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Old 12-06-2011, 04:06 PM   #41
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Yep, I'm one of those dinosaurs who took the Strategy course at the Crystal City hotel. At that time (1989) it was still being taught by Stan Hyman himself, with a number of guest speakers helping on various evenings.

As you said, it was a remarkably well done and useful educational experience, and I diligently followed all the recommendations. I guess it worked, based on my personal experience. When I retired later that year, I moved out of the DC area to the midwest. A short time later, I saw an ad in the local paper for a job that looked interesting. I sent in one resume and three interviews later I had the job, which I thoroughly enjoyed (for a while). All the knowledge and practice I gained from the course made the whole resume/interview/negotiation process seem like child's play, since I knew exactly what to do, while the employers (a recent startup) were still feeling their way around the hiring process.

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I don't know if anyone on this board is old enough to remember, but there used to be a very popular course in the DC area aimed at military officers who would be retiring in the next couple of years. It was called "The Strategy of Career Transition" and was initially offered as a graduate psychology course through Catholic University and taught by a guy named Stanley Hyman. It later morphed away from the university/graduate credit affiliation and became a stand-alone course, generally given at a hotel in Crystal City.

The course covered identifying what you really wanted to do in a second career, networking, resume writing, business attire, interviewing, etc. It included a battery of tests and a one-on-one with a psychologist who would interpret the results for you. I took it during a DC tour when I was thinking of retiring at the 20 year point and found it to be a very helpful course. Although I decided to stay in for another promotion and a few more tours, I used all the information I got to very good advantage when I finally did retire.

The guy who taught it was a retired AF LTCOL who had a PhD in psychology and who worked as a consultant to companies on HR matters. It was a "tough love" approach in that he tried to hit you over the head with the fact that many things were different in private industry than they were in the military and you had to adopt a different way of thinking to succeed there.

Hyman himself came to an unfortunate end and is no longer with us. I think the TAP programs are trying to fill the same needs as his course did. Having been to a TAP I found it useful but not nearly as comprehensive as Hyman's course. (Of course, you don't have to pay for TAP and you had to pay for Strategy.) But for officers of a certain era who were stationed in the DC area, going to the Strategy course was almost a rite of passage.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:04 AM   #42
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I don't know if anyone on this board is old enough to remember
I think the TAP programs are trying to fill the same needs as his course did.
Well, I'm too young to remember that one, but I could tell you a story that you're too senior to have experienced!

As the 1990s drawdown ramped up to full throttle around 1996, BUPERS began to realize that they'd overshot the mark. (Today, YG96 submariners are practically guaranteed a shot at command.) The voluntary separation incentives were being taken as fast as the separations clerks could write the checks, and the best & brightest were leaving in far greater numbers than the "others".

Senior officers first viewed this trend with concern, then with grave concern, and then with alarm. So they proceeded to do something about it.

Around this time, the Ruehlin career-transition seminars were getting started, and one of their missions was (ironically) junior-officer retention. They proceeded to dispense a "tough love" curriculum of their own explaining why life outside the Navy was bad for JOs. JOs within a year of the end of their obligation would go to this seminar as a way of getting a break from the inport duty roster gaining helpful info to decide to stay Navy.

At one Ruehlin seminar an actual active-duty admiral was brought in to meet with the JOs who were "on the retention fence". He said words to the effect of "You guys have to realize that leaving the service will hit you with a substantial pay cut. Right now you're earning over $60K/year, and if you leave the service you'll have to give up a third of that. Any questions?"

One pissed off JO said "Sir, I'm leaving the Navy because the assignment officer won't let us stay here for my spouse's career. By the way, she's earning over $100K/year and I'm getting the same kind of offers. Why would I stay on active duty? What kind of offers are you getting, sir?"

I just hope the guy wasn't laid off when the Internet bubble ended.

Meanwhile the submarine placement officer visited our homeport on his semi-annual retention trip. He told the shore-duty JOs that when they went to department-head school after this shore tour, BUPERS was considering having them also attend night classes (in addition to the day classes) to get their basic joint training (JPME I) out of the way before going back to sea. His pitch to the sea-duty crowd was to suggest that they volunteer for Pentagon shore duty because "DC is a great place to meet hot chicks." (Verbatim quote.) No word on how the sea-duty submarine spouses felt about their husbands selecting that option.

By the end of the drawdown, Ruehlin had decided to focus on the senior officers.

I think that TAP really grew out of Dept of Labor funding to help ensure that vets aren't sleeping under highway overpasses. It's not about helping us through the transition as much as it is testifying to Congress "But we trained them in occupational employment skills!"
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:23 PM   #43
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Evening all. OK, today was spent on how to network, connections, and started resume' writing. At least the instructor reviewed/edited my resume and actually said it was a good 1st cut. I was surprised because my format doesn't follow the scripted version discussed in class and in the hand outs, but I attached a note explaining that I'm not a typical resume', that I wanted to go unconventional because that's me and I could talk with passion about everything on my non-typical resume. Couple of other attendees are taking glances at my resume' now ;-) I do listen to folks talking about needing to get a job, wife asking about what they will do, etc. Surprising how the consumption culture can trap you. I am sooo glad I ran across this group!

Nords, got one attendee to write down the info for your book. Been leaving it out on my desk and I sit right by the only door in and out of the room. :-)

I discovered this ETAPS, where the E is for Executive level, is not designed to replace the standard, mandatory TAPS course where you cover SGLI, SBP, retired pay, VA benefits, etc. I found out today that this ETAPS is strictly about training senior officers and E-9s how to find appropriate-level second careers. Interesting.
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:31 AM   #44
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Well, finished my ETAPS course and am heading back home. I asked the instructor "how do I interview for a lower level job than what I'm doing in the military right now. I don't want to work as hard as I now." He did provide some useful soundbites to use in an interview. It was fascinating to people watch as I saw most of my peers focused on getting that VP job at Company X for $$Bazillion dollars, but in the next breath say they looked forward to retiring from the military to spend more time with their kids. Hhmmm, not sure you can get there from here.

I did have a great discussion w/ another Type-A+ indiv who mentioned he has 2 high school kids he had to put thru college. I asked him if he assigned his Post-9/11 GI Bill to them as that pays your college, books, plus a SSgt salary while you're a student?? He'll be looking into that pronto! Then he asked me about Nord's book and Work Less, Live More as well. I told him the biggest obstacle to early retirement for him was right between his ears. We had an awesome discussion from there.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:32 AM   #45
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Well, finished my ETAPS course and am heading back home. I asked the instructor "how do I interview for a lower level job than what I'm doing in the military right now. I don't want to work as hard as I now."
I remember having a similar discussion with someone during my transition period. I really thought I could stop completely. Then it was well work a little part time, then take a lower level job than what I had done. At some point I made the decision to work again after a sabbatical which I was hoping would be 3 months longer. I also decided that if I was going to work again that my time was worth so much or I wasn't going to do it. Now the type A is kicking in and that work ethic thing. 51 hrs this week as I get back up to speed.

It is different this time around. I work because I want to for now. And when it is no fun I will give notice. My boss knows that. Rem you can always call it quits if you are FI.

JDARNELL
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:18 PM   #46
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Nords, got one attendee to write down the info for your book. Been leaving it out on my desk and I sit right by the only door in and out of the room. :-)
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Then he asked me about Nord's book and Work Less, Live More as well. I told him the biggest obstacle to early retirement for him was right between his ears. We had an awesome discussion from there.
Thanks for the marketing!

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Hhmmm, not sure you can get there from here.
I think that for many servicemembers TAP is their first contact with reality after years of the military lifestyle. And I think the TAP instructors try to make it happen that way.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:58 AM   #47
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Morning all! Glad to say our ER planning is still tracking. Wife and I had a great discussion about expenses, I updated my Powerpoint brief to include what my retirement will be after Fed, State, life insurance, and SBP premiums. I then subtracted our recurring monthly expenses like piano lessons, sports fees for the kids, etc as well as projected house payment + utilities (we live in base housing right now, so I used my current housing allowance).

Starting 1 Jan, we have laid our plan to begin living off my net projected retired pay based off the above planning factors and will bank the rest between TSP contributions and Money Mkt account. We joked w/ each other that we've always seemed happiest when we didn't have 2 nickels to rub together!

We are doing this to ensure we can meet day-to-day expenses off of just my projected retirement and then whatever jobs we "choose" to undertake will be for savings/car repairs/vacations, etc.
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:44 PM   #48
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OK, New Year's is right around the corner and we're planning to LBYM on my projected retirement income with banking the rest. Wife and I have been scouring all the real estate web sites and picking out houses that we'd like. I am sooo proud of my wife...thanks to reading Early Retirement Extreme, we have actually been shrinking the size of the house we think we'd like from the McMansion to what is a realistic living space. We're now looking at 2,200-2,500 s/f houses with a small yard. I am sooo over the whole keeping-up-with-the-Jonses yard scapes! I want a lot that I can cut in 30 min or less like Dominos pizza!
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:15 PM   #49
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The young wife and I have 2500 sqft, We have found it more than enough for the two of us. As it is, we have two bedrooms that we mostly use as extra closet space.
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:07 AM   #50
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The young wife and I have 2500 sqft, We have found it more than enough for the two of us. As it is, we have two bedrooms that we mostly use as extra closet space.
Spouse and I have reached the same empty-nester conclusion.

If you have kids leaving the nest, it can be dangerous to have vacant bedrooms a landing pad for them to boomerang back to...
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:50 AM   #51
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7 June 2013.

That's the magical date.

What I'm now projecting as my last day of duty before going on 20 days of house hunting permissive TDY and 95 days of terminal leave with an actual retirement effective date of 1 Oct 2013! I can drop my papers this October.

What a mental journey this has been, but I am now sure this is the right thing for our family. When the wife asked yesterday, "so, is there anything at this point that would make you consider staying in? What about General (I could still have 1 more shot, but I could also win the Lottery!)?"

"Nope...I don't want to miss my son's HS years. I'm ready and the AF stamped an expiration date on me the day I came in. I'm just a disposable asset to them and my replacement is already out there somewhere waiting for me to vacate my big office!"

Wife and I are flying to NC next month to start scouting areas and neighborhoods to focus our home search...I think we're commiting to this!

Cheers to 7 June 2013...can't wait for you to get here!
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:16 AM   #52
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Congrats on the pending move, and thank you for your service. You and the others here that have served in uniform.

DW and I both retired from Army, she in 92 and me in 94. One thing that has really caught me off guard is the transitions. I do computers so my work transition was not hard. However, the DW being home full time didn't work for her so she went to work for school system after 18 months. My 2 sons were young when we retired, so had time to go to football and hockey games. Then they left home and it was back to just the 2 of us again, another big transition. Now I work from home full time and have the home to myself all day. Another big transition. And then one more when we retire in 2-4 years. Lots of adjustments along the way. I couldn't have expected them (or maybe I should have) those years ago and for me they have been a challange.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:36 PM   #53
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I'm ready and the AF stamped an expiration date on me the day I came in. I'm just a disposable asset to them and my replacement is already out there somewhere waiting for me to vacate my big office!"
Well said. Congrats on identifying your date!

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Old 01-12-2012, 09:02 PM   #54
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I asked the instructor "how do I interview for a lower level job than what I'm doing in the military right now. I don't want to work as hard as I now."
Hmmm. This may not be as easy as it sounds. Be careful. Staff positions at all levels on the outside as often as not involve lots of unpaid overtime.

However, if you become a contractor, your hours become 8 to 5. Unless you step in in a crisis and you work a ton of overtime. In which case you get paid for it (at straight time rates), AND you will find that it is much more tolerable. That is often the case for me as an engineer.

I see that you have a lot of time to investigate, so good.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:16 AM   #55
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7 June 2013.
A shipmate's Christmas card talked about retiring in April. I assumed he meant April 2013.

Turns out he and the assignment officer had different visions of his future, and he's retiring in just 78 days. I don't think he's even planning to go to TAP. April Fool's indeed.

I think your way is going to work out much better.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:03 AM   #56
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Thanks for the encouraging notes...this board has actually been a big help to me in making the "mental leap." It really is mental for me as the military programs you to complete every mission and not to accept failure. As you, yourselves, have experienced, getting a second career after the military is an expected "next mission" and why are you quitting if you don't get a full-time job. I told my exec I wanted to be like him...he's a retired E-9 after 30 yrs, and is now a GS-11 as my excutive assistant...nice!

I've actually discussed my retirement plan w/ my General last weekend. I luv working for him...he's a great leader. But he also represents what I don't want to be...he's on his way to his second star, going to a 2-star billet in D.C. in a few months, one kid is in the military and one is at college. And now that the kids are grown, his wife has moved out because they've found without the kids, they don't have anything in common anymore...actually, she's had enough of the military life and wants to go back to being a teacher, but he's still military all the way.

For us, my wife is an RN w/ a degree, but hasn't practiced her license since our son was born 12 yrs ago. Right now, our planning is for her to go back to work when we retire and for me to take at least 1 yr off to be "Domestic Daddy!" I'm excited since my hobby is to cook...we're gonna be eatin' large starting next June!

Ahhh, feels good to say "7 June 2013, 7 June 2013, 7 June 2013" and y'all helped me get there. So glad I found this place :-)
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:12 PM   #57
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I went to TAP the first time 2 yrs out. The next 9 months I really worked on the mental aspects of what I wanted to do. I then went at the 6 month out which was a good refresher. The good thing is the FI part should be pretty taken care of as compared to the mental process. You have to go thru it. The folks here really helped me thru the process. You may be suprised how hard it is to turn off the drive that got you your current billet.

JDARNELL
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:25 AM   #58
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You may be suprised how hard it is to turn off the drive that got you your current billet.
Yep. I channeled most of that into surfing lessons, but there was still some left over for writing.
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:36 AM   #59
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I know I will have to do something to channel that energy, so I started a list yesterday that I have next to my computer at work. So far, I've got:

1. Learn to speak and read Spanish
2. Take cooking classes on different cuisines
3. Get back into Tae Kwon Do or a new martial arts

It's a nice mental relief to just think about me for a change instead of the unit and the job!
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:51 AM   #60
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Your family will be the unit and taking care of them will be your job. Think of it this way and the transition may be easier. You will apply the same skills and the same energy to the assignment. See how easy it is?
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