By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS)– CBS 2 is Working For Chicago, bringing you stories of people pivoting careers during the pandemic.

In this case, we want to introduce you to Alex Rodriquez who lost his job and was able to reinvent himself by finding a whole new career.

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Pre-pandemic, servers at O’Hare International Airport could always count on a steady flow of customers..
For Rodriguez, it was a lucrative career with some added perks, like the chance to wait on George Lopez.

But then, the pandemic hit.

“Pretty much everyone lost their jobs,” Rodriguez said.

At first Rodiguez and many of his co-workers waited it out

“We thought it was going to be one or two months, and that was it,” He said.

But as the pandemic grew, so did his concerns. How would he provide for his family, his wife and young son and his elderly parents, all under his roof?

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“I was like I have got to do something, so I had gone on social media and asked for ideas of certain jobs that anyone could recommend or anything that they could think of that could help me launch a new career, which I did,” He said.

Comments poured in and ultimately Rodriguez decided he’d get his mortgage and real estate licenses using the Real Estate Institute online course program.

“Four weeks, or so, a couple hours a day, so I would say that it took me about a month and a half or two months before I was actually working,” He said.

Now he is all set up in his home office, hired and working full time for Interfirst, a growing mortgage company, in Rosemont. He’s also training with a real estate agency and working to get his first listing.

“There’s many family members who have told me that they’re proud of me that that just like that you know, a pandemic happens and I’ve completely changed career paths, two paths,” He said. “A lot of people say you have to adapt with these kinds of situations and that’s what I had to do because I couldn’t sit around much longer, not knowing what the future was going to bring.”

Alex says his big advice for those looking for a new career is ask for help and reach out to friends, family and your community.

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A career change doesn’t have to take years of training. In fact, if mortgages interest you, his company Interfirst is expanding and looking for additional employees.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff