I started 3D design with Maya, and had been using Maya for 4 years before starting out with blender. I switched to blender at the time where my student licens for Maya was expired, and I now had the chance to either pay for Maya, or start using some other software, where Cinema 4D and blender was comming to my mind. My friends was using Cinema 4D so that was of cause a good reason to go with the crowd. But then I saw blender was free, and that I could just download it, and try it out for free before I took the final decision. And boy I was not dissapointed.
I should state, that I am using blender with the Maya controls, because they come natural to me, and I hated the blender controls. This helped me get into blender faster, because I already knew most of the shortcuts and controls. Blender suddently wasn't that far from Maya.
Now I have been using Blender for a year and a half, and I work as a 3D designer at a pot/vases/other plant decorations production company based here in Denmark. And I actually choose the job, because they gave me the chance to choose whatever 3D software I wanted to use. So, now I can proudly say that I am using blender professionally, and hopefully will many years from now.