Posted on Feb 10, 2015
SPC Senior Analyst
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It occurs to me that RP is a wonderful resource, not only for getting advice about life while an SM, but also for easing into the civilian sector. There are avenues for job placement and job searching of veteran friendly corporations; both valuable - to a degree.

A wise man once said to me, "You want to know how to be successful at something? Talk to someone who has already done what you're trying to do."

Simplicity itself. Great advice.

So, to my V and R brethren (and sistren (?)), share your story about how you successfully transitioned from the military life back to The World. There are, I know, countless ways to do it, but I believe that sharing our stories will not only provide guidance and encouragement to anyone about to ETS or retire, but might also shed light on a transitional time in life when the stress factor is at its highest.

I'll try to keep my story short and to the point.

I ETS'd as an E-4 (Specialist) and a 63T...I'm fairly certain that MOS doesn't even exist under that name anymore. I was a BFV Systems Mechanic (Hull) - a grease monkey. I loved that job. Taking broken things and making them work again was immediate gratification. And, at the risk of sounding immodest, I was damn good at it.

Fast forward to ETS time. I got out (honorably), moved to NC, and had not a bit of trouble finding a civilian employer that could use my skills. I continued in that profession for about 5 years. Once, after a particularly hot day (105°), and having burned my forearms on another exhaust manifold and scraped my knuckles for the billionth time, I said to myself, "Self, I don't want to be doing this job when I'm 50."

It was then I decided to go back to school.

I had (Thank God) opted for the GI Bill instead of a signing bonus at the time of my enlistment, and had that option in my back pocket. I went to school full time and worked part time (at the same shop) and within a year, had a diploma in hand and began job hunting in the computer field - this was the late 90's - early 2000's.

Fast forward again, 15 years and I'm with the same company still, making an upper five figure income, and have continued to grow and be challenged each day in my duties.

For me, the difference was the GI Bill. I would never have been able to come up with the 10K my schooling cost if it had not been for that benefit. God only knows where I'd be now had I not had it.

Push yourself in everything you do, avail yourself of every single opportunity that presents itself, and always look for a way to say, "Yes" rather than "No". Nothing was ever handed to me - I worked damn hard to get where I am today, but if I can do it, so can anyone else who finds themselves ending one chapter of their life and beginning another.
Edited 5 y ago
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CAPT Kevin B.
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Interesting path. I got pushed off active due to a 13% promotion opportunity and DOPMA. The wanted me back as a civilian so I did that and Reserves. Good times and some heartbreaks on both sides but came out of the dryer not too wrinkled or threadbare. Ultimately wound up an O-6 and GS-15 so the choices and paths I took worked out.

Interesting transition while unemployed for 4 months. Needed surgery, no insurance, so went VA. Wound up getting carved on by the Dean of Urology at UCLA at VA Sepulveda. That place is long gone but that's where I truly saw the dead come to life every Tuesday night for Bingo.
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