Jan Stafford Kellis

Ready, Set, Change Career

Ready, Set, Change Career

All my life I’ve worked inside. I’ve been a waitress, a grocery cashier, a credit union teller, accounting clerk, accounting manager, internal auditor, and an electric utility company member service representative. Now I wear work boots (!!) and have a company truck with a tool box to accommodate my sledge hammer and brush axe. I still have a clipboard. It helps me recognize myself when I picture myself in my mind’s eye slogging through the brush, jumping ditches and annihilating small trees and branches that have committed the crime of blocking my vision from one stake to another.

I’m a staking technician: the person (no longer the ‘guy’) who travels to potential job sites, usually alone, sometimes meeting a homeowner or electrician, to design new electric services, service upgrades or power line extensions or rebuilds. Luckily, I do this in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where the most likely potential threats aren’t man or machine, but wolf or bear. Or domestic dogs, unchained and salivating, rushing to defend their patch of crabgrass decorated with their own leavings. This is where my brush axe becomes a multitasking defense implement that so far I haven’t had to utilize beyond brandishing it in a threatening manner. Dogs are easily impressed with long, swinging sticks with gleaming metal ends.

I’m the first woman to hold this position in my 72-year-old company. I don’t feel as if I’m breaking down barriers, just quietly enjoying the challenges of a physically and mentally demanding job. I’m 40, and I’ve convinced myself it’s a good time of life to drastically switch careers and also to do something outside with the hope of  maintaining my slowly ebbing physique. My education is not in engineering but in business management, with very little math, which turns out to be a regrettable disadvantage. But I’m having fun. Each assignment is its own project, much like a puzzle or mind-boggling riddle, and merits its own file filled with color-coded documents and drawings (I’m no artist but my sketches are improving–should have taken drafting as well as trigonometry) with a clear end, when I can close the file and stash it away in the ‘finished’ section of the drawer.

Every day brings a new puzzle requiring a creative solution and I approach it with interest and intensity.

2 thoughts on “Ready, Set, Change Career

  1. Anthony

    Stories like yours are inspirational. It shows that people don’t have to be put into a box and stay there, it is possible to move around in job or career. It takes some guts, and some daring but you’ve shown it can be done successfully.

    It would be my tip that you would never be unemployed – what a wonderfully rich employment history you have – it shouts to prospective employers that you are a ‘can do’ person. Employers love ‘can do’ people.

    To your readers – if you’re not happy where you are – move on.

    Best wishes
    Anthony from Job Search Mentoring.com

  2. Jan Kellis

    Thanks for the positive remarks!

    I have always approached tasks, plans and dreams with the attitude “how can I make this happen?” rather than the ever-popular “what reason can I give for this not happening?”. This is how we built our house, how I wrote two books, and how my dream of a trip to Italy became a reality.

    It works for me and I highly recommend it.