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Networking/Job Offers/Career Options
Old 04-13-2008, 12:28 PM   #1
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Networking/Job Offers/Career Options

Many of you may have experienced something like this as you were transition from one job/industry to another. This is kind of new to me.

This past week I attended a "space conference" for the current industry I work in. This conference has government/educational/commercial components. There was over 7000 attendees and I probably knew at least 100 people that attended many of which I have worked with over the past 10 plus yrs. And of these 100 people they probably introduced me to anothe 100 or so. It was really a good time and there is some really exciting things.

A lot of these folks are retired military working in business development, government support, system developers, etc. During the 3 days at least 15 pulled me aside and asked me about my future plans when I retire in 2 yrs. I got several comments like "I want you to call me so we can talk about your path ahead once you retire." and "you are a known commodity we would love for you to join our team." I recognize that overtime my human capital will dimenish if I walk away from the industry that I know and my contacts. But do I care?

Over the last 9 months I have a lot of friends who have started their transition from the military to the private sector. Most of them ended up in defense land or govt service. It has been interesting watching their path. I guess there are options out there if I want to pursue this path also. A lot of folks have told me that organizational fit is more important that $$. I agree with this for the most part.

But while at the conference I got to thinking about a few things.

1. There are a lot of other industries that could utilize my skills if I wanted to pursue these.
2. Staying in what I know would be the easiest transition but also the most boring.
3. These kind of jobs and salaries demand a lot of time and effort.
4. Maybe I am not interested in any of these?

Overall did the conference change my thought process on what I think I have planned? I don't think so, but I realized I need to keep my options open just in case and play it by ear. I must admit one of the discussions was far more than I imagined. The goal is to get things in my control so I don't have to do something I don't want along the job line if I go down this path.


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Old 04-13-2008, 03:03 PM   #2
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I separated from the Air Force in the early 1990's after a 10-year career. I loved the 10 years I served but I decided it was time to try something different for reasons I can't totally explain as I had a promising career and I worked on very interesting stuff. I used a recruiter who specialized in placing military officers into civilian jobs. I'd had summer jobs but this was going to my first "real" civilian job and I had no clue what to do. The recruiter took care of all the logistics, gave me some interview training, and my job was to nail the interviews. It all worked out very well.

Going to work in the defense industry would have been possible (I had some good clearances which would have made me useful right away) but I felt it wouldn't have been enough of a change and therefore wasn't a big enough challenge. I figured I could always try defense if the civilian thing didn't work out.

I can't say I would have taken the same course if I had been retiring and been 10-15 years older. On the one hand, you have a huge safety net with your pension so moving to civilian is less of a risk financially so why not go for it. On the other hand, maybe you're not motivated to start all over in the civilian market. I highly recommend getting with a good recruiter as they have access to the hiring managers. I haven't done any searching but there has to be recruiters who specialize in placing retiring military into civilian positions. Interview them and get references because, as in any profession, there's the goods ones and there's poor ones.

My free advice (and it's worth what you paid for it) is to cut the defense ties and try something new. I found the transition to be very interesting and a lot of fun. There are lots of companies that can use your brains and discipline and leadership. I would also recommend some business courses if you haven't taken any. I had gotten my MBA at night so at least I had some theoretical knowledge of how businesses worked and it was very helpful.

Good luck in whatever you decide.
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