How do you follow your passion in the military? Don’t let the recruiter deter you from what you want to do by offering you a bonus. Make sure you know what career field you are interested in and then follow your passion in the military.
Follow Your Passion in the Military
Elaine graduated from college and couldn’t find a job, and was living at home and working part-time. The bus stop was by a recruiter’s office and she decided to join the Army. The recruiter dangled a bonus and an early start day for her career and she took it instead of waiting to be a 46B Public Army Broadcast. Instead, she enlisted as a Morse Code Interceptor.
Her first assignment was in Hawaii. She enjoyed the location but was on a continual shift of rotations for her duty, days, mids, nights. It was tough on her body and mentally challenging. She didn’t enjoy doing morse code and had the opportunity to go to language school in San Francisco and learned Russian. By the time she completed her training she was married, pregnant, and had 9 months left on her active duty service commitment. She finished out her time and then she and her husband relocated to Illinois.
She and her husband served in the Reserves.
When signed up to serve in the Reserves she wanted to switch to be a 46B. And so she was able to switch career fields and enjoyed her career field. She deployed two times before 9/11 once to Guantanamo and then to Bosnia. But she went all over the globe for shorter missions. Because she was a homemaker it made it possible to go on the different assignments required by the Reserves.
She switched to the National Guard in 2000 and switch career fields to be an interrogator. In 2004, she was deployed to Afghanistan. Because it was early in the war she was able to travel to many different places in Afghanistan and really enjoyed her time serving in Afghanistan.
Leaving the military
In 2008, she decided to leave the military, and in the middle of a recession tried to find a job. She was also in the middle of a divorce and struggled. Even with a master’s degree and her veteran status, she couldn’t find work. Eventually, she got a GS-5 job as a secretary with the IRS. This job was an open door and she found her footing.
Today she works for the VA and recently moved from Chicago to Los Angeles so that she could follow her passion of being a TV writer. Her short stories and essays have been published in “Tupelo Quarterly,” “The Bryant Literary Review,” ”37th Parallel,” the anthology, “Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks from Vietnam to Iraq” and many others. She won the Celia Baker Scholarship to the Longleaf Writer’s Conference in 2018.
She was an Austin Screenwriting Festival second-rounder in 2019 and 2020 and participated in the Writers Guild of America West, WGA, Veterans Writing Workshop in 2015. Elaine has also worked as a production assistant and assistant director on several short films, and as a contributor to the Rivendell theater production of “Women at War.” She is currently collaborating with a composer to write a short musical for the upcoming NewMusicalsInc (NMI) musical web series, “How Proudly We Hail.”
Connect with Elaine:
Website coming soon
Mentioned in this episode:
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