What was your first professional adult job that led you to a more long-term career? How did you get the job? What did you like and dislike about it?
After receiving my Master of Education Degree in Counseling in 1980, I applied for the position of Public and Professional Education Director with the American Cancer Society (ACS). The job market was still tight from the recession, so employers could be very picky with job applicants. In this case, the Executive Director of the ACS only wanted to interview candidates who had masters degrees in public health administration. However his secretary happened to live in Webster Groves, the same community as me, so she included my resume in the stack that he was to review. It is only because of her that I even had the opportunity to be considered for the position.
|me with news anchor Tim Vandergelder
There were a couple of things that I didn't like, which ultimately led to me pursuing another direction with my career. The first was the dismal pay. Because it is a not for profit, the ACS cannot compete with salaries offered by for-profit companies. As someone with an advanced degree, I knew I could make more money in the private sector. Added to that is the fact that I was often required to go into parts of St. Louis, sometimes at night, that I was not comfortable with on my own. I was putting a lot of miles on my car as well.
When one of my co-workers doubled her pay to go to work for a local utility company, I knew that I had to take a look at whether or not there were other opportunities available to me as well. As it ended up, it was my experience working with doctors and health care providers while at the ACS that led to my next job offer. My new job came with a salary that more than doubled my current pay. An added bonus was that the company was located in the same building as my husband's employer, so we were able to carpool each day. The next phase of my working life was launched.