John Durfee wrote to me recently about his experience in transitioning from Gunnery Sargent to business. John, like many veterans, found that choosing a new career was a daunting task. It certainly wasn’t the piece of cake that the U.S. Army ads made it seem. “They made it look easy; a female soldier in fatigues running across a training course, and then she morphs into a business executive holding a attaché case. Looks easy right?” Without the special effects, it’s a longer challenge for most vets.
When I asked John what resources had been the most helpful, he introduced me to the Tip of the Arrow Foundation. Tip of the Arrow Foundation (TOA) is a not-for-profit organization providing career counseling & transition assistance for America’s military veterans. TOA is staffed by volunteers from human resource and business, many of whom are military veterans themselves. They work hand in hand with community, governmental, and business leaders to prepare veterans for civilian careers.
John also sought advice from family and friends, sitting down for serious heart to heart talks with family members about options. “It was probably one of the most difficult things to do,” John says, “as I didn’t want to seem vulnerable. But I needed some advice and support from the most important people to me. It was uncomfortable at first, but after a while, we were able to lay out a plan. They let me know that they were proud of me for what I did, that they respected my decision making skills and integrity in my reasons for not re-enlisting.”
Monster.com, the online job search engine, offers an online career transition center for military members. In addition to providing resources for active duty members and their families, Military.com provides information on education, military benefits, and stories of other veterans who’ve already made the move to civilian jobs. Monster’s online community t Military.com allows active duty members and retirees to connect, list active duty accomplishments, and use military connections to help land a job after leaving the service. Monster says that over ten million people have joined the network.
In the end, John chose a career that related to what he knew from his military training and would keep him interested. He found a position that used his skills in military simulation games like paintball and airsoft, as well as firearms. He’s now a manager for Airsplat, the nation’s largest retailer of Airsoft Guns including Spring Airsoft Rifles.