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Old 11-16-2010, 08:48 AM   #1
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Career Change? FL girl moving to Wyoming?

There's something weighing heavily on my mind. If I may, I'd like ask for your thoughts on this Off Topic post...

My shuttle job will abruptly halt after the last launch/landing ~July 2011. Though it's been an amazing career, I am thinking of a radical change to pursue a simpler, more responsible lifestyle - one that is more mentally/physically/spiritually challenging. I'm thinking of taking a break and moving out west!

I applied for an awesome job that rescues and rehabilitates lab/research animals in SE Wyoming. I have a lot of practical skills to take care of the facilities/infrastructure, experience caring for & training their animals, and some other talents that I think would advance their (non-profit) mission. I also have the fortitude and determination to succeed.


Though I might not be offered the job, I'm still inclined to follow a non-traditional path - even if just for a few years. But I have some concerns that I'm hoping you can comment on... I'm over 40, single and with few responsibilities so although a change seems possible, I don't want to put myself in a situation that may be detrimental to my wellbeing in my future. (I know, that's very subjective.)
  • Will a significant, unrelated career change equate to certain death in re-entering the engineering arena, especially if a manned space program resumes?
  • What can I expect from living in a VERY remote local? I've never lived outside central FL!
Any insight you all may have is welcomed --- I'm just hoping to see the many sides of this situation (positive/negative). I have no real primary plan for my future. My back-up plan is to stay at KSC until the layoff and then utilize the $$$ (set aside by Obama for retraining the space workforce) to go to nursing school locally.

Laura
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #2
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There's something weighing heavily on my mind. If I may, I'd like ask for your thoughts on this Off Topic post...

My shuttle job will abruptly halt after the last launch/landing ~July 2011. Though it's been an amazing career, I am thinking of a radical change to pursue a simpler, more responsible lifestyle - one that is more mentally/physically/spiritually challenging. I'm thinking of taking a break and moving out west!

I applied for an awesome job that rescues and rehabilitates lab/research animals in SE Wyoming. I have a lot of practical skills to take care of the facilities/infrastructure, experience caring for & training their animals, and some other talents that I think would advance their (non-profit) mission. I also have the fortitude and determination to succeed.


Though I might not be offered the job, I'm still inclined to follow a non-traditional path - even if just for a few years. But I have some concerns that I'm hoping you can comment on... I'm over 40, single and with few responsibilities so although a change seems possible, I don't want to put myself in a situation that may be detrimental to my wellbeing in my future. (I know, that's very subjective.)
  • Will a significant, unrelated career change equate to certain death in re-entering the engineering arena, especially if a manned space program resumes?
  • What can I expect from living in a VERY remote local? I've never lived outside central FL!
Any insight you all may have is welcomed --- I'm just hoping to see the many sides of this situation (positive/negative). I have no real primary plan for my future. My back-up plan is to stay at KSC until the layoff and then utilize the $$$ (set aside by Obama for retraining the space workforce) to go to nursing school locally.

Laura
Laura.

You already have had a fantastic career, doing your part in nursing the shuttles to be as safe as possible.

Unfortunately there are those that think we have already been in space too much.

I disagree.

We have so many things today, in our daily life, that came from the space program, that otherwise would probably never happen.

Perhaps with the new administraion in Washington, the space program will be allowed to continue. And if not, I know that you will continue with your "gotta help" attitude.

Perhaps then, since I know that you are a caring person, "nursing" would be very fitting for you. Granted, I would think the earnings would be less, but the satisfaction of helping others would continue.

Nurses, in all fields, even after they retire, still render help to friends and family.

I know, as I married one.

Thank you, for all your past efforts and contributions to our space program.

Our country would be so much better, if we had more people like you.

Andy
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:13 AM   #3
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Real winter, AS year round in FL.
Good idea to visit area in various seasons before committing to permanent change.

Is there a timeline to take advantage of Obama funds?

Sabaticals are an easy way to get refreshed and look at life changes, without the pressures of work.
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:35 AM   #4
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One great thing about nursing is that you can get a job anytime, almost anywhere. I got a job straight out of school at NYU working in Intensive Care and specialized in Cardiac Surgery. With reciprocity I worked back and forth between CA and NY doing per diem and paid for all my vacations that way. You can work as a traveling nurse, take your Airstream and travel the US. There are so many specialties you can go into and the more experience you get, the more mobility you have. Plus it is a great feeling to make a difference in people's lives.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #5
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Will a significant, unrelated career change equate to certain death in re-entering the engineering arena, especially if a manned space program resumes?
As an almost-40-yr-old engineer, my thought there is yes. Although there is this idea of an "engineer shortage," I don't really see it as being the case. Skill obsolence and outsourcing are real concerns.

I toured NASA Ames not too long ago - are there any jobs available for Orion (or whatever it's called now)? I know there was R&D going on for that, as well as for redesigning air traffic control. Or is there anything with launching satellites - had a friend who did that for Raytheon for years...

Guess you need to balance that vs. the change in lifestyle (and income) that the move out West or starting out in nursing would bring. In other words - how much do you enjoy engineering, and is it worth moving somewhere (likely more expensive than Florida) to continue that career?

Wish I was more helpful...

Tom
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:32 PM   #6
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I'm going to side with cclarkego here,

I am in my 3rd semester of my BSN nursing program, and at 33 am one of the oldest in my class. It has been rewarding in my clinical experiences so far, and plan to return to the Army once I finish. There is such a shortage now of nurses with the baby boomers retiring that we are far understaffed.

Steve
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:48 PM   #7
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Nursing bar none is the greatest job in the world. Having just retired after 35 plus years I have seen many changes in nursing, not all to the better but 99% were for the better of both nurses and their clients. Go for it! You will NEVER be without a job. I should have gone to nursing school straight out of high school but waited until I was 28 to start. Then again in 1965 male nurses were considered MD want to bees.
Good Luck
Ted
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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In a high tech field, a year or two out of the industry can be a career ender. Years ago, I worked in a factory that manufactured air-launched missiles; and I got laid off when Carter canceled the B1. Luckily, I switched over to commercial electronics (mainframe peripherals, later to become PCs); but that eventually pooped out when all electronics manufacturing moved offshore. Again, I was lucky to find a job as a technical writer/typesetter, skills I learned while in the PC manufacturing plant; and I think that will last until retirement in a few years. However, after only a few years in each new career, my experience in the old one became obsolete. And, I was unable to return to that field.

If you really like what you do, I'd hesitate to take a few years off thinking you'll go back. Technology may pass you by, and it may not be possible.

However, this may be a good time to evaluate whether your past experience is what you really wanted to do, and whether it is time to move on. It's just that any career move now, may be your last until retirement; so make sure it's what your want.

I'm sure nothing is irreversable, but it may not be worth the extra effort necessary to just go back to what you once had. Who was it that said "You can't go back home" (or something like that)?
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:46 PM   #9
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................................
What can I expect from living in a VERY remote local? I've never lived outside central FL!


...........................................

Laura
First of all you will find that you can't spontaneously shop for things. Since anything other the corner convenience store type stuff will probably be many miles away, you will have to plan your needs and trips carefully or you will be spending a lot of your life driving. You will probably find that to participate in things interesting to you, you may also have a lot of traveling involved. If anything medically serious comes up you will have a lot longer wait to get needed specialized treatment. I don't know specifically where you are going, but for someone from central Florida, SE Wyoming is going to be a very drab, bleak and austere place especially in the winter. Make sure you spend a week or two there before you commit yourself.

Unless you are pursuing in a job a field you think you may want to spend the rest of you life doing, I would recommend finding another technical job.

If you want to go west, the Denver/Boulder area has a lot of space related companies.

good luck,

Ken
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:46 PM   #10
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my 2 cents

Laura, I grew up on Merritt Island, my dad was an engineer on Titan program, I got to live the excitement of the Apollo program, and was a design and development engineer on the original Space Shuttle launch control system. I left in the mid 80's after the program became operational. My wife is an RN so heck, my 2 cents may even be worth 3.

I know first hand and with zero reservation that our manned and unmanned space programs are essential to the strength, safety and superiority of America. Having lived there through many funding/political ups and downs of the space program, I have to admit that what just happen to the Shuttle and next generation vehicles is unique. It was not the timeless idiotic political maneuvering IMHO, this time it was calculated to do irrecoverable damage.

That said, I believe in my heart that America always comes back. I just think that the space program's recovery this time will take longer. As with the other times I saw the space program "gear back up" your skills and experience will be sought out regardless of your next career move.

I agree that nursing is an awesome career. Nurses are the ones make healthcare work and the rewards my wife reaps in saving lives is something I only get to watch from the sidelines. Technology is an amazing and integral part of medicine now so if you've an aptitude/desire for hands-on helathcare, you might be in a unique advantage.

Orlando is a fast becoming a hot spot of healthcare. Hospitals of national renown like Winnie Palmer are found there. UCF's brand new medical school is state of the art and is destined to be one of the best in the nation. They are building a new children's and a VA hospital on the UCF medical campus as well as a new research center.

I wish you the best.
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:53 PM   #11
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Thanks for all your replies! I appreciate the input.

Surprised by the comments for nursing --- as I have turned down acceptance to our local (ADN) program twice. I contacted three local hospitals and was told that new graduate hiring was VERY, VERY limited - if at all. They contended that the nursing shortage was indeed true but they weren't augmenting their staff due to $$. It seems this must be a local issue!

But, as pointed out, I don't want to make a leap that cannot be turned around...

I took this *dead-end* job (knowing they'd not place me upon shuttle end) because I wanted to be "pushed out of this field". I enjoyed engineering but am burned out. And I haven't done REAL engineering for too long... I'm a great system integrator - but there seem to be too few jobs to assume the 5000 laid-off shuttle engineers. Sigh. There is a Job Fair with Missle Defense Agency going on right now upstairs. They're hiring for Huntsville, AL contracts. I'll put on a little lip gloss, pull out my resume and head up there... If I'd know about this yesterday I could have left my t-shirt and cowboy boots in the closet. Hey, anyone want to critique my resume?

Laura
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:07 PM   #12
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nursing

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Surprised by the comments for nursing --- as I have turned down acceptance to our local (ADN) program twice. I contacted three local hospitals and was told that new graduate hiring was VERY, VERY limited - if at all.


Indeed I should have been more careful. Nursing has not been spared in the economy where everyone is hesitant to hire. And, health care providers have been hit doubly hard not yet knowing the full extent of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement cuts buried in the new healthcare laws.

Who knows what things will look like in 2 years.

I guess I am an optimist .............
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:24 PM   #13
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I know first hand and with zero reservation that our manned and unmanned space programs are essential to the strength, safety and superiority of America. Having lived there through many funding/political ups and downs of the space program, I have to admit that what just happen to the Shuttle and next generation vehicles is unique. It was not the timeless idiotic political maneuvering IMHO, this time it was calculated to do irrecoverable damage.

... As with the other times I saw the space program "gear back up" your skills and experience will be sought out regardless of your next career move.

That's thoughts shared by many of my friends here. Engineers, technicians, et al are leaving at an alarming rate. Many are foregoing their (rather hefty) severance packages to take jobs out of state. I recall NASA saying, after Apollo, they'd never do anything that would jeopardize their workforce and lose all the expertise... humpf. Guess it wasn't NASA's independent decision, but that's what is happening. I was kinda betting on getting back in the door based on a large-scale hiring scheme if the program gets back on track though... I'm an optimist too, I think.

Oh yea, gotta get up to the job fair. Till later, Laura
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:08 PM   #14
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Job Fair Was a Bust

Dang - almost 20 minutes of discussions - interviewed (?) with three reps and then got the smack-down! I have a BS Mechanical Engineering Technology Degree which they DO NOT recognize. I can petition the acquisitions group but it seems unlikely.... cripes, when does 20+ yrs experience trump my degree? I was in engineering core until my senior year when, MET offered coursework in robotics, and I changed degree programs.

See, the ranch is looking better. They would appreciate me!

Laura
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