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Is it a waste for me to try to get into the industry?

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I'm a former Navy MM.  It has been 3 years since exiting during which time I spent on a petroleum engineering degree that I discontinued after two years and transferred to a community college to start a Process Technology AAS and Instrumentation Technology Cert; one year left to complete those.  I also used my core engineering classes and Navy experience to transfer to the NET degree at Excelsior (83% complete, but haven't had time to actually take any classes there yet).  After having a work history typical of a full-time college student (unskilled, irrelevant, part-time jobs), I went to part-time student status and was able to get a boiler fireman position at very modern coal plant, which I've had since November.
So, those are the good things.  By random chance, I found out about entry-level positions on the civilian side of nuclear and that companies like Exelon have entire training programs for which they will hire multiple people at a time.  I never thought I would consider trying to enter the nuclear field because of how much I disliked my time in the Navy as well as my belief that I would be very uncompetitive.  The reason for the latter being:
In the Navy, I only made it to 5 years due to an integrity violation.  The time that I was in, I was not interested in being a top-performer because I had no interest in advancing my career and definitely was not going to be coaxed into reenlisting, no matter how big that bonus was.  Granted, I got all the qualifications completed.  But once I did, I just sort of coasted, not working too hard, but not avoid work either.  I had a short-term outlook on life due to personal issues.  I would like to say that I utilized my time after the Navy to strengthen my ambition, but my current job at the coal plant has no place to spend that ambition on.  The plant is so automated, that even the control room operator barely does anything.  The way I see it, the best way to show you care in these types of industries is showcasing your desire to save money.  However, cost awareness is not respected or acknowledged here because the plant is owned by a university and the plant's financial demand will always be fulfilled, much like the Navy.
I mention these factors about my work because most companies utilize behavioral-based interview questions.  Regardless of how much I practice for the interview, my interview game will be weak relative to other candidates (only made worse by anxiety).  So before I even allow myself to potentially get rejected at that stage, I'm calling upon this community to see if my past will be a big hurdle in the hiring process.

There are former Navy folks getting into commercial nuclear power with great regularity who didn't get the boot for integrity violations. Further, you don't exactly sell yourself as a ball of fire. Forty years ago one could get into the business as long as one had a pulse; it's not that way today. While I know better than to ever say "never," I wouldn't get your hopes up.


--- Quote from: atmetal on Aug 24, 2020, 05:22 --- I'm calling upon this community to see if my past will be a big hurdle in the hiring process.

--- End quote ---
Yes it will. Pair that with the pending wave of plant closures that will flood the industry with a metric buttload of highly qualified and capable personnel, nuclear more than likely aint happening. Start with an attitude adjustment and then use your Navy experience to seek employment external of fission world. An operator of a small coal plant at a university actually sounds like a pretty good gig ! Good luck.

I fully agree with Imaginos and fiveeleven on this as well. While it's not totally impossible for you, it's definitely an uphill battle for sure. Generally, getting into any kind of documented trouble in the military (especially trouble that affects or initiates a discharge of any kind) will hurt your job application and/or ability to get site UA/UAA. And the utility absolutely will check and verify everything in that regard. Given that your particular military trouble is integrity-related, I wouldn't fancy your odds. There are too many ex-Navy nuke and former employees at other plants in the market looking for work who have strong track records, don't have past black marks like that, and have very legitimate skills to offer.

In addition, you don't sound like you've really got the personality or attitude to be successful in this industry. It's super regulated, procedure-driven, and not the best place to be an ambitious mover and shaker on how things are run. Look for another industry if you really want to do that kind of stuff.

I don't think so actually, in a year or two you will get used to it. However it's really a difficult process.


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