Hey guys, I'll keep the personal bit short, but basically, last year I was studying a diploma of networking at TAFE with a CCNA tacked on to it. I really do hate blowing my own trumpet, but basically, I was pretty much kickass at what I did, and I loved doing it. I was roughly in the top 5-10% of the course, which had about 110 people in it at the start, and stayed there for months. Until I got sick. I caught a very nasty case of gastro, and I was off for nearly 3 solid weeks. Never had anything like it. And when your timetable is so fucked that you're doing pretty much 90 to 100 hour weeks all fucking year, that was a hell of a lot of time off. (I like to think I know what full-time work is like now. ) From that point on, there was nowhere to go but down. I was doing 19 hours a day, 5 days a week, didn't matter. By the end of it, I was tired, burnt out, I was never able to catch up again. I would have re-enrolled in the course again, because I didn't have *that* much left to do, maybe like 100-120 hours tops and that's if I'm taking my time and being cruisy about it. Sadly, the course has been discontinued with no direct replacement for miles. So I'm stuck with a diploma that's about 90% complete but still completely useless, and a 70%ish done CCNA R&S that's now just as useless due to the CCNA content also changing. Anyway! I'm in a bit of an awkward position, as you can probably tell. My overarching goal is to, one day, become a (perhaps stereotypical) network engineer. Failing that, infosec is pretty fascinating to me. Failing that, sysadmin. Failing that, professional photographer? In any case, at least one of these are all things I see myself doing in 5 years time and I can see myself loving any just about as much, although networking has a slight edge for me. Speaking of awkward positions, I find myself in the other awkward position of being an unemployed bystander in the I.T. industry who's on the outside looking in, trying to peek through the window and catch a glimpse of what the big boys are doing, and trying desperately to find the door, so I can get in on some of that. Which leads me to my question... when I'm basically a clean slate as far as the industry (and my resume) is concerned, what the hell does the industry want from me? How do I make myself employable? I understand a CCNA is a pretty good place to start, but what else? I've applied for more positions than I can remember, ranging from helpdesk to junior engineer (for shits and giggles mostly, I have my head screwed on just enough to know that no one walks in off the street into an 60k+ engineer job, but it was mainly an exercise of sheer curiosity), had 3 interviews, 3 unpaid work experience gigs which while grateful for, when I'm finding myself fixing old computers that people use as monitor stands, taught me fucking nothing apart from free labor's pretty cool I guess, as long as you're not the one doing it. Again, grateful for the reference, but I would rather clean toilets than fix 8 year old Dell Optiplex pieces of shit that are worth less than my shirt. So... where to from here? A half done diploma that I can't redo, a half done CCNA that I have to redo, 60+ job applications, 0 callbacks, dozens of contacts, 3 interviews, one of which was "oh you have the technical knowledge, we just need someone with more customer service experience" (level 1 helpdesk), and way more time spent unemployed than "reasonable"... I can't help feeling like I'm going at this the wrong way. Any ideas, rants, leads, openings, whatever you may have to suggest, I'm here to listen. Thanks guys. Sorry for the length of this rant!