Introducing -M-

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Our Trial by Fire Introduction to M

Welcome to my first post. I have never done this before so I have no idea how it will go. I want this to be my introduction and tell you how I ended up here.

I am 33 years old and feel like I’ve already worked 5 years too long. It took me a bit longer to graduate than others and I have been trying to make up for that since I started my career. There are a few events in my life that I can point to and say they made me who I am today. The tough times I had in school are mostly responsible for my career drive I have today. I work very hard to get ahead to make up for those lost years; I take risks and push myself at every turn. This certainly has helped me achieve more than I could have hoped for when I first started.

I graduated from high school in the summer of 2003. At that time I worked for an Architect but had not decided what I wanted to do for my career. I started my major as a political science major, mostly because my history teacher in my Senior Year was awesome, and maybe a little bit because of a psychic reading that claimed I would become president. That was short-lived, I switched to Liberal Arts after my first semester because those classes didn’t interest me.

By year two I had decided I wanted to be a Marketing major. This was an enjoyable major for me, the classes were interesting, but overall it was not something that would challenge me. A mentor gave me advice about a year into my Marketing degree. He told me that after graduating from a no-name college it would be difficult to get a decent Marketing job. Although I didn’t want to hear it at the time, I finally admitted he was probably right.

So, I was entering what should have been my junior year of college and I still didn’t have any credits towards a major I wanted. At least at this point, I finally made a decision on a career choice. I decided I wanted to stay with the Architecture job even after I graduate. That year I decided to take the logical step as a Junior Architect and took an Architecture class. That class was the worst class I took throughout my entire college career, and it instantly turned me off to the major.

In order to stay within the same industry, but leaning more toward my strengths, I took up Engineering. I’m a practical person and pretty good with math, so this felt right. Since I started an engineering major halfway through my third year, I had a lot of credits that would not apply. So, it took me an additional 3-1/2 years to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering, a Minor in Math and a second Minor in Business.

My last semester was in the middle of the 2009 recession, possibly the worst time to graduate. Unfortunately, the Architecture company was hanging by a thread and a month before I graduated I was let go.

I’m sure there are many people that can relate to the way I felt at this point. In my mind, I absolutely needed to find a job right away. This was not the case, I could have easily worked some part-time job since I was living at home, but I was not raised that way. I knew any job not resembling a career would be criticized. After months of applying to any engineering company I could find, I reached out to a company I interned with a couple summers prior. Fortunately for this connection, I was able to get a job by May of 2010 and have been working as an Engineer ever since.

That’s the brief history of how I ended up in this career that I can’t wait to break free from. I should clarify that I do not hate my job, I actually kind of like my job. It’s the rules I have to play by that I don’t like.

The fact that if I walk in after 9 am I am somehow a slacker. The fact that if I leave at 5 pm, I am somehow, a slacker. The fact that if I work from home, it’s immediately thought that I am not doing my job, which is just another way to say that I’m a slacker. I have this extreme urge to do MY job on MY terms. Let me be honest about this, I’m being a complete hypocrite because when my colleagues do the things I mention above, I’m judging them the same way I hate to be judged. It’s the nature of the business, and if you aren’t there, it’s assumed you aren’t working.

At this point, I believe I figured out a way to do my job on my terms. It’s called FIRE. That is the entire point of this blog. Each of us at our trial by fire is going to take you on a ride down a road that has the same destination, but will most definitely take very different turns, and hit some bumps along the way. Hopefully, if we’re lucky, we won’t fall off a cliff or crash into a tree.


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