My Story: Patrick Wolocko
I switched majors a few times while in college. I first started in engineering, then tried information technology and finally ended in construction management. While completing my construction management degree, I decided to get a minor in industrial safety. I was trying to figure out what minor went well with my major. After talking with a few advisors and faculty, I came to the conclusion that the industrial safety minor was the best fit.
In 2012, I graduated with a degree in construction management and a minor in industrial safety, and then began a long job search. I had a couple opportunities pop up, but they never led to anything. Many of the jobs posted wanted someone with experience, which I had very little of.
I was working in the medical records department of a hospital after graduating and looking for a job in my field. I tried to wriggle my way into part of the safety department in the hospital as a part-timer. The furthest I got was on the safety committee that met once a month. After six months of not finding a job or any new leads, I decided to upgrade my safety minor into a degree. I started taking classes to obtain a degree in occupational safety and health while working full time. About nine months later, I landed a health, safety and environmental internship with an automotive manufacturing supplier. I stayed there for a little more than a year and then got a job as a regional safety coordinator for a construction company. However, I still had another year to go until I finished my degree in OSH.
During my first year with this company, I became a first aid/CPR instructor. I started instructing classes for our workers late in the fall of 2015. In February 2016, I got a text message from one of my workers I trained. He was thanking me for doing the training because his 2-year-old son had started choking and he knew exactly what to do because of the training he received. It meant a lot to me that he reached out to let me know that he knew what to do because of what I taught him. Before that moment, I enjoyed my job and I genuinely liked caring for people and wanting to see them go home. After that text message, it hit me that I really make a big impact in not only the workers’ lives, but the lives of their family members and friends.
The long, tough journey it took me to get to this point in my life was well worth it, knowing that I am making a difference in people’s lives.