Today, we’re shining a spotlight on Aspen alumnus, Angie Jackson, who returned to school to help her find fulfillment. Along the way, Angie faced career challenges and gained perspective. Here is Angie’s story.
“I took a long detour on my career path, and I am working hard to get back on track. The job that I held for seven years did not align with my personal and professional goals. I stayed too long at one company and let loyalty prevent me from reaching my full potential. I was afraid to leave, but I felt unfulfilled. I was eager to learn new things and expand my skillset, and I knew that a master’s degree would be the perfect way to do that.
I’d previously worked in a systems development role creating web-based courses using multimedia software. I thrived in this challenging role that provided me with a creative outlet. Unfortunately, the department was dissolved due to lack of funding. I chose to stay with the company regardless of where they placed me. That’s when I became an analyst. At the time I started my journey with Aspen University, in January of 2017, I was working a logistics analyst for a defense contractor, analyzing data and creating reports. While I was able to manage these reports successfully, I sometimes struggled in this role and didn’t feel fulfilled.
I volunteered to work on design projects that provided a refreshing break from my regular routine. I created graphics for proposals and managed the quarterly employee newsletter. The company recognized my contributions. I was asked to redesign their website and I became a member of a new Marketing & Communications Committee. I appreciated the professional development and networking. I collaborated with the human resources department to create an employee intranet. I gained valuable experiences and opportunities for growth.
This sparked my desire for a full-time position in web design and development. I was hoping to be placed in the IT department with a new title, but my request was declined. I finally came to the realization that I was at a dead-end, stagnating. So, while I was still studying for my degree and working as an analyst, I began searching for another job.
In October 2019, I was offered a developer position with a small software solutions company. I believe the degree helped me get hired, even though I was only halfway through the master’s program. It is important to show your commitment and drive to succeed. I was willing to put in the time and I had a plan to advance my career. The position was very challenging – I learned valuable technical skills on-the-job while finishing my coursework with Aspen University.
Unfortunately, nine months after earning my degree, I was laid off, “due to reduced and lost available work.” Being let go was a setback for sure and I was devastated at first. On a positive note, going through an ordeal like this can provide you with a fresh start. Never stop learning. Each experience can teach us something valuable. Transitions are certainly a risk, but I believe in the effort – a stepping stone towards a more rewarding future. Along with a diverse skill set, you get personal growth. I have had time to reflect on my goals and I plan to be more proactive when making decisions. As I move forward, I look for opportunities for a more fulfilling career.”