Second Acts

While it’s a scary time to lose a job or leave a job, it could be the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself and do what you love for the rest of your life.



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nurse

Though the medical field can be stressful, George wouldn’t trade it for her former career. She feels she’s making a difference every day.

Photo by Martha Rial

 

From Sales and Marketing Manager to Nurse
 

Devon George rocked it when she worked in sales and marketing throughout her whole career—including a stint at local radio station WDVE-FM. “It was a blast, and it was so easy,” George says.

So, in 2005, when a recruiter offered her a position as the marketing director at Comcast, she thought things would keep improving. Just as she started to get comfortable there, she learned that Comcast was eliminating her department within weeks. This bump in the road was exactly what she needed to start pursuing her different interests and passions.

“With my severance package, I asked my husband, Ian, if I could use the window of time and money to launch a second career,” George says.

With his support, she started to explore every line of work that was related to helping others. She researched teaching, nonprofit management and child advocacy.

One night during fall 2006 (months after her layoff), she was channel surfing when she saw an actor wearing scrubs. George ran downstairs and started researching local nursing programs. And everything just fell into place.

She enrolled at Community College of Allegheny County and quickly became overjoyed that she’d be an engaged adult learner.

“In one of my anatomy classes, the teacher asked, ‘Where are your adrenal glands?’ Nobody knew the answer,” she remembers. “I thought we have all the same bodies. How can we walk around and not know this?”

The next four years of school were grueling at times as she raised her two children and learned new things. In May 2010, she earned her associate degree in nursing from the CCAC South Campus. Then, in August, George passed state-licensing boards and became a registered nurse.

Because she was the kid who fainted at the sight of blood and hated needles, she wasn’t sure what to expect when she began her clinical rotations during fall 2008. Fortunately, it wasn’t an issue in her new environment.

George, a Whitehall resident, is now attending California University of Pennsylvania to earn a bachelor of science in nursing and expects to graduate next spring. She may continue on to graduate-level courses. “I’ll be in school the rest of my life, which is a good thing, right?” she asks.

Her advice for anyone considering making the leap: “Take a breath, and imagine in your wildest dreams what you would want to do. Usually, it’s connected to when you were last happy. Then do everything you can to make it happen.”

Though the medical field can become stressful, her feeling of satisfaction is deep. She feels she’s making a difference every day.
 

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