No. Military transition and career transition are not the same thing. It may sound obvious, but you wouldn't know it from the protocols used to execute what passes for military transition today. To prove my point, ask yourself this question: How do most service members define a successful transition? I would submit that it has something - if not everything - to do with landing a job. Unfortunately, military transition isn't about employment. It is about uncovering your identity from under the uniform so you can step confidently into the next chapter of your lifeRead More
Disconnection from the military culture is the hardest part of transition. Likewise, connecting with a new culture in civilian society is the hardest part of reintegration. Social connection is one of our core psychological needs. According to Brene Brown, it is the reason why we are here. Culture matters. Regarding the challenge of reconnecting with society, it's called a civil-military cultural gap for a reason. So much of the urgency surrounding how to find a new job hovers around the idea of finding the right fit in a new tribe, but what does that mean? How can you assess the culture of an organization, and more importantly, how do you determine the right fit for you?
In this part 1 of 5 series, I’ll help you to better understand (1) the factors that inform the culture of an organization and (2) the strategies on how to assess whether or not a particular culture is the right fit for you.Read More
Let's be honest. The reasons for hiring veterans has become . . . cliche. You've read the same article or listened to the same pitch before. The usual justifications typically involve some combination of the words leadership, teamwork, performance under pressure, integrity, accountability, adaptability . . . and the list goes on. It's time to change the dynamics of post-military employment and veteran utilization across the corporate landscape.Read More
I know you've asked yourself this question at least once during your journey through the military. You might have asked it each time that you received orders for a new duty assignment. Maybe you are asking yourself this question now as you consider uprooting your family for either an unattractive duty location or the prospect of another deployment. So, how do you know when the time is right to remove your body armor, unlace your boots, and remove the uniform that shaped your identity for the last decade or so?Read More
When it comes to the value of hiring senior military leaders, we've lost the narrative. Employers, hiring managers, and recruiters try to fit someone with 20 or more years of service into a 10 or less years of service box. When we consider these leaders for positions commensurate with the level of authority and responsibility they enjoyed through the military, we retreat to the usual excuses hidden in the civil-military cultural divide. But, what if these assessments are wrong?Read More
Thank you for your service. You've had an impressive career . . . but you're not what we're looking for.
Sound familiar? I've heard that before, and if you're a senior leader, perhaps you've heard it too. Interestingly enough, I didn't hear it when I left the army as a junior captain. I remember attending only one hiring conference about three months before my separation date. From that one event, I had eleven follow-up interviews that landed six job offers! Three of the six offers had compensation packages that exceeded what I was making in the army. Finding a job as a junior officer was easy. But this was not the case when I left the army for a second time after more than 20 years of service. So why does this happen?Read More
When I wore the uniform, no date on the calendar had more meaning for me than the Fourth of July. I was inspired by the courage of colonial settlers who risked everything for the hope of a better life. They founded a new nation on the belief that we were born to be free. Ordinary citizens became the first soldiers to fight for that belief. We celebrate them as heroes in the birth of our nation, and for the next 242 years, soldiers have deployed to far away lands and dangerous places to protect and defend that belief. I may no longer wear the uniform, but I still feel that sense of connection to soldiers past and present.Read More
Do you remember the first time you saw yourself as a leader? Maybe it was through sports or a similar activity from high school. Maybe you assumed a leadership role in your family or community. Perhaps it happened before you were even a teenager. You hardly noticed it because it didn’t really require you to do much of anything. You were just being yourself. Others were drawn to your energy. People were inclined to follow you. Through your leadership, you discovered a genuine passion to serve others. You believed that you could make a difference, so you did.Read More
I recently celebrated my 47th birthday, a rather unremarkable milestone. With each passing year, it becomes harder to convince myself that I am on the windward side of middle age. These occasions have become more of a time for reflection than celebration. Birthdays are the time of year when I assess how I am progressing along the journey of life. I typically include familiar metrics like wealth and status in my assessment, but this year was different…Read More
This question - or versions of this question - represents the number one thing I am asked by military leaders in the transition process. I think am asked this question so often because I demonstrated what not to do. I am that guy - I had 8 jobs over the course of 3 years. Future veterans don't want to repeat my mistakes, but I'll have you know that I am not alone!Read More
I remember what it felt like to get that last stamp on my clearing papers. After more than two decades of service, the subtlety of that final act seemed somewhat anticlimactic, but I was finished! The day that seemed so elusive for so long had finally arrived. I was overcome with a sense of accomplishment and nostalgia. Like you, I had my fair share of difficult days, but I was grateful for the fond memories and the wonderful people I met through the military. I couldn't contain my smile as I walked proudly out of the personnel processing center for the last time.Read More
Your intentions matter. At the point of greatest uncertainty and fear, you decide how you will focus your actions and apply your energy. Regardless of how desperate the circumstances may seem in the moment, you have the power to set your intentions for the future. If you ignore or neglect the potential of this power, you have still made a choice. You simply default to the mercy of your situation. You become a victim of circumstance. Inevitably, you wind up lowering your expectations and settle for less. Whether you are trying to solve the problem of re-entry back into earth's atmosphere or re-entry back into civilian society, your intentions are everything.Read More
I have a unique perspective on military transition. I did twice. I also did it poorly, twice. The first time I left the military as a junior captain. I put my faith in a junior officer recruiting company to find the best job opportunity. By "best" I meant the option with the most prestigious title and highest paying salary. They did. Unfortunately, it was the wrong job for me, and within a year of my separation, I was miserable. To make matters worse, I was laid off when the tech bubble burst. It was a total disaster. My second transition was my retirement after 21 years of military service. Once again, I ended up in the wrong job. Once again, I was unemployed. Once again, I was miserable.Read More