Birmingham man loses job in pandemic, finds joy in new career field

B'ham man switches careers after losing job in pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The latest job report shows hundreds of thousands of Americans filed for first time unemployment benefits last week. The pandemic has created lots of unexpected changes for families - including one Birmingham man who lost his job in the food service industry, but he’s found joy in a new job field.

As a little boy in Russia, Stanislav Petrov had big dreams.

“Everybody wants to be a doctor. I wanted to be an Orthopedic surgeon,” said Stanislav Petrov.

After coming to the U.S. on a Green Card, he hit the books studying Biology and Chemistry at UAB - working part-time as a bartender. That side hustle opened the door for full time gigs by the time he graduated. Eventually working his way up to Assistant Manager at a restaurant.

“I was already working in the restaurant business and it was a natural transition with my experience in Biology. Understanding pathogens and making sure we keep everybody healthy as we try to feed them,” said Petrov.

He worked 12 years in the food service industry and then life threw an unexpected, unimaginable curveball. The pandemic temporarily shut down his restaurant and like millions of people across the country; he was out of work.

“I was dipping into my savings and I needed to find something to do. The natural thing was, I have a degree. Let’s see what I can do with my degree,” said Petrov.

But that degree didn’t take him on a path towards eventually opening a medical practice. Instead it took him on a path to open young minds. Petrov started teaching 6th grade science at Smith Middle School in August. A twist in life he never saw coming, but a change that’s brought joy during a difficult time.

“I never saw myself in the classroom until the pandemic hit and everything kind of fell in place,” said Petrov, “I’m really enjoying this and educating little ones.”

He says he plans to stick with teaching for now because he’s enjoying it. He’s even pursing a Master’s in Education at UAB in the fall.

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