Nerdy Cat Scuba Travels

A Cat Lovin' Engineer taking a career break by traveling, doing a divemaster internship, and diving around the world

Tag: career break

Takeaways from the Divemaster Program

divemaster celebration cakeWow. There are so many things that I want to say that I don’t know where to start.

First, the divemaster program was completely the opposite of what I expected. I imagined myself having tons of time for myself, doing yoga, discover iceland, everything except for Diving. (haha) Other PADI programs like advanced Open water, Deep Diver, and Rescue focus on your own development and improvement on diving.

The divemaster course is a big transition from being that vacationer diver to a full time diver that takes cares of others. Yes- you can still enjoy a dive and point out cute little crabs, but its not the main focus of the dive anymore. Instead, you are to focus on helping other divers, give them guidance, and if necessary, save their life. I guess I wasn’t prepared for that BIG transition.

During my three months in Iceland, I was able to dive for fun and dive for work. My fun dives brought back the relaxation and fun in diving. My work dives made me a better leader and stronger person.

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Goodbye Engineering – Hello World

I’ve been working since I was about 14 years old. My first job was working for my friend’s mom at one of those Thai Food places at Festivals. During high school, I folded clothes and talked people into buying denim at the Gap.  When I got to college I worked a variety of jobs- internship at Raytheon, a grader, and teacher’s assistant (TA) for engineering classes.  Once I graduated with a B.S. Electrical Engineering, I got a real paying job in Engineering.

I got into this habit of working really hard, then taking a crazy vacation. Work Hard. Take a Break. Repeat. in 2014, I worked 7 months straight (7 days a week) with a total of 3 days off.  My team had an important job to do by a deadline; so everyone worked everyday until we delivered the product. I bonded with all my team mates, but I felt the disappearance of my personal life. What happened? When did life turn into only work? After three long years without a proper vacation, I took 7 weeks off of work to go to my friend’s wedding in Thailand and unwind.  It was great. I set goals and told myself I wouldn’t get into the same habit.

In 2015, I felt myself drifting into the same habit. I wanted to be different, but I couldn’t stop dedicating my life to my work. I needed to put the same amount of effort in my personal life as I have been at all my jobs.

Personal Leave of Absence – A Sabbatical

I don’t think any of my managers were happy to let me leave, but they all understood. I have been a “Far Exceeds Expectations” type of gal. But I told the truth and said I wanted a break and needed to pursue my personal life. I met someone while in Thailand back in 2014 and fell in love. I wanted a chance to see what life would be like without the pressures of work.

Logistics

It’s not easy to leave your life behind. I have a great apartment in Santa Monica. I have a rental townhouse in San Diego. I’ve been a cat mommy for 16 years. I have a car, I’m a hoarder.  The list goes on and on.

Here’s what I did…I spent a month de-hoarding and donating all my stuff to salvation army.  I vacuum sealed any clothes I would need the next year and boxed up other important documents and stuff that I didn’t want stolen. I filled my garage with boxes of anything personal from my apartment.  I called my landlord and told her I needed to leave but would like the chance to come back. Being the nice lady she is, she let me sublet my apartment. That saved me about $200 a month in storage costs.  Coincidentally a swimmer friend was looking for a place at the same time so he agreed to sign a sublease with me and my landlord.

Next I spent about 2 weeks searching for someone that would watch my cat, Jade.  My close friend in San Diego volunteered her spacious house for Jade. I spent the next two weekends at her house with Jade making sure the cat was ok with her temporary accommodations.

Everything was hard to do, but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could see the freedom of doing whatever I wanted. Jade would understand, mommy needed a break. My family would understand. Friends were excited for me. Let’s DO THIS.