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.


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!

Where is the Tipping Point for Cleveland TN?

I’m pretty sure most of you have never heard of the small town of Cleveland. It’s located in east Tennessee near the larger town of Chattanooga. It’s a beautiful place that’s typical of awesome Southern small towns. Unfortunately, it’s a small town with really big problems.

Since I moved to Chattanooga a few months ago, I’ve seen in the paper almost every day some new calamity in that small town of almost 43,000 people. It’s ranged from police chiefs relieved of command, law enforcement related sex scandals, a cemetery that is leaking human remains in the walking areas, and now something else. In today’s paper was an article about a sex scandal involving a firefighter.

It’s so bad that part of the article included this little recap…

Cleveland-Firefighter-Sex Scandal-002

I’ve written the city council and town manager to express an offer to assist them with training. They’re hiring a new police chief soon, and I wanted to serve them by helping the new chief create a new culture in the department, something that is drastically needed to make change. The old culture there has apparently fostered a lot of small problems that snowballed into huge ones, like the sex scandals.

Occasional problems can happen anywhere but this many big problems express something much larger and way more dangerous. If you have any doubt about that, just do a websearch for “Atlantic Beach SC” and look at a few articles from the past decade. I grew up near there and can attest to the slow demise of that town.

Cleveland has apparently dove headlong into a problem pattern most often written about by popular business authors. Just a glance at some of Jim Collins’ book titles show this with Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. The one I’m concerned with most is Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.

To sum it up quickly, I rely upon the book’s explanation from Gladwell’s website…

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.

It would appear as if Cleveland has already passed the tipping point, as the problems have infiltrated various areas of the city and not just one government department. As Gladwell’s book points out, it’s possible to come back, but not without targeted effort, massive change, and help from people like me. I guess it’s up to the leaders and citizens of Cleveland to decide if it’s worth it.

How about you? Do any of you work somewhere that you can see the tipping point in action? I’d love to hear from you about it.

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!

PS…Here’s the rest of today’s article for your enjoyment. What I really want you to pay attention to are the comments and reactions from local politicians.

Cleveland-Firefighter-Sex Scandal-001

Cleveland-Firefighter-Sex Scandal-003

Tactical Gear for Women?

I just received an e-mail from 5.11, a company that specializes in tactical gear and clothing. They’re a trusted supplier, and I’ve used much of their gear over the years. It’s good stuff and comes in all the basic man-colors like coyote brown, olive drab, and various camo patterns. The e-mail I received yesterday was about their line of tactical clothing for women.

Tactical clothing for women has long been a problem in the armed services, both military and civilian. It’s good that 5.11 is setting the bar for it. In the past, most tactical clothing for women has been poorly modified men’s clothing or they had nothing at all available. It didn’t fit right over the hips and made no room for the mammary glands, among other problems. This was made even worse with body armor, which not only proved uncomfortable, but could also cause long-lasting cumulative use injuries.

A problem though. I had two thoughts when I received the e-mail…
1. A nice one. This is some sexy clothing, suited for modern shieldmaidens.
2. A mean one. MOST women I’ve known in tactical environments or EMS were better suited for men’s clothing.
Now, I’m sure I just made a lot of people mad. If I did, and you think I’m wrong, prove it. Comment back. Send pics of feminine females in public safety or the military. I know they’re out there. It’s just that they’re such a distinct minority that we never see them, except on television where they have to be pretty to get the role.
Just to play devil’s advocate, here’s a pic of me with a very pretty young lady I served with. Very pretty despite the masculine clothing.
family pics 154

Here’s another one. This young lady with an old friend of mine is in the Air Force.

Marine pics, Texas 011

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

Be sure to check out my book The Future of EMS on Kindle!