Its amazing how life works sometimes. One minute, you're comfortable in your daily routine of things. The next minute, your life has completely changed. Many variables can play a part in your life that you might not even notice until they are right there in front of you, or completely swept away in a blink of an eye. This could be caused by negative events in your life like a death of a loved one, losing your job, getting diagnosed with a terminal disease or divorce. On the flip side, positive events can also be life altering. Things a new relationship (either romantic or friendly), the birth of a child, the start of a new career or purchasing a new home. I am going to tell you of some recent life changing events that happened in my life that explain why I am where I am today.
Fresh out of high school, I became a Corrections Officer for Milwaukee County. I was making good cash. I had a career. After 2 years of that, I became a Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff. I had the whole "career" thing taken care of. At 23 years old I got married to my high school sweetheart who happened to be a Milwaukee Police Officer. We bought a house and got a dog. We had two children (now 9 and 7) and we were living the dream. We were set for life. Or at least we thought we were.
On February 6th, 2012, I was notified by the Sheriff's department that I was being laid off along with 47 other Deputies. They said they may call us back to work, but nothing was for sure. I had an unblemished record during my 10 years on the job. No write ups. No internal affairs cases. Nothing. I just didn't have the seniority to save me. What do I do now? The only thing I knew was law enforcement. I did what most of you might guess I would do: applied at other Police jurisdictions. I tried several different municipalities and I never even got in for an interview. With the whole recent job crisis in Wisconsin, the law enforcement field was saturated with applicants. I gave up.
Moving on with the story, my brother is a Computer Programmer. He was trying to convince me to go back to school and get into the IT field. Wait a minute....school? Are ya kidding?!?!? I'm 33 years old and I haven't been to school since High School. Plus, I have a family to take care of!!! Besides, the Sheriff's department might be calling me back to work!!! It sounded absurd to me. Well, at first it did, anyway. I began thinking about it. Seriously considering it. What about the prestige of being a Cop? What about carrying a badge and a gun? What will my family and friends say? My wife said she'd support any decision that I would make and assured me that we would survive either way. Hmmmm.....
In October 2012, the Sheriff's department called me offering me my old job back. I humbly declined. I decided that I would trade the badge and gun for a mouse and keyboard. Honestly, I have never been happier. Losing my job was a very negative thing to happened to me in my life but I turned it into a positive life changing event. I could have went back to being a cop for the next 25 years and dealt with all of the stress, crummy shift hours, and the poor morale there. Instead, I chose to hit the books and be a student for a few years and embrace a new challenge. Now, I spend more time with my family and friends, I volunteer at my church, I coach my sons soccer team and I even began acting. I have never felt better in my life. So that's why I'm here at MATC. I'm taking my life in a brand new direction and I'm excited about it.
So what's the moral of the story? Things happen for a reason. There's always a silver lining no matter how tough things get in your life. Nobody goes through life without experiencing some sort of life changing event. How you deal with these events is what defines you.