. It would be...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>