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Another chance at school and employment

Signs for a job fair.

Steve Chiotakis: A couple of months ago, commentator Cecilia Marquez described what it was like to get her first paycheck.

The experience, though, didn't last long.

So we called her this week to get an update. Hi Cecilia.

Cecilia Marquez: Hi Steve.

Chiotakis: So in your commentary, we learned that you left school early to take a job as a sales and marketing director, right, at this fine jewelry company? Take us back to that time and tell us how you made that decision.

Marquez: Well, I knew that, you know, a lot of people were having trouble finding a job and I didn't have any really concrete job prospects lined up after I graduated, and so when this opportunity came my way, I felt a lot of pressure to kind of get my future more nailed down.

Chiotakis: How far were you from graduating, Cecilia?

Marquez: Two classes.

Chiotakis: Oh wow.

Marquez: So close.

Chiotakis: And you took the job.

Marquez: I took the job. I worked there for about three and a half months.

Chiotakis: And then what happened?

Marquez: They did layoffs right after Christmas. They weren't financially stable.

Chiotakis: How did you come to terms with that?

Marquez: You know, I was of course shocked and angry. But at the same time, I felt relieved because I had really struggled with my decision all throughout those three months of working there. I had a lot of mixed feelings about not having finished school. So it ended up kind of being, I don't know, fortunate for me. I got laid off the day before the first day of classes in the spring semester.

Chiotakis: Wow.

Marquez: So I was able to run to my university and get registered all in one day.

Chiotakis: Wait, wait -- you lost your job and then that same day you registered at college?

Marquez: That same day.

Chiotakis: Are you still in school?

Marquez: I just finished my semester. I've got one more summer class.

Chiotakis: And so you will be done with college at the end of the summer?

Marquez: Right, I'll be finished.

Chiotakis: Wow. Where do you see your career going in the next few years?

Marquez: Right before final exams, I got offered a job as a manager and a buyer at this independent men's store here in town, and it was kind of amazing timing.

Chiotakis: This is what you want to do, right?

Marquez: It is what I want to do, yeah. I eventually want to have my own store, so this buying and managing position is like the exact experience that I need, and so it's amazing how everything worked out.

Chiotakis: You got to go back to school, you got this great job that you feel like is sort of made for you. How do you feel about that risk you took, that initial risk that you took to leave school and go work at the jewelry company?

Marquez: I think that it was important for me. I learned a lot. I don't regret it, even though, you know, it didn't work out and it was sort of a negative experience. I've had the experience of being unemployed, and it doesn't intimidate me anymore. I think overall, I am very grateful that I had that experience.

Chiotakis: Congratulations on the new job, and we're going to keep our fingers crossed that in just a few months, you'll have that degree. Cecilia Marquez, thanks for joining us.

Marquez: Thanks Steve.

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