Ruth from Oak Hill,Virginia

Being a stay-at-home mom with my son and daughter was important and enjoyable, but it was time to send them off to preschool and kindergarten.  Moving from Pennsylvania to Northern Virginia during their early years, it was difficult to become a part of this very transient, high-powered culture just outside of Washington, DC. Formerly, for a major retailer I worked in finance, but the atmosphere here differed, and I felt uncomfortable with my skills.
 
I began volunteering for many school and community activities, feeling I had little to offer to area employers.  I found volunteer work in the school library to be very rewarding, learning about the Dewey Decimal system and learning far more about filing, ordering and handling children in a library than imaginable.
 
One sunny, crisp October day, a note innocently came home in my daughter's book bag seeking part-time help in the school's library, which sparked my interest.  Hmm. could I work during school hours, easily get the kids to school in the morning and be home to meet the bus at the end of the day, with no stress, and actually get paid?  What more could I ask for! 
 
I hadn't interviewed for many years and questioned whether anyone would be interested in hiring me.  I decided to go for it and I was called in for an interview two days later.  Several days passed, the school principal called, and I got the job!   
 
I worked there until my children reached their early teens, expanding my role in the community and making many important contacts.  As far as my husband and children were concerned, I wasn't a working Mom, since I was at home both before and after school for them.  It was the best of both worlds.
 
I loved learning the about the library, personally taking it from an antiquated card-catalog system to bar coding the entire library and outfitting it with computers, printers and laser pen inventory/checkout! I trained countless parent volunteers, became an expert on Caldecott and
Newbery awards, and could recommend 'today's hottest picks'. 
 
During my tenure, I took outside computer and networking classes and expanding my knowledge of computers and library science. The possibilities were endless!
 
It was rewarding to see my children now and then during the day and the interaction between the school children, teachers, and volunteers was
priceless.  I began to volunteer with the school's business partner on several activities. They are a very large IT firm in this area.  Working with them was a great confidence booster and it was a nice mix for me to be with the children and with professionals. After nine years in the library, lo and behold, another 'book bag note' came home.  The IT firm needed a part-time person in administration.  I interviewed, and landed the job, working for both the school and in IT for several months (they're only a mile apart).  In three months, I was offered a full-time position with an expanded role.  I was ready for full-time, but it was difficult to leave the school library and the friendships formed, however, I decided to accept.
 
I worked hard to prove myself and as a result I became the IT firms' Director of Community Affairs/Public Relations.  I was managing the corporate contributions budget, working with area non-profits, organizing thousands of employees in volunteer projects, and monitoring a myriad of projects in the community, including being a liaison to the same school I just left.  This opportunity allowed me to work closely with the firms' Vice President many senior executives.
 
My fears of speaking in public and meeting new people were now gone.  I had a new sense of confidence and importance. I even returned to school for completion of my college degree!  With my confidence level raised, and nearly ten years in IT, I moved on to manage a large group of employees at a major ISP/Media giant in Dulles, VA!  And to think. it all started in a library!
 
Note:  My family is happy, and the friendships forged from the library to the position I have today remained solid. and that's the most important thing of all!