I have to admit, it was difficult saying goodbye to Hawaii.
After five years stationed at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, I departed the islands in May 2007 to enter civilian life once more. The six years I spent in the U.S. Navy were one big adventure, and it was bittersweet leaving the ship, and my friends, behind.
The officers onboard the destroyer I was assigned to did their best to convince me to stay. I could have landed a fairly good reenlistment bonus had I been swayed. I was determined to stick to my game plan, though. I joined the Navy in 2001 with no intention of making a career of the military. I promised myself that I would complete my initial six-year enlistment and then move on.
During those six years, I accomplished my primary goal of obtaining an associate’s degree and would have completed my bachelor’s degree had it not been for multiple deployments during my last two years with the ship. I left with a fully-loaded G.I. Bill account and knew that I could finish off the bachelor’s degree quickly.
I knew that I was leaving the Navy, but I didn’t really have any clear idea of what I would do next. A company called Orion International helped me clarify my vision moving forward. Orion is a company that specializes in connecting former military members with civilian companies looking for good employees.
I boarded the plane in Honolulu headed for San Diego, where I had registered for an Orion job conference. Attending the conference cost me nothing. Over 30 companies were represented at what amounted to a job fair. All the former military members in attendance sat in a conference room and listened to each company give a ten-minute presentation about their organization and the benefits they offer employees.
After the presentations, the company representatives retired to their hotel suites and waited while Orion staffers determined which candidates wanted to interview with which companies. I picked three companies and started my day of interviews. The first two companies were okay, but the third one – Calypso Medical – really piqued my interest. The medical device the company manufactured was cutting edge, and promised to help a lot of people. The job I actually interviewed for was that of Field Service Engineer. But the two people I interviewed with – a customer service manager and a human resources partner – encouraged me to instead apply for a new project management position they were in the process of creating.
The interview in San Diego went really well; and I ended up being called to the company’s Seattle office for a follow-up interview with the director of service. Since the project management position involved dealing with service department employees and sales department employees, I was also flown (all at the company’s expense) to Phoenix to interview with Calypso’s sales director.
I then went to my mother’s home in Tennessee to play the waiting game. It didn’t take long at all. Two days after the interview in Phoenix, I received a call from the director of service offering me the job. I happily accepted it and have been with the company ever since. Two years ago, I even accepted a promotion to the position of National Service Manager. Calypso was bought out late last year by a much larger medical device company, and I’m not sure what the future holds for me. Is it time to “move on” again and start a new chapter?
Only time will tell.