Top Seven Tips for Life After Military Service

With my coaching clients I’m often asked for a summation of tips or hacks for men and women leaving the military. 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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Here are my top seven tips for life after military service…

  1. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Almost all military personnel know when their date of separation is. The sad truth is that many wait until they are separated to figure out what they want to do after their service is over. Start planning at least a year or even sooner for what you will do after you hang up your uniform.
  2. Pick a people, place, or position. If you don’t narrow down your options, it can be quite overwhelming. You should narrow it down somehow by choosing a group of people you want to work with, a geographical place you’d like to live and work, or a particular position and occupation you want to pursue. This will greatly help your search for your new future.
  3. Polish up your resume. This is the place where you list all the cool stuff you’ve done and things you’ve learned. At first just list everything. Then you can whittle it down as needed each time you apply for a job. You’ll be amazed when you see a long list of accomplishments. Be proud of that. For examples, just search online.
  4. Don’t forget your family. Sometimes in all the planning for a place to live, a new job, a business start up and more, it’s easy to forget your spouse and kids. Be sure to think about them with every choice you make. Include them in the decision-making process. It’s not just about you.
  5. Use all available resources. You’ll find that there are a great many resources available to you both in the veteran sector and out in the civilian world. Be sure you take advantage of them.
  6. Assemble a team. Find people who can help you in all facets of your separation from military service. I’m talking about everything from a business minded person who can proof your resume to a cheerleader who will motivate you when things get tough. Find a mentor in your future profession. Find a friend who’s already exited into the civilian world. Make your team as big as it needs to be to succeed.
  7. Get an honest assessment of your finances. Go boldly into this new venture debt free if at all possible. Everything in life is easier without that hanging over your shoulder. You have a year to prepare, sell things, make lifestyle changes, and anything else necessary to erase your debts.

I hope this helps. Bear in mind, there are only seven tips here, and this list is by no means exhaustive. It only scratches the surface. be sure you get help to continue on through this process. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like for me to help you.

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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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!

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Check out the absolute best book on career transition right here

Is Coaching Right for You?

I hate the term “life coach”. Even though I hate it, it’s one that I use very often, because that’s what most easily defines what I do. Aside from the inevitable “what do you do?” question, I’m often asked “how does that work?” or “why would I need that?” The very last question is actually much easier to answer than the first two. The easy answer is that most people need some type of coaching to help them reach their definition of success even if they don’t realize it.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if hiring a coach is something that might help pave the way to your dreams. I actually use many of these questions when I do free consultations. Read through them and answer them on your own. Consider it a free consultation.

Are you truly satisfied with your life the way it is?

Do you want something more from your life, beyond what you are presently experiencing?

Do you want something more from your career, beyond what you are experiencing?

List two of your “dreams” for the future.

Have you done anything at all this week to help make your dreams become reality?

Are you satisfied with your business results, or career results?

Are you doing what you really want with your life?

What are your two most identifiable weaknesses?

Did you do anything during this past week to help yourself “overcome” these weaknesses?

Are you living your life with passion?

Do you know that you have “potential” and are capable of accomplishing more?

Do you feel like you’re all boxed in, or are you at a crossroad and don’t know which way to turn?

What are your two greatest “strengths”?

Have you done anything during the past week to further build on these strengths?

Do you feel like life is coming at you so fast and furious, that you’re having a hard time just keeping up?

Do you want to earn more money?

Do you need more time?

Is there something that you are afraid of stepping out and doing?

Are you committed to making changes in your life to achieve more of your full potential?

If you had someone to guide you and help you, are you ready to do the work to make your dreams come true?

Do you know what you “really” want out of life?

Do you know how to get it?

Is there anyone in your life that is totally (100%) …. supporting and encouraging you?

Are you tired of playing it safe, or afraid to step out of your comfort zone?

How long have you been saying “someday I’ll …..”

At the risk of sounding like the answer key to a magazine quiz, I have to say that if you answered all those questions honestly, then you might realize that you could use a coach. A life coach is really just someone who helps, encourages, and sometimes pushes you to shoot for the stars. Imagine me like a football coach. Sometimes there’s a gentle nudge of praise- “Come on. You can do it. You just need to try your best.” At other times, there’s a more obvious push. “Get off your butt and move!”

A coach is free to help you see the big picture without having to face all the ordinary distractions that you face in your life. Sometimes it’s hard to fix our own problems when we also have to simultaneously deal with family, school, work, church, and everything else that happens all at once. Part of my job is to pull my clients away from that at least for a moment so we can work on a plan to fix things. When I coach my clients, one of my first tasks is to discover their idea of a perfect life where they can live their passions and lead a rich life. Finding this answer often reveals that they are in the wrong place in life, perhaps the wrong job or that life is just way out of balance. Finding the answers isn’t always easy, but is often very satisfying. Then the really hard work of making the perfect life a reality begins. That’s when we face, manage, and deal with all the distractions that come roaring back in as soon as the appointment is over.

It’s very fun and gratifying work. There’s no better thrill than seeing someone with little hope of an enjoyable life finally make the turn and cry out in joy. If you think a coach might be the right choice for you, drop me a line. I’m always willing to meet a new client for coffee or lunch. It won’t cost you anything but the meal and you can check me out to see if I might be able to help you.