What Should I Do After Leaving a Life in Uniform?

With my coaching clients I’m often asked this question…what should I do after leaving a life in uniform? It doesn’t matter if you leave for retirement, voluntary separation, an injury, or even a disciplinary proceeding, you still face that question and its ramifications.

If you’re wondering what uniform I’m talking about, I’m talking about the military, police, fire, and EMS. Sure, I work with others on occasion, but it’s these folks I have a heart for and work with.

In my practice I help highly driven people in high stress/high danger occupations who are seeking significance through a second career. I do this by hacking and attacking the learning process toward action rather than numbing introspection. Through this my clients are empowered to live their dreams and embark on new adventures. Because of my military and public safety experience I understand the effects of losing that adrenaline rush, the desire to be in a uniform of some kind, the need for structure and order, and even potential complications of PTSD.

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So, here we go with a few ideas on what to do after hanging up your uniform…

  1. Find another way to serve your employer. Doing what you’ve always done isn’t the only way to serve. Many employers have positions other than uniformed service, such as support staff or independent contractors.
  2. Find another uniform to wear. Just because you hung up one uniform doesn’t mean you can never wear one again. You can find another place to work or pursue a different career and still find the thrill you seek in uniformed service.
  3. Find a line of work completely opposite of what you did before. Some people leave uniformed service and never want to look back. You’ll need to decide if this is for you too.
  4. Find a way to help those still in uniformed service. There are many ways to do this, so, if you choose this route, you will have to find the one that suits your personality and goals.

When I left uniformed service after over twenty years in the military, Federal service, and EMS I chose number four. That’s what I do now. I speak at EMS conferences, I train civilians in emergency preparedness, and I work with my former colleagues as a coach. If I can be of any service to you or your team in this capacity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

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What Would You Do if Your Employer Closed Their Doors Forever?

A local Fujifilm plant in Dayton TN is shuttering its doors and shifting production to other plants. You can reference an article about it HERE. As I read the article I could see the writing on the wall regarding this event. I’m not talking about a sudden thing either. I’m talking about a decades long build up to this event. Is it any surprise to anyone that the film industry has given up the ghost to go digital? As further evidence that this was coming, Fujifilm employees only needed to look a few miles north to the Eastman Kodak plant in Kingsport TN where the downward slide has been going on for a long time.

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So, now 84 employees will be out of a job next year, although the newspaper was kind enough to use the term ‘idle’.

My question to you is, what would you do if the business you worked for rendered you idle? To help you answer that, I’d like to ask you a few more questions and then offer some hope.

  • Are you working in a field that is quickly becoming useless on a large scale?
  • Do you have a plan to either transition out of it or become a linchpin in that field as it shrinks?
  • Can the particular skill you do become useful in another business?
  • Is it time for you to finally stop doing a J-O-B for a living and do something that makes you happy?
  • Are you blaming someone else for this predicament or taking action to move out of it?

I hope those questions raise larger ones in your life. It’s okay if you can’t answer all of them or even if your answers are “No” or “I don’t know”. It’s my job to folks just like you through career transition and periods of ‘idle’ time. I’d love to help, so here’s how I can do it…

  1. You can hire me individually for career transition coaching. Normally, I only work with people in high stress/high risk occupations like police, firefighters, and the military, but the devastation of large plant closings really bother me.
  2. You can tell your boss that you want them to hire me to help all the employees during this time. They’ll be paying for career transition services in some way, but seldom as good and useful as what I offer.
  3. You can try it on your own using resources. If you do, I highly recommend the 48 Days to the Work You Love Career Kit by my friend Dan Miller.

The Fujifilm folks have until next year to find new work. What about you? Do you need to make changes now as well.

48 Days whats-your-plan

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

Links-

Fujufilm plant closing article

48 days to the Work You Love Kit

More information about the 48 Days plan

 

A Career Transition Story- Meet Former Marine Joshua Alexander

I’d like to introduce a friend and fellow Marine Joshua Alexander. I met Josh through the geeky pursuits that we share in common, like comics, beards, and kilts.

I wanted to tell you about Josh because I was intrigued by his efforts to go back to the military and further a career within the armed services. As we enter a post-war military and the drawdowns and budget crippling begins, you’ll hear more stories like his.

I also wanted to do my bets to put his name out there in case a job opportunity is just waiting for him from one of my readers. If anyone would like to get in touch with him, you can find him at jbalex26@gmail.com or on Facebook at Joshua Alexander.

And now, in Josh’s words…

Joshua Alexander-Marine

In high school, my brother Jeff joined the Army. He wanted to be an ELITE, so he became an Army Ranger. I didn’t understand what this meant. I looked up to my brother. I wanted to join the military because of his war stories and the brothers he fought for. He said, “Josh, what do you want to be?” I said, “I wanted to be an Apache Pilot and if I couldn’t fly, then I wanted to be a SEAL in the US Navy. He gave me tips, told me to swim, do good in school, and never leave a brother on the field, or a war veteran who is struggling.

My brother deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 and lost half of his unit in combat. He saw his brothers pass and got in trouble and was later discharged with a General other than Honorable. He got released due to misconduct. He sought help but couldn’t find it. He became addicted to alcohol and nicotine. I watched him struggle with his job, girlfriend, and his VA shut him down. He went to prison for five years and is now off parole seeking a better life. My brother is still a hero. He fought the good fight. He never left his brothers. He served his country with honor. He screwed up because there was no help. He asks, “What has my country done for me?”

Towards the end of high school I joined the Utah National Guard 19th Special Forces Support. My recruiter put me in for NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Warfare). I was going to fix gas masks for Operators, go to jump school, speak a foreign language, grow a beard, build a country and don the John Wayne Green Beret. After 9 months of drill, the option to go to boot camp was upon me. During a career fair, a Marine recruiter approached me and said,” What do you want to be.” I said, I don’t know. I want to be like my brother, an SF Operator. I want to go where others wont. The Marine Corps said, “We have Force Recon and we have to get you out of the National Guard.” I said, Let’s go and, by the way, nice uniform Marine!

The marine recruiter and myself went to the national guard. My Army 1st Sgt said, ” What do you want to do Alexander, the choice is now!” Being impatient, I want to be a Marine. I choose the Marine Corps. During the rigors of the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, I trained hard. Never gave up and lived with my depressed brother. He motivated me with stories, the things I will see. He put check points in my life that I needed to achieve while in the Corps.

I took my ASVAB. I chose radio operator. It was the closest to Infantry. I went to boot camp in 2003. I came from San Diego not the Island. I pushed hard to pass, struggled with Marine Combat Training, and then to Comm School. I loved the radios and stories of air strikes. I learned what potential I could have. In boot camp, recon indoc happened. I should of raised my hand. I stepped into my unit and deployed to Iraq 2004. I was attached to an Army grunt unit and provided base security and patrolled every three days. I saw the enemy and never fired because America didn’t want us too. I did radio watch for 12 hrs a day and led good units back to base so they can call their families back home.

I came home and was attached the 24th MEU, the greatest group of Marines I ever worked with. We deployed to Beirut/Jordan/Dubai/Kuwait. We rescued over 12,000 Americans in Lebanon. Israel attacked Hezbolah and the Americans were evacuated. It was a good time. On this deployment, I became the Colonel’s personal radio operator and was awarded. I was completing my check mark my brother had set for me.

Well, I continued and ended my enlistment with 3rd Bn 9th Marines and we had a possible deployment to Afghanistan. I went to my career planner and I denied combat orders (I had 4 months left, family wanted me out, America was changing). I was given an re-entry code of RE-3C. I did not understand this code. I completed my enlistment and discharged Honorably. I walked out with a Good Conduct Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal, and others. My brother would be proud…

Joshua Alexander-beard-Marine

I sat for a few weeks and I found a job doing construction. I couldn’t get a government job. I guess its for special people. My friend told me of a job in North Carolina. He said, “Have you heard of Blackwater USA.?” They are hiring Comm Controllers. I applied and got accepted. I trained hard yet again and shot more weapons than I did in the Marine Corps. The Operator dream was coming true. At the end, I was cut because they lost my paper work and they said that my radio operator job was not a combat MOS. Here is your $1000.00 check. Take care.

I went back to construction and the thought of depression and sadness built in. I worked construction for five years. I sat back and looked at my choices. I chose to go to school. In school, I wanted to be a nurse (too many applicants), a cop (one job available, 200 applicants), a veterinarian (too long for school). While applying to the nursing program, I called the Navy Officer Program and they told me NO because of my RE-3C. I was denied. I chose to be a Paramedic. I want to save lives or even combat rescue. I called the Air Force, they told me no tattoos. I called the Army, they said NO to RE-3C’s and his 1st Sgt said NO. The Coast Guard said no jobs available.

WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS? I SERVED HONORABLY. I FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT! I EARNED IT! In addition, BORSTAR (Border Patrol Search and Rescue), no openings! The Border is open America. Close it for the Veterans. We would like to earn our dreams. We earned it. My friend in college, Josh Sams (Marine Corps Sniper) wounded in Afghanistan taking out the enemy. He wants to FIGHT AMERICA still! I want to still fight for him because of his story. I still want to serve my brothers. America has spoken, the answer is NO!

Today, I am 29. I own a beard and soon will shave it for my program. I know God has a job for me and even though the answer is NO, he will come back with a better YES. I have a beautiful wife and 2 kids and even though I cant be Special Forces, I’ll just be a Special Daddy Veteran Style. My children will learn of my check marks in life. 

In retrospect, I learned from a pro, swam like a SEAL, saw the Army SF, wore the dress blues, earned the title Marine, fought the fight, rescued the sick, got a 4.0. I will be the best PARAMEDIC THIS COUNTY HAS EVER SEEN. Veterans are special and by what I’ve seen, this country just covers them up. I’m ready to take this life on. “SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE!” I will don a Purple Beret!

 Once a Marine, Always a Marine. I WILL OPERATE even if the answer is NO!

 Cpl Joshua Alexander

RIP Sgt Kevin Balduf & Cpl Kyle Wilks

Beard Up!

Joshua Alexander-Marine-kilt-beard

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

Links-

Check out the absolute best book on career transition right here