Marian (Mari) Canzoniero Navy, E-4, Separated
"Be prepared; all job markets are different. Take the TAPS seminar, if possible."
When I was in high school I felt that I had something to prove… I could do anything that men could do, if not better. I also realized at the time that I wasn't college material. The military had a lot to offer.
I joined the Navy in 1994 at age 20 and transferred to the Inactive Reserves in 1998. I spent eight weeks in Recruit Training in Orlando, FL. Then it was on to Meridian, MS for 8 weeks in Storekeeper "A" School. From school I boarded the USS Holland and set sail for Guam, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and the Philippines. I was then sent to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Forty based in Port Hueneme, CA. where I currently live.I left the service to get married. I was engaged to my current husband, who was in my unit and was afraid that if we got married we'd spend at least one year apart. I was completely terrified of becoming a civilian. I knew I had a lot of experience and training, but needed to find the right outlet to put those skills to good use. My military experience taught me many things: self-motivation, being a team player, self-confidence, etc. I realized when I got out that these were skills that many employers in the civilian work force look for.
Justin and I have been married for a little over two years and have a wonderful little boy, Matthew. Justin has been a big part in my transition, he put up with the ups and downs of the job search as well as being the primary supporter for our family. After staying home with my son for eight months I realized that I had a lot to offer and needed to put my skills to good use. I volunteered for several months as a financial counselor at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. I enjoyed my time there, but knew there was something better out there for me. This past March I attended a job fair here on the base. I used the Family Service Center to help me produce a resume. I put a few resumes out, but was afraid that due to my inexperience, I wouldn't receive any calls. About 3 weeks after the job fair, GPCA Joint Venture called me for an interview. It was a dream come true for me. They were looking for a Supply Clerk; I spent four years as a SK in the Navy. I have been with the company now for a little over five months; I am so thankful to the military for giving me the experience and the training required to survive in such a tough job market.
I would advise everyone to take full advantage of everything the military has to offer both before and after your separation. Research all your options. Be prepared; all job markets are different. Take the TAPS seminar, if possible.
Compiled by: Barbara Poisson