Hello, Work : Jennifer’s story

Jennifer is currently a student in the Back-End Engineering course on our Dallas campus. Like many others, she jumped straight into the working world after high school, deciding to wait on going to college or pursuing further education until she knew exactly what career she wanted.

Jennifer recently shared a blog post about her past professional experience and what motivated her decision to attend The Iron Yard. We are so inspired by her drive to find joy in her career, and having the courage to look for new opportunities when her current position no longer felt right.  Changing careers is a big decision, and it’s clear that for Jennifer, attending The Iron Yard is a great fit for her aspirations as well as with her learning style. 

Read more of Jennifer’s story, in her own words: 

HELLO, WORK

I jumped into work just after high school, and quickly decided I’d go to college when I knew, exactly, what I wanted to do with myself.

Why?

College is expensive, and a huge investment to make if you aren’t going to put the right amount of thought into it. To an 18 year old with bills to pay and no prior forethought put into scholarship opportunities? It seemed like a waste until I could be sure.

Not that I hadn’t put thought into my future. Like any other kid my age I’d spent my whole life dreaming about how I’d change the world when I was an adult, but there was always a fear holding me back that I’d pick the wrong career and never be happy. Coding to me then was one of many potential futures I could have, and one I wasn’t sure would be right for me.

I went into temp work, which was satisfying. Later, I went into the health care on the clerical side, as a medical secretary. Excuse me, ‘Administrative Assistant’. It soothed my need to organize everything I could get my hands on, in the most efficient way possible. Finally and mostly recently, I went to work in the customer service department of a hospice agency; I loved it.
I loved the clinical staff that I got the honor of working with, I loved my co-workers, I loved my boss.

And I was good at it.

Eventually, I started thinking about advancement and building a career out of customer service. In the health care industry, if you aren’t a clinical person (and I had no interest in becoming a doctor or nurse — I’m not easily squicked but having my hands in someone’s guts is just too much pressure), you turn to management.

At 30, I received a promotion to a supervisor position in my company’s customer service call center. Management? I hated it.

Until this point, throughout my adult life, I had never had a job I didn’t like. I suppose I inherited the tendency to find joy wherever I am from my parents. I know that’s where I got my work ethic. But try as I might, I could find no satisfaction in bringing my team together. I couldn’t find any peace in juggling the pieces of my work life anymore. The challenges were challenging, but the successes didn’t feel rewarding.

I discovered a lot about myself, and more about interacting with other people than I thought there was to know. And when the company chose to close our call center, I took a good long look at where I was, where I wanted to go, and what kinds of things made me happy.

I love a challenge. I truly do. I love learning. Who doesn’t? That rush of endorphins when a concept just clicks. The ‘Ah-ha!’ moment. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I can’t let a project go if I think I can better it. I love technology. I get a warm flush whenever I buy a new gadget. I built my own gaming rig. I took a vocational course years ago with every intention of breaking into IT. I play with every new software tool that looks even a little bit cool, and a lot of those that don’t look great but do cool things.

I didn’t know where all of that would lead me until I found The Iron Yard.

I found them on Twitter after seeing an article linked there from LaunchDFW.

Curious, I wanted to look into it. I attended a crash course, started researching, and did a lot of self-study. And (as you can guess by this super-lengthy first post), I did a lot of talking. I talked to my family, my bank, my friends, my boss, the Iron Yard instructors and even my dog (he’s a good listener).

When my job came to an end, I was ready to kiss a career goodbye because it had turned out not to be for me.

On June 13, I joined The Iron Yard’s Back-End Engineering course and started learning .NET, C# and SQL Server. I took the leap, and I’m committed to making a dream out of development and finding joy again in what I do.Every day since has been a challenge, but every night I sleep like a baby.

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