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Your Career

One Sailor's Experience with Career Intermission - Part 5

First year of school done!

I am officially one year in to my intermission, which also means one year of being in school and one year since I've worn my uniform.

One Sailor's Experience With Career Intermission: Part 1
One Sailor's Experience With Career Intermission: Part 2
One Sailor's Experience With Career Intermission: Part 3
One Sailor's Experience With Career Intermission: Part 4

The last 52 weeks have flown by with their ups and downs, but I'm still happy with my decision to take the intermission and (still) just as happy with the prospect of returning to active duty as soon as possible.

One of the high points of this intermission has been traveling. My laid back schedule has allowed me to travel to the Caribbean and Disney World. I've been spending lots of quality time with my family in addition to focusing on school.

Last year, I finished up my lower level courses at the local community college and was accepted to Florida Atlantic University to begin the winter semester this January. It feels good to look at my transcript and see the progress I've made, mostly because if all goes according to plan, I can graduate this December.

My biggest challenge of 2015 was operating on a reduced income. Earning less money forced me to really pay attention to mine and my wife's spending and to commit to a strict budget. As a result, we're in a much more comfortable financial situation than we were last January and have more flexibility to spend money on fun things like traveling.

In this first year of being in CIP, I've also had similar challenges managing my time but not for a lack of it. These days I manage to get myself up around 7 a.m. but the rest of my day is pretty unstructured, which leads to a lot of goofing off. I've fallen victim to many a cat video and politically charged click-bait. For me, time seems easier to manage when I have less to work with.
Three photos starting from the left: Timberlake with her wife, while she was active duty, while studying.

When I was on sea duty, I felt like I could never get anything done because I was always so busy. I was constantly running around getting something done for chief, or studying for this, or helping someone with that. What's crazy, is that I managed to get two warfare pins, make 3rd and 2nd class and finish everything that was assigned to me. On shore duty, I had less work to do and more time off but I still managed to get work stuff done, get into the best shape of my life, buy a crazy house, and have a social life. So why is it that at 9 a.m., sitting here on my couch writing this blog could very well be the most productive moment of my day, maybe even my week?

I've always liked the structure of being in the military but I was so reliant on having to keep a schedule and meet deadlines, that now without my day being dictated to me, it's a small miracle if I can peel myself away from my laptop to get groceries for dinner. In the Navy, we are programmed to work and move with a sense of urgency. I've found the civilian world to be completely opposite, especially here in South Florida where half of the population is actually just here on vacation. For me personally, there's so much less at stake; no chief checking up on me and no other E-5s to compete with for an EP.

So for 2016, my primary resolution is to channel my inner Sailor and become more efficient. Even with an overarching goal in progress, I know I need to be meeting milestones more often than just the end of every semester. I've already started by making time to hit the gym in the mornings. I think it helps that I'm taking 16 credits this semester too. I feel like increased productivity is absolutely necessary because now time is running out. If 2016 goes by nearly as fast as last year did, I feel as though I could blink and be back on sea duty.