Leaving TSA......career advice.....

Old May 24, 08, 12:37 pm
  #1  
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Leaving TSA......career advice.....

First off, if I may make a request of the mods. This topic is a bit out of place here, but quite a few people here have read my posts and have a decent feel for me, and would be far better equipped to answer questions and give input than others in another section who would just view me as a newb and wonder who I am. I'd really appreciate it if you would allow this to stay here.

Well folks, about two months ago I left TSA for USBP, and have come to the realization that it isn't something I want to do on a daily basis. A lot of it is too restrictive on my life, and the biggest concern is that I will be unhappy doing it. I can DO the job, but it definitely comes down to that last bit, I'm not going to be happy doing it. Most of it has to do with the daily stuff, is that REALLY what I want to be doing? Not really.

I had one of those wake up calls a few days ago, where I woke up and went, "What the .... am I doing here?!?!"

Basically, I've come to the conclusion I was simply jumping at the chance to get away from TSA, and really didn't look at this in the long term view. I went, "oh ...., that's pretty cool, and I get to learn Spanish, Firearms, and get paid to workout, so that will be a plus", but it never occured to me to think about how I would feel towards the job on a daily basis and if I wanted to do it. I had blinders on, simply threw myself at it, without viewing the ramifications or impact on my life. I wouldn't be able to do what I want, and I would be, to be cliche; living to work, rather than working to live.

So here I am, back on the chopping block, attempting to figure out what I want to do with my life/career. I don't look at this as all that disappointing, because I found out early. I'm one of those people who ignored a lot of stuff, by putting my head down and just getting it down. In the words of my friend, "your just used to stepping in $hit, so it doesn't bother you, but because it doesn't bother you, you don't look to go around, you just keep stomping through it". If I had brought myself out of the "blinders" during college, I would have gone nuts, so that's just how I managed. If I'd gotten further into the training, moved all my stuff, I think I would have just accepted it. (decent pay, hating the restrictions on my life, small town living) Looking at it now, objectively, I don't think I want my life to be this way.

A bit of background on me. I planned to go to the military out of high school, moved to Florida for the last two years of high school, got a Pell Grant and Bright Futures, and found out I could go to college for pretty cheap. (mind you FL in-state tuition is really cheap) Worked four years full-time, went to school full-time, got out in four years. I got a BS in Criminal Justice, but really wasn't that interested in it, simply got it because I'd rather have something for my four years than nothing, and got two minors in other areas. I probably should have majored in the other areas. Didn't have much expenses, couldn't afford car + insurance, so went without. Worked TSA my last year in college, and decided to apply elsewhere.

This is really me venting, and fishing for advice. I've been looking at what I like and what I want (which is more difficult than I thought when you have to write it down). I've also done a pros and cons sheet, and the cons are far larger, and outweigh the pros, which are few, and rather arbitrary.

Perhaps this seems far fetched, but I realize a lot of the things I want aren't going to be available here. I want something that is mentally stimulating, I like fixing things, I like helping people, I like reading the Economist and world politics and news, I enjoy social activity, I want to be able to cut back and relax on the weekends (which I haven't had off in 3 years), I want to be able to go out to dinner every once in a while, I want to be able to party a bit, and not feel like my job is encroaching on every aspect of my life. It's a lot of responsibility, and that doesn't bother me, it's the fact that the responsibility follows you home, and to the mall, and everywhere. I feel I could DO the job, but I really don't want to. I'm doing very well in all my classes, PT, etc, but this hit me like a rifle round a few days ago, and I'm somewhat glad it happened now, rather than 10 years down the road when I'm 32, and I'm shaking my head going "how the hell did I end up here, why do I do this every day?"

I'll have computer access this weekend, so any replies I'd appreciate and should be able to reply to. A lot of thinking and soul searching going on, and I perfer opinions from my friends and people from the internet. My friends because they know me, and you guys are great because of the experience you can throw on the table with this kind of thing, and can be brutally honest.

Forgot a detail, I can walk away from this job at any time, still in training, it's no big deal, and I'll come out ahead money wise, so it's not like this was a waste. I have 5K in the bank, and a couple friends at home who have already said they'd put me up for a couple weeks no problem.

I really appreciate your time in reading this long winded post, and any advice given. Thanks.
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Old May 24, 08, 1:45 pm
  #2  
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Speaking here as a Flyertalker-At-Large, not a mod ...

I admire your courage in pursuing an inquiry w/r/t to what you really want from life and in meaningful work. IME, it is worth the time and effort to discover these answers, and I wish you all the best in that pursuit.

I'm not sure what sort of advice you are seeking here, but if it's about how to proceed with figuring out what it is you want to do then feel free to email me via the link in my profile if you wish. As someone who faced a similar situation at ~22 y.o. and am now in the middle of changing career paths again at twice that age, I do have a couple of insights that may (or may not) be useful.

Last edited by essxjay; May 24, 08 at 1:54 pm
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Old May 24, 08, 3:47 pm
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IWORKHERE:
It takes alot of courage to post what you posted here & without having meet you not sure how much advice I can offer you but I'll try, My biggest regret is giving up lawenforcement & going into the airlines.(If only I could've known) Personally I would not want to work for Boarder Patrol either. With that said I would sugguest you look into local lawenforcement.(PD's). Talk to the depts. you may be interested in & see if you can get a ride a long. If so I bet you might be hooked, You say you want to help people. In lawenforcement you can help people every day & make a difference in their life. Now only problem with that I think you must be around 22. I think from reading your posts you have your head on better than me when I was that age as that's when I started in le & quite frankly I didn't at that age get the helping people thing.
If I can help please by all means pm or ask. I hope this helps alittle bit.
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Old May 24, 08, 4:26 pm
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It might help (since we don't know you beyond your posts here) to know what your minors were in. If you really think you should have majored in one of those other areas, it's not too late to go back to school. It may not be the most appealing thought right now, but something to consider. Or look at some type of job in those areas. They may not require that you majored in the subject. The classes in your minor may have given you enough info. to get a foot in the door. Also, contact your college's placement center. They often provide services to alumni and probably have someone on staff who can help you with "What do I want to do with my life?" types of questions.

Best of luck as you sort through these decisions.
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Old May 24, 08, 4:27 pm
  #5  
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Just wondering if people had any ideas as to figure out what I would enjoy doing, or how they got to their current positions (assuming they like their jobs). I don't believe I've given myself enough time ever to evaluate careers, and now that I'm going to be leaving this, it boggles my mind.

Plus, I'm looking for anyone to poke holes in my logic or give me a little check if I was thinking irrationally. My friends are difficult to get a hold of this weekend (holidays), and my family....well, let's just say their opinion isn't worth very much.

Appreciate the comments thus far, and I sent you both msgs.

edit: scoow - I minored in history and political science. Truthfully, Criminal Justice never interested me that much. I appreciate the advice, and I wll contact my college placement center, I didn't even think of that.
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Old May 24, 08, 4:53 pm
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I have to agree with the other posters in that you seem to have a real good head on your shoulders and you are alot wiser than I was at your age. I fell into the TS/S field mainly because my mother wouldn't stop nagging me to apply.

For most people that have asked me where to go next, I usually suggest a special agent position with one of the many federal agencies, but it looks like you said you're not necessarily interested in a LEO position or one that would keep you working at strange hours or called away from a social event.

If you enjoy decent wages and some sort of job security protected by a national union, I would recommend a civil service job. Not necessarily the US Postal Service, as I've heard that it's difficult to get a permanent position there, but almost every agency has 9-5 positions, though not necessarily with the amount of overtime that you get from BP.

www.usajobs.gov is a good place to start if you want a civil service position within the federal government. Check your local government's information, too. You might find something interesting.

Good luck!
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Old May 24, 08, 4:58 pm
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Hi there. I think one fundamental question is if you want to stay a federal employee. It's much easier to move around if you stay in the system. Once you are out, it becomes more difficult.

One way to address the issues you mention is to help a municipality in their emergency preparedness work. Many of the folks staffing these departments don't have a clue and could benefit from some of your experiences. I would think that to them, your prior experience would be quite valuable. And, in my opinion, the mission is much clearer at the community level than at the airport screening setting.
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Old May 24, 08, 5:13 pm
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just my opinion

First off i would say that if u have been in training about 2 months,u don't have a lot more to go.I would surely finish that so as not to look like a quiter.My wife is a CBP officer so what little i do know comes from her.Once u get into the system,u can slide from 1 agency to another fairly easy,and they have many jobs within each agency.I think u already know that if u have been on usajobs.gov.com,and there are many more jobs that are not posted on that site.If i was u I would be careful not to jump from the frying pan into the fire.Just my 2 cents.Good luck.
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Old May 24, 08, 5:30 pm
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Hmmm, interesting ideas. Stuff to look into. I'm not sure being a fed employee matters to me all that much. It's the issue of finding something I really enjoy. I don't enjoy this, I've found that out. I didn't look at the big picture, I thought hey, "that's cool, firearms, spanish, driving, paid to workout" but I'm not really all that interested in it. I like PT because I like working out, but that's something that really isn't reflective of the job. I want to learn spanish, but I could pretty much do that anywhere on my own time. Yea, I got out of TSA, and pretty much anything is better, but this is a long term career in my opinion, and I know I'm not going to be happy ten years down the road doing this. It's a tough pill for me to swallow (ego and as far as pride), because I'm damn near top of my class in all categories except firearms, which I'm getting better. But I'm not happy mentally, and honestly not really stimulated. I think I'm simply hanging on as to not be the dude who quit, but staying here just to prove to other people I can do what I've been doing the last two months is rather silly.

Reminds me of that quote from Pulp Fiction, where Marcellus is telling Butch
when he's supposed to throw the fight....

"That's pride f-ing with you, F pride, pride only hurts."
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Old May 24, 08, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by greg47 View Post
First off i would say that if u have been in training about 2 months,u don't have a lot more to go.I would surely finish that so as not to look like a quiter.My wife is a CBP officer so what little i do know comes from her.Once u get into the system,u can slide from 1 agency to another fairly easy,and they have many jobs within each agency.I think u already know that if u have been on usajobs.gov.com,and there are many more jobs that are not posted on that site.If i was u I would be careful not to jump from the frying pan into the fire.Just my 2 cents.Good luck.
It's 3 months, plus 2 more for us who don't speak spanish. Why would I transfer to another LEO job if I'm not all that interested in this one. I've stated I've very likely make a mistake in my occupation choice. CBP officer work POE's, BP Agents work in-between the POE's and the academies are quite a bit different.

What would it look like if I took this job and than transferred over to a different agency. Still the same as quitting, as far as my peers are concerned. Honestly, I'm not worried about them or perception, if I leave most of these people are never going to see me again, or remember me in months to come. My main concern is taking care of myself and getting my ... straightened out.
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Old May 24, 08, 5:49 pm
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Speaking as someone who was once in his 20s and went through the same soul searching process that you are going through now, I offer the following advice.

Talk to a "career" (not an employment) counselor in your college; these guys are trained to help you explore your interests. Attend alumni functions and meet successful graduates of your college and network. Contact your alumni office and find out if they have an alumni mentor program (that is, successful alumni willing to mentor young graduates). Better yet, write to successful people and arrange informational interviews. Find out how they got to where they are now; successful people love to talk about their successes and they will give you their time. And ask them to mentor you.

I will close by saying that I admire your drive and hunger and these qualities will take you far. I hope we meet someday at airport lounge or sitting next to each other on an airplane. And when you become successful, you do have a responsibility to help and mentor others. All the very best to you.
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Old May 24, 08, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Peregrine415 View Post
Speaking as someone who was once in his 20s and went through the same soul searching process that you are going through now, I offer the following advice.

Talk to a "career" (not an employment) counselor in your college; these guys are trained to help you explore your interests. Attend alumni functions and meet successful graduates of your college and network. Contact your alumni office and find out if they have an alumni mentor program (that is, successful alumni willing to mentor young graduates). Better yet, write to successful people and arrange informational interviews. Find out how they got to where they are now; successful people love to talk about their successes and they will give you their time. And ask them to mentor you.

I will close by saying that I admire your drive and hunger and these qualities will take you far. I hope we meet someday at airport lounge or sitting next to each other on an airplane. And when you become successful, you do have a responsibility to help and mentor others. All the very best to you.
Thanks, some very good ideas there, some things I probably wouldn't have thought of. I'll definitely apply this when I get back.
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Old May 24, 08, 6:09 pm
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I think you are right in seeking to fix something which is truly BROKEN (i.e. our porous southern border) and actually go after some CRIMINALS as oppposed to non-targets, like grandmas and children trying to get to Tulsa. More power to you. As I perceive you are really involved in law enforcement rather than a ridiculous game, I forego my typical closing and wish you luck and sign off with respect. Watch your back!

Regards!
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Old May 24, 08, 6:23 pm
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Sounds to me like you're trying to figure out where you fit in this world. I strongly suggest you figure out where your giftings and motivations are (your career counselor at college/university should be able to help you with this), and based on that, start mapping out a plan of action on what you should do next. Unfortunately I did not do this until I was enrolled in a class at graduate school that went through all this, it helped me gain some focus on my graduate program, despite the fact that I still pursued two degrees!

Don't get hung up on trying to make a choice that you seemingly have to live with for the rest of your life. When you're in your early forties, you may well be asking the same questions again! I have several classmates from high school that have suddenly changed directions, even from very lucrative jobs!

Remember this is a journey you're on, while you may think what you've already done might be time wasted, 10 years down the road you'll find that certainly is not the case, you learned what you don't want to do in life, and has made you to be the person you are.
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Old May 24, 08, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by PHLbuddy View Post
Hi there. I think one fundamental question is if you want to stay a federal employee. It's much easier to move around if you stay in the system. Once you are out, it becomes more.
This is some of the BEST job advice anyone can ever learn. The Federal employment system promotes from within. It is a closed union shop. The Feds only hire entry level positions from the public.

In private companies, middle management positions are filled by people with experience from other companies. The only people who ever qualify for government middle management positions are those who started out as grunt level workers and worked their way up the system.

Need proof? go to http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/ and type in your city. On the bottom of the page is a yes/no check for "Are you a current or former Federal civilian employee". Try it first with No. You will get lots of entry level crap jobs open to the Public. Then try it with Yes checked. You will get about 20% more jobs listed, including all the "good" jobs in your city or any city you want to move to, but available only to current Fed employees.

If you are a Federal employee, you can transfer to all sorts of other Federal jobs, but if you quit and are a civilian again, you're out.
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