In November 2013, I made the decision to enroll in a paralegal program so I would have job training in another area besides writing and editing. My freelance writing and editing business wasn’t a consistent source of income at the time, and we were planning ahead for our life after the military. I needed a backup plan if I couldn’t find full-time work as a writer or editor somewhere.
I enrolled in James Madison University’s online paralegal program, which started in February 2014. The program was six months long. As I got closer to the end of the program, I started applying for jobs in the legal field near our home in Maryland. (My husband was stationed at Andrews AFB at the time.)
That’s when a due diligence/corporate compliance company caught my eye. I saw a job listing for a due diligence associate, which is not at all the same as a paralegal. But legal knowledge is important for that type of work, since it involves analyzing a lot of business documents. I applied and hoped for the best.
Long story short, I got the job. (I also got an offer at the same time to work at a law firm, but the pay was horrible and the benefits were non-existent.)
I spent nearly two years there, diving deep into the world of due diligence. I found it to be pretty interesting a lot of the time. I worked on a lot of different accounts, so no two days were the same. I loved the culture there, the people I worked with, and the opportunities to advance in my career. And I did advance. I was promoted to a senior due diligence associate role in February 2016, and I was put in charge of the company’s most popular product line.
My promotion was only a couple weeks before my husband retired from the Air Force. Post-retirement, he spent a few months trying to figure out what his future would look like. I had a good job that was fulfilling and rewarding. We could stay in Maryland, couldn’t we?
Well, we could have, but the cost of living was so high. And staying there wasn’t really compatible with our desire to be homeowners. (We moved three times during our four years in Maryland because our landlords either decided to sell their house or move back in. We didn’t want to deal with that anymore.) Our price range for a house severely limited our choices, so we knew we couldn’t make living in Maryland work.
Ultimately, my husband got a job with the State of Ohio after sending out applications to organizations in several different states. It was the first interview he got, and the job offer came soon after.
So, back to Ohio. My home state. Never thought I’d be moving back there after living in so many other places as a military spouse.
It meant, of course, that I had to leave this company where I was building a career. I was so disappointed, but I hoped that I would find equally fulfilling and rewarding work in Ohio.
Even now — 5.5 years later — it is still the best company I ever worked for. No job I’ve had since has even come close.
Oddly enough, I do work full-time right now in a position that requires my writing and editing skills. My paralegal certificate has been collecting dust. But here’s where things come full circle.
COVID forced many companies to pivot to fully remote work. My former employer included. And many of the employees are staying remote even after the office re-opened. (I know, because I have stayed in touch with several of my former co-workers.)
And now I have a master’s in marketing and communications, and some actual in-house experience …
Last month, a marketing manager position opened up at that company. I thought I’d apply to see what would happen.
I’m now the new marketing manager. I start two weeks from today. And this would not have happened if I hadn’t decided to get that paralegal certificate eight years ago.
It’s funny how life works sometimes. I’m absolutely thrilled to be going back, even if it is in a remote capacity. And in marketing now … not due diligence.