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Journey to a fulfilling career ends with Green River carpentry

Moore builds a deck with her class.

Jessica Moore had invested more than a decade in her successful career at a high-tech software company when it dawned on her that she was not happy. The challenge was gone, and her tolerance for the fluorescent lighting and cubicle atmosphere of the corporate environment had diminished long ago.

Moore decided to risk a career change after her cousin's sudden and serious cancer diagnosis. "I spent time talking with [my cousin] and she told me to live my life and take risks, because it can be over so quickly." Moore explained, "She is so close to me in age - it was an eye-opener. I started thinking about my happiness and what I wanted to do."

Hours of career research, informational interviews and fact gathering led Moore to Green River College's carpentry program. Moore quickly found that her detail-oriented, multi-tasking skill set transferred perfectly into the carpentry industry.

 "I knew I wanted to be working with my hands, making things. I had spent so much time working with intangible things; I needed hard proof of my work." Moore explained, "When I build or remodel something, I see and I feel that I can make something. It gives meaning to waking up."  

Needless to say, Moore is a nontraditional college student. She's a single mother of a 16-year-old son. She is woman in an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry. She is starting a brand-new career at 42 years old.

Now in her third quarter of classes, Moore and her son do their homework together at the kitchen table. The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties awarded her a $2,500 scholarship to continue her studies next year.

Moore has two quarters left to complete her education and already works for a carpentry company as a project manager. "My new career is better than I expected. When I come home for the day, I feel good about myself."