Photo: Doc Jarnagin/TSM

For those out there who have been forced to make dramatic life and career changes in your late 40's or beyond, I write this for you. No one needs to tell me how scary and uncertain this situation can be. I have been there. This is the first part of a series I will share with you about a journey I went on about a year and a half ago. I had no idea the impact it would have on me. While I could have gone without the fear and despair I felt at the beginning, I would not trade it for anything. This journey was a game changer for me and I hope that my story can inspire those who are going through the same.

2016 will go down as one of the most important years of my life. In January of last year, I left a 30-plus year career in radio. For the first time in my life the slate was clean. I wanted to be in radio when I was in Junior High, so the slate back then was filled with radio ambitions. But in early 2016, I had choices I never had before. My goal at that time was to pursue a career in Voice Over. It still is. I like to work behind the microphone. A Voice Over talent is one that voices commercials, videos, business presentations, e-learning modules, or anything a business needs to help sell their product. This is not an easy business to get into and the process is long and arduous. Needless to say, the effort was there, but the pay wasn't. I had to do something on the side to make ends meet.

I remember sitting in my office/studio at home and staring at the wall. What else can I do? I am the kind of person who enjoys working when it isn't work. I need to have a passion for the business or I'm not interested.

As I'm staring at the wall, I go over in my mind the things that I love. One of them is travel. I love aircraft, airports, and going places.

I do a search online for these things and found a few opportunities. Boom! I found a help wanted ad for flight attendant! I can do that! I would love that! I submitted my resume and cover letter that day. Less than a week later, I got a response saying that I had another step to go through: an online interview. It was an automated video interview where the questions were asked on the screen and I would have to use my computer camera to answer. Once the question was asked, I had an allotted time to respond. It was like 90 seconds. There was no opportunity for a re-do. The e-mail also said to dress for the occasion. So, there I am, in my basement office/studio, with a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie....and wearing boxer shorts. They can't see me from the waist down, so why not! I thought I did okay. I wasn't sure if my answers were perfect, but I knew my passion for flying was there. I thought I had a chance. It took a day or two, but the answer was "no".

There were other flight attendant jobs that I responded to. One of the airlines said "no" because I have a tattoo on my calf. I guess I should have lied about that. Another ad was for a ramp agent opening at an airline that I fly constantly. I submitted and forgot about it. Then one day, I got the call. They wanted me to show up for an interview in Denver. With the Voice Over career still struggling, and nothing else going on, I went for it.

At the time, I was 48 years old. A career in radio isn't the most physically demanding job. I once broke a sweat in the studio because the air conditioning didn't work. I complained about it. Man, I had no idea what I was getting into.

(Part 2 coming soon!)