Veterans of the Armed Forces – Veterans Division

“Veterans”…covers a broad spectrum of people.  All of us have served, but we all have different needs now that we’re out of the military service.  Think about the differences between transitioned and transitioning full retirement senior officers, officers, senior enlisted, and NCOs.  What about delayed retirement benefit reservists waiting for their annuity to start, but in the meantime, recent multiple call-ups put their previous job in jeopardy if it’s not already gone?  And many, many veterans served less than 20 years and might have been in the civilian sector for quite a while, but they have still been subjected to the recent economic trends of downsizing and outsourcing.

Some of us might have thought we would use a military retirement, live a simple life “back home” and that would be enough.  Well, even those plans are difficult to execute in today’s economic situation.  So, many of us are at a point where we need to “reinvent” ourselves to compete for work longer than we had originally expected.

The harsh reality is that it is very different on the outside.  I retired in the summer of 2006 and was lucky enough to immediately hook up with an alternative energy start-up.  Well, the operational and organizational discipline is certainly not the same in the private sector.  Fundraising is a big deal and not in my lane, but original funding lasted for a while, then additional funding dried up.  Salaries were reduced then staff reductions were next.  I was “employed” a total of 21 months.  I have a great generalist leader resume, have led large organizations to success but did not have any particular industry niche.  I received little response to my resume for 3 months, then I started looking at entrepreneurial opportunities.  I had almost come to terms with a business coaching organization when I found PBA.  Now what?  It’s now about helping other veterans…at least making you aware of other opportunities.

What’s the alternative?  What happens most of the time?  Well…

– How about our transition assistance and executive transition assistance programs.  TAP and ETAP give you standard Dept of Labor info, might have a resume writing course, possibly some interviewing tips or practice and sometimes “dress for success” to nudge us out of our green/blue/black mode.  There might be some goal setting and introspection on what we want to do, therefore focusing our job search.  There could even be some networking events or practice.  Great background information, but not a job.

– What about military-focused career fairs, and “military friendly” employers.  A great initiative and these events are across the country.  But, I was personally disappointed at the last couple I attended.  Not because of lack of employers, there were employers and there was interest.  But the number of veterans attending continues to be very high, indicating a great need for new opportunities versus “normal jobs.”

– Then of course there’s “networking.”  We do have some network connections with those who might have retired or left the service a little before us and are now established…but are they hiring?  Unfortunately, when hiring is down in general, even a strong network cannot guarantee another position when you’re looking for or need one.

– “There’s always consulting”…it’s a nice idea, but harder to execute than you think.  DoD “consultant” work is by the contract and if you’re not generating more contracts, you’re very likely to be done at the expiration of the one you were hired for.  By the way, using your name on a proposal is not a guarantee for employment if they get the bid.

We all know what we “can” do.  And, the more senior we are, typically the more generalist we became as we led larger and more diverse organizations.  Can we now convince an employer to just give us the job and we’ll get it done?  It’s very difficult as they also downsize and reward more stove-piped members from within their organizations.

I am frustrated that the leadership, discipline, communication/people skills, passion for our work and willingness to roll up our sleeves to get the job done characteristics of our veterans are not sufficiently rewarded or recognized in the civilian marketplace.  But think about this…these are the same characteristics of successful small business owners.  You can do this.  By the way, those of us who’ve purchased a home in the past, then used it as a rental property after PCS…we were small business owners already!

So, why not lead our own organization?  Why not invest in ourselves?

Of course it starts with setting goals/priorities:

– Location?  Are you tired of moving and want to remain where you are?  Do you want to use that final move benefit and get back near aging parents?  Opportunities exist everywhere.

– Income?  All different levels of income are possible with these opportunities…based on how much time and money you are willing to invest in yourself.  Opportunities exist everywhere.

– Control/Independence?  We’ve all either been in charge of a unit or wanted to have a little more control over the team/section/group we worked in.  How about building your own team and taking them to the next level?  Opportunities exist everywhere.

– Growth?  Are you looking to grow in wealth or do you have a stretch goal of financial requirements/financial independence?  Is your current situation keeping you on that path?  Would you be looking for an opportunity to start small, grow with additional units, and build a team to generate passive income for you and your family?  Opportunities exist everywhere.

Our Veterans Division mission is to insure the word gets out about alternative opportunities:  businesses for sale, growing businesses needing a new senior partner with some equity/skin in the game, franchises, or franchise area development.  We do not want veterans to “settle” for a less than optimal employment situation without having all of the alternatives in front of them.

– Make you AWARE of alternative opportunities
– Match you with opportunities that FIT YOUR SITUATION
– Provide this service for free

Believe me, we all deserve a break at the end of our service.  I finally got one 21 months after my retirement ceremony, and I really needed it.  But there is also some advantage (at least for retiring active duty members) for using that terminal leave/transition time, while receiving full salary, to examine and even start out on your own.

If you want more information or want to walk through our interview process, e-mail your resume to rddubek@verizon.net.

Robert D. Dubek, Colonel, USAF (ret)
-Senior Advisor and VP Veteran’s Division-
Personal (Business) Advisors, LLC
Integrity – Service – Excellence