A Second Career In My 20s, Looking Back

After reading a recent post by current 2nd-time student, Melissa Melanson in A Second Career in My 20s, grad Bobbi Jo wanted to share her similar experience from more than 25 years ago.

I started at Mohawk on the Fennell Campus, fresh out of high school in 1988. Towards my later years in high school, I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do but knew that I really enjoyed keyboarding and shorthand. I heard about the Office Admin course through my sister who had taken the course and really enjoyed it. I applied and was accepted and started in September 1988.  Little did I know (20+ years and a second stint in Mohawk later) that those ‘roots’ would be coming back to me.

So, anyway, I graduated from the two-year Executive Office Admin program. A short few months later, I got a job in a Hamilton law firm.

Yes, law firm. Not my first choice (nor my second…) but I thought I would give it a go, build my resumé, etc.

1990- Yearbook photo

Well, I stuck with that job for four and a half years! But I knew something was missing. I wasn’t happy, I was bored and law just wasn’t my cup of tea. I also felt that I could put my skills to work in a totally different field.

I knew that I really enjoyed sports and recreation – being a sporty person myself – and I also liked dealing with the public and helping people, etc. I did some investigating and came up with two choices – Mohawk’s Recreation Leadership 2 Year course or Brock University’s 3 or 4 Year (Honours) Physical Education course.

Luckily I qualified as a mature student.

Then the decision had to be made. Did I want to go to Brock and spend 3 or 4 years and drive from Hamilton to St. Catharines daily? Or, did I want to be done and out in the workforce in 2 years (or less…)

Well, it wasn’t too difficult a decision – Mohawk it was. I was accepted to Rec Leadership and thoroughly enjoyed every second of the program! I fast-tracked it and graduated from the course in a year and a half. My instructors were incredible and the entire course was amazing. I knew I had made a great choice.

It was through my Mohawk Recreation education that I landed where I am now – working for the City of Hamilton. My second year Rec co-op placement was with the City of Hamilton, Recreation Division, under Greg Maychak, who still remains to this day, a very dear and respected friend. Luckily, I was hired on a part-time basis by Greg.

Well, that part-time position then led to full-time and I am now in my 21st year with the City of Hamilton!

But it still doesn’t quite end there. I spent a very fulfilling and exciting 19 years in the Recreation Division of Community & Emergency Services Department but I once again felt like my talents were stalled. I still really enjoyed keyboarding and computers and administrative work. So I started investigating positions within the City and knowing I had my admin roots background, I investigated those positions as well.

Since March 2015, I am extremely happy to say that I am the Program Secretary for the Neighbourhood & Community Initiatives sections still within the Community & Emergency Services Department. I work with some amazing people doing amazing things for the community and City. I absolutely love my job! I am so thankful and grateful every day fo

r what I have achieved and how far I’ve come.

It’s not easy going back to school when you have responsibilities (a car, a house…my kids hadn’t come along at that point…) and even though I was only my mid-20s during my second Mohawk education, it was different than the first time. Maybe maturity and learned-lessons had something to do with it but I would highly recommend a second education to anyone who’s just not quite happy or unsure of their current choices.

The one thing I’ve said since I began this ‘back to my roots’ job was that how grateful I was for having my Mohawk education. Mohawk has lead me to some great places, met some great people from all over the world (work-related positions have given me this opportunity) and helped me form life-lasting friendships.

Bobbi Jo Beitz (formerly Yusek)
Office Administration – Executive, ’90/ Recreation Leadership, ’96

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