Why I Changed My Career in the Middle of a Global Pandemic
January 6, 2021 | Posted by: Sherry Corbitt
Posted by: Melissa Kuczepa
When you find your calling, there is always a catalyst, a reason you ended up where you did. This is mine.
Looking back now, many of the events in my life over the past 13 years have steered me toward the path I am currently on. It just so happened; the biggest changes for me would happen during a global pandemic. I know what you are thinking, WHY would someone quit their job and to become self-employed in the middle of an economic crisis? I’ll answer that question simply: passion.
Working in the telecommunications industry for seven years, gave me insight and invaluable experience working with all types of people. I was not afraid of having difficult conversations, and I have a deeply rooted passion for helping people. This led me to the position I held for three years as an Ambulance Communications Officer for the Durham Region. That was my catalyst; the job that changed me.
For three years I had the most difficult conversations one could have. I talked lonely, deeply hurting people from suicide. I have instructed distraught parents to perform CPR on their baby with tears streaming down my face but a calm steel to my voice. I walked terrified callers through first aid and CPR instructions. I was there when their friend or loved one had been shot, or stabbed, or struck by a car, or found unconscious in a pool, trying to give them the sense that they had helped in some small way – even if I knew there was no saving them. I have heard the unimaginable, the grief stricken, the loss and the mourning. I have heard sounds I will never forget. This changed me. It changed my family dynamic, and it changed my internal drive.
I became acutely aware, in a way I never really had before, that life is finite and literally ends in an instant. Of course, we all understand the concept of death, but until you witness it firsthand or it directly impacts you in some way, the concept still seems foreign. I realized that spending nights, weekends, and holidays away from my family was eating away at me. I realized that as cliché as it sounds, I can literally do anything if I am determined enough to pursue it. I decided the time had come to leave 9-1-1 to carve a new path for myself and my family and I would enjoy the rest of my time on this Earth with a strong focus on work/life balance.
So, in January 2019, I enrolled in a college diploma program where I met a great group of ladies who motivated each other to be better, and to succeed, no matter the obstacle. I knew I was on the right track. When it came time to find a placement prior to graduation, I knew I needed to find a place that focused on growth, and positivity, but that gave me the skills to successfully navigate the new workforce I planned to enter post-graduation. My plan had been to enter into the workforce as an Executive Assistant in health care (a very stable career), but all of that would shortly change.
I had friended my Mortgage Broker on Facebook years prior when we sold our house and purchased a new one. She was amazing (Shout out to Sherry Corbitt without whom this story would have ended very differently) and I remembered seeing her posting about how she was asked to speak at a National Mortgage Conference. She always seemed so happy and her business was thriving. So, I thought, what do I have to lose? I will see if Sherry could use a student helper in the office. Thankfully, she said YES!
While working at Sherry’s office, I found that I loved the work I was doing. I was enjoying learning about the mortgage industry and really began to feel like there may be a place in it for me. I had always enjoyed working with the financial aspect of the telecommunications industry and I liked helping find solutions to client billing problems. I knew I could have tough conversations, but I knew I could also find a sense accomplishment helping people through some of their most challenging financial struggles. I would still have the same sense of achievement without the pain that came with it at 9-1-1.
Close to the end of my placement, I decided I wanted to become licensed as a Mortgage Agent and lucky for me, Sherry agreed to be my mentor. I powered through the program, despite our entire world in upheaval, and became licensed in July 2020.
Since then, I have served my clients with the same compassion and dignity I expressed during my time at 9-1-1. I strive for top-notch customer service in EVERY interaction and I have received fantastic feedback from my clients. I have LOVED my transition to this new and exciting industry, and I cannot wait to see where the future takes me! Thank you for sticking with me through this story, it turned out longer than I anticipated! I appreciate the incredible support I have received from my family and friends and I hope you all will remember me, should you have any mortgage needs in the future!