Another Stepping Stone…

How I Got My Summer Job

My college has strong ties to alumni and their employers. We have recruiters come in at least once a month, often more frequently, to present what their companies do and interview for openings for technicians. Its a valuable resource.

I was sweating about the upcoming summer. (That says a lot in Minnesota!) I knew I had a big tuition bill to cover for the Fall semester. The previous summer had been my first semester at school, but the faculty was cut back and the number of credits any student could take were severely limited to 5, which made the summer semester seem pretty futile.

The great thing about my school, specifically the NDT program, is it is self-directed. If I want to work a 40-hour week and take a 2 credit NDT class each semester, I am able. My goal since day one has been to get in, get it done and get a job.

Lots of students take time to work at an internship. Not only does it give great hands-on experience, the pay is usually much better than working a minimum wage job.

I created my resume and started meeting with employers.

I realize that I do not look like the average applicant when I compare myself to the other students in the NDT lab, but it doesn’t mean I have the same vision of myself that others do.

We watched Company A present in the auditorium and one of their divisions provides Rope Access Inspection. These inspectors dangle from ropes in harnesses while inspecting under deep sea oil rigs or the inside of large holding tanks. To me, it looked like a lot of fun, so when I met with the recruiter I started with, “I would really like to do rope access.”

“I’ll hire a young guy to do that before I hire you.”





I was shocked, but said nothing. He kept reading my resume. “That being said, there aren’t many guys out there who can string together a decent sentence or two.” He had spotted my MFA in Poetry on my CV.

We continued talking about my previous experience. How did I land in MN? specifically in NDT? I told him how I had to re-do my house in CT without resources, but hung out at Home Depot and watched YouTube videos to learn how to change outlets, sockets, even replace a toilet.

He seemed impressed. We parted ways and I went to my apartment and changed into running gear to go for a jog.

I was on that run when a girlfriend from the lab called, “Cat! The recruiter is asking for you! Get back here.”

I ran to my car, jumped in and returned to school.

“How would you like to work on quality reports for us this summer? We have an opening in our TX office.”

My answer was as blunt as his original.

“If you put me in a cubicle for 8 hours, you might as well stick needles in my eyes,” I didn’t come to tech school to work on spreadsheets; I want to work with my hands and interact with others. He was upfront with me, so I figured I could be honest in return.

We kept talking. The following week new representatives from his company came to school. They have branches all over the world, and I had met a few of them earlier at the ASNT convention in Nashville.

The national recruiter asked to join me at lunch. Then, he introduced me to one of the recruiters that was visiting from TX.

Ultimately, we worked out a compromise. If I read some reports they would make sure I also got time in the field. Not only did they make me an offer, the COO explained that he company owned two condos and could provide housing for the summer. All I had to do was drive to Texas from MN.

I was inching across that river, one rock at a time. Little did I know, but the next step would rock a little before settling under my weight.

By Catstrav

Reindeer handler. NDT tech. Mother of four. Aspiring astronaut.