My current employment is solely credited to everything I learned as a marine mechanic in the Coast Guard.
I’m first and foremost a community college drop out in 2003. I half a**ed my way through three semesters and realized I wasn’t ready for the level of commitment it takes to get the kind of grades I wanted. I was a full time student and doing part time work as a lifeguard and swim instructor and just not really committed to the effort it takes to do well. After receiving my first ever “F” in Biology, I decided to try something different and joined the US Coast Guard (USCG).
I served 13 years in the CG as a marine mechanic. Initially I was sent to a two month technician school to learn the basics of the mechanic trade. I fell in love. I was a tomboy growing up working on cars with dad and mechanics was a very natural fit. Through the CG I was traveling the Western Hemisphere and sailing around all over Central America. During this time I was attending as many training schools that the CG would send me. I went to hydraulics, air conditioning and refrigeration, leadership, turbines, boilers, and computer maintenance tracking courses. Not to mention everything I was learning from everyone around me. There are truly people from all walks of life in the military.
Everything I learned and was taught I KNOW makes me a very valuable employee. I have learned a trade that is valuable in ANY community. A mechanic is versatile and useful in emergency situations. I have lots of practice with analytical problem solving and am very good at thinking outside the box. I can plumb, fabricated, inventory, and most importantly fix almost anything. I say that very literally.
After 13 years I decided to hang up my boots to pursue my true calling as a teacher of mechanics. At this moment I am enrolled in a teaching program and will receive a BAS in Technical Teaching upon completion.
The military pays well, very well. Especially if you are single. After getting out and committing to this teaching program I knew I had to find a side job to pay the bills. I put time and effort into many resumes. I joined job search platforms that would send me emails for jobs based on subjects I tagged. One day a cruise ship engineer gig presented itself and I really tailored my resume towards it and got my first call back. The rest is history. Now I am sailing all around SE Alaska seeing and participating in some of the most fantastic expeditions because of 1) a well written resume and 2) prior work experience in the marine mechanical field that made me relevant for the job. I’m so lucky and grateful for my background and how relevant and useful it is in today’s society.
My advice on looking for employment is to make yourself relevant for the position. Go to schools or get an apprenticeship. Employers are looking for someone with skills that will complement their company. Remember- you are joining a team to help advance THEIR output (or money intake). You will start at the bottom and work your way up. Realize that. Even naturally gifted cooks, mechanics and cosmetologists need to show their worth in the beginning. Your worth WILL BE RECOGNIZED, it just takes time for advancement or promotion. Put effort into your profession, the more you put in the better you will feel about yourself and the more your work environment SHOULD appreciate what you bring to the table.
**Side note on resumes: It is very important to tailor EVERY RESUME FOR EACH JOB you apply for. I can’t stress that enough. Every job is different. An employer is not interested in accomplishments that have nothing to do with whatever their product is. If you are looking for a restaurant job but send in a resume with a background on mechanics you will be overlooked. Tailor yourself on the resume for the specific job you are applying for. I can’t stress that enough. I also attended a week long class on resumes to help me with my first initial one. Before that class my resume was a joke and had pictures in it, I just didn’t really know what employers were looking for and I am grateful for that class.