Author Topic: What to be when I grow up. Sorry for the wall of text! (hope this is ok here!)  (Read 2200 times)

help_me_find_my_next

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What to be when I grow up?

I am posting this from a new account to un-link any details from my previous posts, I’m not trying to hide anything, just trying to reduce biases and keep things simple.

I am coming up on a retirement point after 20+ years in the military and I’m seeking input on possible jobs/careers I might find interesting. I’ve DONE the “find your passion/perfect jobs” books and I’m not that much closer (What color is your parachute/Pathfinder/48 days etc. etc. etc) to a starting solution. If you can offer any specifics about some of the jobs I’ve listed near the end, please do!

I grew up low middle class (moving when the power got shut off cause we couldn’t pay it, I’ve stood in line for food assistance before food stamps) and the parents didn’t hold down long term jobs, not many folks in the extended family did either so my family examples have not been great.
 
I’m asking for folks to take a look at the info below and see if something “clicks” and give me recommendations/thoughts on what direction I might excel at (doesn’t have to be enjoyable per se… Not afraid of tough work that requires long periods of effort). For example, I’m thinking about CNC machine operator because I love working with tools/my hands/on my feet/with tech/with computers etc. etc. etc.

I’ll offer a ton of “data” here and hope it’s not too much… thanks in advance if you make it all the way through this… Please call me out if I contradict myself etc. (it’s easiest to fool ourselves right) or advise if I missed something and I’ll update the post to give the fullest picture possible.
 
Post retirement, I’m not afraid to go start a job, give it 90 days, realize it’s not for me and move on but I want to do as much homework as I can to ensure my efforts are not in vain. I will say, this is a strange concept to me, to jump from job to job until I really settle in on something, I’ve been institutionalized here… I’ve been in the military longer than I was out of it and I’m not big on major life changes (same company for 20+ years, same car for 13 years, married for 20+ etc. etc. etc.) I am doing face to face interviews with those who retired before me and trying to capture a broad spectrum of jobs/duties but I still need to make some contacts in areas that interest me as most of my network is Government Service/GOVT contractors.
 
Income isn’t really an issue; anything I make will be investment money for the most part. I’m not looking for status or self-realization from the work/workplace (example, I rate the third parking spot from the door, I took the sign down and park 200 yards away, walking past my assistant and 90% of employees vehicles. I don’t say this to brag about how “pious” I am but offer it as an example of my mindset).


Education (mostly earned in my off time, via self-study):

PMP prep course (2016) Taking PMP exam in a few months
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer (2015)
ICPM Certified Manager (2014) (options for growth were limited while deployed)
Masters in organizational leadership (2012)
Undergraduate certificate in financial management (2007)
BA in business studies (2005)
Military Trade Schools/Collateral duty schools – various

Experience:

Pre-military-
Dishwasher
Short order cook
Loaded trucks at wal-mart distribution

Military-
Jet engine mechanic (overhauled engines at the “DEPOT” level)
Oil analysis technician (one of the few mechs that could read “good nough” to go to the course….)
Propeller technician/assembler
Quality assurance technician, inspector, inspecting programs and engines/props
UAV mechanic X 3 (three platforms)
Moved into “middle management” at this point
UAV operator (one platform)
Maintenance supervisor (front line/division/dept of 250-moved into “upper management” at this point)
HR supervisor (division of 85, command of 900)

Collateral duties- (one thing about the military, you never have just one job…)
Financial counselor
PT program coordinator/facilitator
Engine Program Manager for 18 units/216 airplanes
Shop level coordinator for Tools/Training/Calibration
Eval writer, problem solver, “personal issues” counselor (could probably clep a psych course!)

Pertinent? (not sure if this helps/should be included or not…):

44 years old, in great shape
Married 20+ years, two kids, one out of the house
Agnostic, stoic
Have poor hearing (20+ years of jet engines will do that to ya!)

Have a pension coming my way, am debt free but 80K on the house, we live a frugal/minimalist life and could meet all bills (water/cable and such…) with my pension, just would not have anything to invest. Wife works and enjoys her work, she does an admin job that she’ll stay in until they make her leave, if ever.

Plan to stay in current area for a few more years until kid finishes school, then we’d love to go overseas somewhere and live/work for a few years.


Likes/strengths:

Self-starter, intrinsically motivated, don’t need work to provide structure or motivation, I often work harder/longer hours/more diligently than 90% of those around me BUT, sometimes in the military, this isn’t that hard to do (depends on the unit, type of duty, current tasking). I learned this habit early, while washing dishes the pretty assistant manager gave me kudos for finding something to do/clean/wipe down/help others every time there was a free minute, now THAT’S motivation…. Since then, I’ve always tried to “work harder than they are paying you for”.

Family and taking care of the house (would have made a GREAT stay at home dad….too late now...boooo).

Working with my hands, mechanical thinker, good with a hammer, a wrench, a power saw…..

I love to read all kinds of books; I finish between 30-60 a year.

I was the WORST high school student (life was about working to have a car to increase opportunities to chase girls and drink booze!) but after graduation I found that I absolutely love to learn. Since joining the military I have always been the guy taking advantage of down time at work, picking up a tech manual or reading a book, and taking off duty education/perusing quals/certs etc. whenever possible. I don’t watch much TV and have used my curiosity and unwillingness to sit still (and ADD???) to advance a few years ahead of my peer groups, I topped out in paygrade six years ago and didn’t want to move over to the Commissioned Officer side of the house (probably a mistake…).

Enjoy working on my feet and being outside, even in the bad weather I always know that I’ll be nice and comfortable at the end of the day, not afraid to get dirty.

Good with computers, taught myself basic on a C64, have been building them/using them for 30 years (or so), taught myself HTML years ago but have not kept up with this/other languages due to time constraints. I used to be “that guy” everyone asked for help/advice but I “got out of the business” as I was tired of being unpaid tech support for family/friends.

Organizing things/areas (extremely organized compared to many). I get a perverse pleasure from coming into an area and cleaning it up/getting rid of junk and organizing a space/work space to it’s as un-cluttered and efficient at possible. The guy who takes over your office and throws away 90% of what you left behind, that’s me.

Love exercise/nutrition, I do most of the cooking at home.

Enjoy writing, using exel, creating new flowcharts/docs/electronic deliverables; really enjoy taking a “system” or a process that doesn’t have a checklist and making a checklist/flowchart etc. for it.

Enjoy travel but don’t want to do too much of it. A week a quarter, a few days every two weeks, no issue, more than that, I’d have to really think about it.

Enjoy REALLY learning something new, breaking it down, creating new “systems” to accomplish it (if required, many times there is no “system/process” in place and I have to build it from scratch, I like that creative process).

Enjoy writing. I don’t mind writing short stories/message board posts/reports for work (if they have value behind them, I lose patience quickly with BS reports that don’t serve value). I have three books started at home and 5-6 fiction ideas that I don’t have time for right now.

I’ve always been a good QA inspector and don’t hold punches when doing inspections. I’ve not been peoples favorite as I don’t hesitate to write things up as I see them (I use a little more tact in my old age but still don’t hesitate to call a spade a spade).

Teaching others/training/delegation. I don’t do ANYTHING that I can pass on to someone else once I have it mastered. I don’t hesitate to train anyone around me in any skills/knowledge I have (lots in the military want to be the “I have a secret” guy and not train those around them to increase their perceived value, I’m the opposite, I’d teach my phone to answer email if I could). On the flip side, I don’t offer advice unless it’s requested (a man convinced against his will and all….)


Dislikes/weakness:

Dealing with large groups of people. I’m introverted and although a manageable public speaker, I hate the spotlight (I left ego behind a LONG time ago and tend to enjoy working behind the scenes rather than being the guy out in front).

Dealing with too many people in a day. I skew towards misanthrope (working on it!), just NOT a people person. I’ve got the skills and can help with issues/mentor/guide/provide correction but am tired of being the” DAD” (so many people issues at this level)/and enforcer.

I can come off as blunt or repetitive as I want to ensure effective communication and often state the obvious rather than just assume folks know what I’m saying/what I mean. This can “come off wrong” as folks have told me it felt like I was talking down to them/belittling them. I’ve worked on that over the years and try to minimize it.

Commuting. I would like to walk/ride a bike to work and will take a pay cut to do it. There are high paying jobs in this area that I’d have to drive 30-45 min a day in high traffic and wait in long lines at base gates, I’m not doing that. It limits my options but life it too short to spend 7-16 hours a week in traffic.

Doing the same thing day in and day out. Being chained to a desk is a nightmare to me, especially if it involves managing an established program/project that doesn’t require creativity/problem solving/using a brain. The idea of getting a govt or contractor job and surfing the internet for the rest of my life (sooooo many of them doing it, I see it daily….) is my idea of HELL. On that note, having a job where you HAVE to be at work, even when there’s no work to be done, I want to stay away from that. No work + nice day outside, I’m gone!

I’m not great with math. I can do the basics but I’m the kid who had to re-take geometry in high school. I’m not great at that type of abstract + mathematical thinking. I quickly get into wondering what the practical application of XXXXX is….

I’m not good with bureaucracy and “that’s the way we’ve always done it” bullshit. After 20+ years I’ve had enough. I’m the guy asking “why, why, why” and ignoring requests for stupid data calls, refuse to do reports that don’t add value (I learned long ago to stop doing a report and see how long it takes for someone to call, that shows you the value of that item). 

Looking for the stress “sweet spot” of not too little (staring at a computer waiting for an email so I actually have work do to) and not too much (trying to get things done without enough resources, dealing with people who don’t want to work, dealing with non-stop personal issues). Since I’ve got an “F-you pension” and plenty of savings, I’m not going to do work that isn’t rewarding on some level. On the flip side, I don’t need to be the guy in the spotlight, getting attention for how hard I work or how important I am, I’m ok with people not knowing me or what I do, I don’t work for ego satisfaction.



Ideas I’ve had/areas to explore:

Field engineer- working outdoors/inspecting/working with minimal people?

CNC operator/machinist- working with my hands + computers

Elevator/escalator mechanic /welder/pipefitter- not sure if I want to deal with a union and start out as a gopher and “work back up”

Solar power installer tech- not sure where this field is going

Maintenance guy at a large facility/building- working up to managing the efforts for a building/chain/org?

Repair of machinery at XXX (specialize in repair of automated equipment maybe?)

Personal trainer at a gym- I see a lot of these folks sitting on ass waiting for clients, too much down time?

Program manager for just about anything- I like the idea of setting something up, getting it going, handing it off, start something new/maybe move around a little. Ongoing operations = not appealing to me.

Mail delivery/UPS truck driver- outdoors, minimal interaction/supervision…. (but ooohhhh the bureaucracy if USPS)

Teaching at nearby community college or tech schools- business mgt/leadership/program management/physical sciences

Technical writer- need to research this more, have a very vague idea of what it entails….

Work from home on XXXXX using a computer, medical transcription etc….

Management consultant- with over 13 years of leadership/management and my degree/certs, I think I could talk my way into this, not sure if I want to.

Short order cook/bar back/bartender/Home depot guy/retail floor jockey. One thing I do enjoy about staying out of retail is not working retail hours and having holiday off. I’m not better than this work but wonder if I’d be under-utilizing my skills and abilities here. I’m not looking to find the meaning of life at work or make a billion dollars but… re-stocking the lightbulb section might grow old quickly. Same with cooking/bartending, can I stomach taking orders after all these years…. I think I can but only experience will tell.

BLUE SKY STUFF HERE:

Staying home and doing lots of small things- writing books, building arcade cabinets and other woodworking projects to sell, offering in-home personal trainer sessions, hell I’ve considered going to massage school just to increase my knowledge of the human body and have another skill that would transfer to damn near anywhere….. I do see this wearing thin after a time. I don’t need much human interaction but every now and again…. The question is, can I meet that rare need with other things, going to the coffee shop/library/retail establishment etc. and getting some interaction while continuing to work from home?

Buy a tropical smoothie, I love that place. If I liquidated some assets I could open a laundry mat, a 7-11 and tropical smoothie café but that would reduce assets to a point I’m not comfortable with. After growing up lower income, income security/savings are super important (we probably go overboard with it but it’s a personal thing….)

Become an audiobook reader (artist? Not sure of the term). I LOVE to read, I love audiobooks, I love podcasts, I am well spoken, good with tech…. mix it all up and…..

Start a supplement company focusing on truly healthy supplements, higher the homeless/vets who can find work/injured vets who are highly limited.

Start a small diner or café focusing on the “diet of the year” (Paleo this year, who knows what’s next year….)


What I’ll miss about the military (this is probably WAY too in the weeds, just including it in an effort to paint the most detailed picture I can):

-   Comradery and working towards something bigger than me
-   Running a small maintenance work center (my favorite duty ever, running a shop of 12 guys)
-   My current control and freedom (can call and say I’m working from home today, no issues)
-   Mentoring those that come to me for advice. I don’t enjoy having to talk to those who are required to come see me due to getting in trouble OR have to get a piece of paperwork signed off (getting a check in the block and HAVE to come to my office) nearly as much as those seeking wisdom…
-   The pay. I don’t do it for the money but the pay is decent. The job security is nice, although it’s degraded a great deal in the last 8 years.



What I won’t miss about it:

-   The rank structure, having folks “courtesy” to you all day gets tiring! (seriously, I’m a laid-back dude, when I moved up and those in the rank started sucking up because now I’m on the selection boards…. Not cool!)
-   Wearing a uniform. I’ll probably wear the “same thing” everyday upon retiring but it will be comfortable and functional, not an experiment or something I’ll be expected/paid to enforce proper wear of….
-   Writing evaluations, bullshit reports, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!
-   The bureaucracy- aint nothing we can’t turn into a paperwork drill or add some drama to!
-   The constant social experimentation
-   Being asked to accomplish the mission without the tools/equipment/personnel you need, it’s one thing to run on thin margins but to do hundreds of hours of work because you don’t have enough parts for your systems and you have to move them from aircraft to aircraft, inducing maintenance failures and increasing risks, not cool!
-   Continued degradation of ALL benefits including health care/base facilities (I’m surprised I don’t have to pay to use the gym, someone is thinking about it, guaranteed, things are THAT tight!)
-   People trying to kill you (not afraid to die but the object is to make the other guy die, right?)
-   The commute to work, it’s only 20-25 minutes but it can wear on you in this area… I HATE traffic….
-   The age gap between me and 80% of the rest of the service


I hope I haven’t missed anything or miss-represented myself. Honestly, I’m a laid-back dude who loves to learn, doesn’t need much to be happy, loves his family, keeps busy 98% of the day, and hates drama. If I’ve come off as bragging or overbearing, that’s not me in reality but capturing a personality in words can be tough. Thanks for reading (if anyone is still here…)   


« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 06:43:06 AM by help_me_find_my_next »

former player

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You sound pretty switched on to me.  The only thing I would query is your suggestion that you might like to live abroad at some point, I'm not sure it really tallies with what you said about liking limited travel.  On the other hand, you haven't much to lose by trying it, so there's that.

I think you might do better working for yourself rather than being an employee.

Might property management work for you?

Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

economista

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I would recommend looking for a position with GSA (General Services Administration) as a property manager.  You get hiring preference because you were in the military, you have a master's degree so you would qualify for any open positions (they tend to be GS-11, GS-12 or GS-13) and your PMP certification would help a lot as well.  Plus, a lot of the property managers have a separate office at the building they manage, and it is a bit of a solitary position.  It is pretty good for an introvert. 

When you get ready to apply for jobs, just go to usajobs.gov and look for what is available.  Any city that has a federal building will need at least one property manager, and those tend to be "stepping stone" jobs so they usually have quite a few openings.  I don't think there are any right now because of the hiring freeze, but once that is over it's worth a shot!
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FIFoFum

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You've done a great job of presenting the info and analyzing what works for you.

I recently retired from Career Job and downshifted into SWAMI job/position (first one was poor fit, now in second one) - neither Career nor SWAMI field remotely the same as yours. That said, I have a lot of overlap with you in what I enjoy and what I dislike.

I think you are correct to suspect that entry level or hierarchical non-military work (e.g., professional trades that are union based) will not be suited for you. Even though I "knew" what I was getting into by joining an apprentice style SWAMI path, I was still grossly unprepared for how other people would view me in an entry level role as an older "know it all"/get the job done right/work harder than anyone/no-BS type of person. Things that were always seen as positives now don't mesh well with the role or other people. You are right to worry about age gap to co-workers and hierarchy (even if much looser than military). I had thought that working hard and doing a good job would be enough, and it's really not.

I like economista's idea of property management. In general, I'd look much more carefully about the structure of the job or position than the actual thing you do. Anything that allows you some measure of consulting or managing, or where you operate both independent and/or counseling/coaching/teaching are going to be better suited for you. My second SWAMI take is in the same field as my first SWAMI take, but I operate more independently and don't "go to" a specific worksite. I wish I had the camaraderie of the first one, except the same thing that made it so also made it a poor fit for me as a second career/FIRE/middle age dude.
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BetsyS

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i like the teachzing idea. If not community college, if there are good high schools in your area that provide technical training you sound like an ideal candidate: experienced, like teaching and mentoring, no bullshit, no one is going to tell you exactly what to do (depending on what you are teaching)... Probably worth a couple of exploratory conversations. A good school can help you find/create a position that works for you.

help_me_find_my_next

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Thank you to everyone for the feedback to this point.

(I fixed the typo in the third line... I guess copy editor is out...).

As a quick update. I've decided to leave the military (start the transition process) and have come to terms with that decision. I realize that, as a civilian, I'll get "mulligans" if I don't like a trade/line of work (thanks to being SWAMI). That is going to take some getting used to.

BlueHouse

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Thank you to everyone for the feedback to this point.

(I fixed the typo in the third line... I guess copy editor is out...).

As a quick update. I've decided to leave the military (start the transition process) and have come to terms with that decision. I realize that, as a civilian, I'll get "mulligans" if I don't like a trade/line of work (thanks to being SWAMI). That is going to take some getting used to.

I'm late to this conversation, but have you considered project scheduling?  I'll be glad to provide more detail if interested, but I've gone on and on and on about this topic on a few other occasions and I don't want people to think I'm selling something.  It's a great career that you can teach yourself and become proficient at very quickly if you're willing to spend some time in free webinars and reading up on the side.  You can become adequate and get a job with about 1 weeks worth of time, but you can get very good if you try harder. 
Salary is good.  Opportunities are everywhere.  Your experience in military, UAVs, mechanical work, Oil, will open up many industries for you. 
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

Splendid

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Thank you to everyone for the feedback to this point.

(I fixed the typo in the third line... I guess copy editor is out...).

As a quick update. I've decided to leave the military (start the transition process) and have come to terms with that decision. I realize that, as a civilian, I'll get "mulligans" if I don't like a trade/line of work (thanks to being SWAMI). That is going to take some getting used to.

I'm late to this conversation, but have you considered project scheduling?  I'll be glad to provide more detail if interested, but I've gone on and on and on about this topic on a few other occasions and I don't want people to think I'm selling something.  It's a great career that you can teach yourself and become proficient at very quickly if you're willing to spend some time in free webinars and reading up on the side.  You can become adequate and get a job with about 1 weeks worth of time, but you can get very good if you try harder. 
Salary is good.  Opportunities are everywhere.  Your experience in military, UAVs, mechanical work, Oil, will open up many industries for you.

I'm interested in hearing more detail, if you don't mind providing it!

pbkmaine

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What about learning to code? There are many software engineers in this forum who would provide advice, if you started a new thread asking for information on that subject.

stevewisc

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- Tons of great skills.  I didn't see if you are interested in moving?

Some thoughts:

In the machine tool business it seems like there are lots of spots open - I know a couple people that just own a few machines in their garage.  As long as they don't try to grow (add employees) they have a nice business.
 
Handy Man service - even in nowhere Wisconsin these can charge around $50 an hour and you can fire bad customers.
 
Finding some smaller companies and be their part time maintenance/repair guy

Look for small 10-20 person businesses in the area and see if they need a right hand man - an implementer - one who gets shit done.  Seems there is a good need for disciplined folks helping in this size of a business.

If you have the time and cash look at doing some part time contract work for a few places.  -  Starting this way allows you to test each other out plus can set you up to start at a higher level as a 'contractor/consultant' is a different level then new machinist.

Niche construction can cycle to your needs.  Doing basements, decks or sheds only for example.  Need time off - no openings for a few months.  Most good construction folks always bounce up to houses so the people doing the other stuff seem not very impressive. - i.e. poor business skills answer the dang phone and call people back :) 

Lots of businesses for sale too but that can be messy.  I know of a guy in IT that bought into a pest control business - different but some nice numbers from a buy/sell stand point. 

Good luck.

Nords

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What to be when I grow up?

I am coming up on a retirement point after 20+ years in the military and I’m seeking input on possible jobs/careers I might find interesting. I’ve DONE the “find your passion/perfect jobs” books and I’m not that much closer (What color is your parachute/Pathfinder/48 days etc. etc. etc) to a starting solution. If you can offer any specifics about some of the jobs I’ve listed near the end, please do!

I hope I haven’t missed anything or miss-represented myself. Honestly, I’m a laid-back dude who loves to learn, doesn’t need much to be happy, loves his family, keeps busy 98% of the day, and hates drama. If I’ve come off as bragging or overbearing, that’s not me in reality but capturing a personality in words can be tough. Thanks for reading (if anyone is still here…)
Are we related?

I get this question a lot.  I linked a blog post at the bottom of this post.

First there's the big-picture answer to your analysis:  You have to grow older, but you never have to grow up. 

Maybe you don't want a bridge career.  If you're financially independent then maybe all you need to do is take a few months off, spend time with family, and see how you feel.  You'll recover from any chronic fatigue, clear your head, have lots of thoughtful discussions, and eventually work it out.  You don't need to worry that you'll "go stale" or "lose your contact network" or "have a resume gap"... you'll figure it out.

I realize you've read all the books.  The next step (which may or may not work) is using your military base support center's interactive software.  They probably have an office there with skills & assessments surveys, personality & interest questionnaires, and other programs.  (You won't find these programs for free on a website.  They're used by corporations-- and the military-- and they cost real money.)  The idea is not for you to confirm what you already know, but rather to see what surprises those programs will turn up.  Maybe there's a career field that you haven't thought of, or maybe it'll give up and tell you to go home and raise a family.

In my case the afternoon's research revealed that a guy who'd been in the submarine force for nearly 20 years would be an excellent middle-level manager or a nuclear engineer.  Whoa.

When I grumbled about this to my father, he gave me that pitying Red Forman look ("You dumbass...") and asked "Why would you want a bridge career?  Did you save any money over the last 20 years?"  Oh. 

I'd also suggest just taking seven months off.  The significance is the federal ethics rules about being out of the military billet for 180 days before you can take a similar job in the federal civil service or some defense corporations.  As the word filters out through the grapevine Facebook that you're retired from active duty, people will start to e-mail or call you about your plans.  Their "informational networking" over a cup of coffee could easily turn into job interviews.  By the 181st day your phone may light up.

On the financial side, you'll spend your first few months of military retirement giving your spending a thorough scrub.  You think you have your budget tweaked now, but after retirement you'll have even more time to get creative... and to see how your estimates are working out.  You may decide that you have more than enough.

And hey, maybe you really don't need a bridge career.  Maybe you'll figure out your own side-hustle income or maybe you'll just start surfing a lot.
http://the-military-guide.com/eight-reasons-worry-military-retirement/

BTW at my final command, I commuted by bicycle more than by car.  I turned my reserved parking spot into a "Sailor Of The Month" spot, chosen by the department chiefs.  Everyone acknowledged that it was corny, but we're a competitive group and it became a joke worth bragging about.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 10:46:57 AM by Nords »
Author of "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement".   All royalties (and writing revenue) donated to military charities.
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BlueHouse

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Thank you to everyone for the feedback to this point.

(I fixed the typo in the third line... I guess copy editor is out...).

As a quick update. I've decided to leave the military (start the transition process) and have come to terms with that decision. I realize that, as a civilian, I'll get "mulligans" if I don't like a trade/line of work (thanks to being SWAMI). That is going to take some getting used to.

I'm late to this conversation, but have you considered project scheduling?  I'll be glad to provide more detail if interested, but I've gone on and on and on about this topic on a few other occasions and I don't want people to think I'm selling something.  It's a great career that you can teach yourself and become proficient at very quickly if you're willing to spend some time in free webinars and reading up on the side.  You can become adequate and get a job with about 1 weeks worth of time, but you can get very good if you try harder. 
Salary is good.  Opportunities are everywhere.  Your experience in military, UAVs, mechanical work, Oil, will open up many industries for you.

I'm interested in hearing more detail, if you don't mind providing it!
No problem.  Project scheduling is all about figuring out how long a project will take by listing all the tasks that make up the project, estimating the durations (and sometimes resources), sequencing all of the tasks, and coming up with a finish date.   You don't really have to know anything about the subject matter because other people usually tell you the tasks and estimate the durations.  You work a tool (primavera P6, Microsoft Project, etc) and manage the changes as time goes by.  If you do have a basic understanding of the subject matter, then that's even better because you can help troubleshoot problems, but if not, no matter. 
Industries that need schedulers:  Construction, Oil & Gas, Aircraft, spacecraft, vehicles, services, etc. 

How to get there easily:  download a free copy of MS Project and go online and start taking free tutorials.  Join PMI (sorry, there's a plug, but this one's worth it for the training).  There is free online training and free webinars all over the place for MS Project scheduling -- it's everywhere.  Very easy entry to the profession, but not everyone gets good at it.  If you want to get good, you can but you have to work harder than other people.   
Your first job in scheduling can get you 50-75K in Northern VA, Md, or WDC because contracting companies are desperate for billable bodies and they don't care how bad you are at it.  Within a year of working with others and continuing to read other materials outside of work, you can become very good and you can easily get another job for over 100K, but you have to be willing to job-hop after that first job.

There is so much information online about it, if you want it, you can do it with no problem.   

Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

Splendid

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Thanks BlueHouse!

help_me_find_my_next

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No problem.  Project scheduling is all about figuring out how long a project will take by listing all the tasks that make up the project, estimating the durations (and sometimes resources), sequencing all of the tasks, and coming up with a finish date.   You don't really have to know anything about the subject matter because other people usually tell you the tasks and estimate the durations.  You work a tool (primavera P6, Microsoft Project, etc) and manage the changes as time goes by.  If you do have a basic understanding of the subject matter, then that's even better because you can help troubleshoot problems, but if not, no matter. 
Industries that need schedulers:  Construction, Oil & Gas, Aircraft, spacecraft, vehicles, services, etc. 

How to get there easily:  download a free copy of MS Project and go online and start taking free tutorials.  Join PMI (sorry, there's a plug, but this one's worth it for the training).  There is free online training and free webinars all over the place for MS Project scheduling -- it's everywhere.  Very easy entry to the profession, but not everyone gets good at it.  If you want to get good, you can but you have to work harder than other people.   
Your first job in scheduling can get you 50-75K in Northern VA, Md, or WDC because contracting companies are desperate for billable bodies and they don't care how bad you are at it.  Within a year of working with others and continuing to read other materials outside of work, you can become very good and you can easily get another job for over 100K, but you have to be willing to job-hop after that first job.

There is so much information online about it, if you want it, you can do it with no problem.

I thank you as well Bluehouse, that's some good intel!

Funny thing, I'm actually working on the PMP cert and am taking the exam May 10th! I used the Syracuse prep course and they are covering the cost of the exam.

The only bad things is - HOT DAMN IS THERE A LOT TO STUDY! It's as if I'm learning a new language, some of the jargon is 180 from military (especially QA and Quality Control!).

At any rate, from your description, the PMP cert would surely ***(I know, don't call you Shirley!)*** open doors to the work you mention.

Your description of the work doesn't mention if it's something that can be done from home? Does any of it allow for that?

Thanks again and sorry for MY delay in responding, it's been a rough couple of weeks...

help_me_find_my_next

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What about learning to code? There are many software engineers in this forum who would provide advice, if you started a new thread asking for information on that subject.

I have thought about getting back into coding. I've always enjoyed PCs and taught myself basic a VERY long time ago, it's a natural thing for me to get into and I might dabble once I'm full on retired, not sure if I want to do it full time though as it might be that thing that I enjoy as a hobby but hate when it becomes "work".  I can see myself trying it out there (only one way to tell for sure right?) once time allows (the list of things I plan to do upon retirement grows daily!).

Thanks for your feedback!

Sorry for the delay in responding.

help_me_find_my_next

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- Tons of great skills.  I didn't see if you are interested in moving?

Some thoughts:

In the machine tool business it seems like there are lots of spots open - I know a couple people that just own a few machines in their garage.  As long as they don't try to grow (add employees) they have a nice business.
 
Handy Man service - even in nowhere Wisconsin these can charge around $50 an hour and you can fire bad customers.
 
Finding some smaller companies and be their part time maintenance/repair guy

Look for small 10-20 person businesses in the area and see if they need a right hand man - an implementer - one who gets shit done.  Seems there is a good need for disciplined folks helping in this size of a business.

If you have the time and cash look at doing some part time contract work for a few places.  -  Starting this way allows you to test each other out plus can set you up to start at a higher level as a 'contractor/consultant' is a different level then new machinist.

Niche construction can cycle to your needs.  Doing basements, decks or sheds only for example.  Need time off - no openings for a few months.  Most good construction folks always bounce up to houses so the people doing the other stuff seem not very impressive. - i.e. poor business skills answer the dang phone and call people back :) 

Lots of businesses for sale too but that can be messy.  I know of a guy in IT that bought into a pest control business - different but some nice numbers from a buy/sell stand point. 

Good luck.

Thanks for the feedback Steve!

Sorry for my delay in responding.

We don't plan on moving for 2-4 years, we have one more kid to get through H/S and started on next phase of life, then we are "world-wide assignable"!

Your ideas for small place/part time repair guy is really intriguing to me. I'm going to blanket the local stores/buildings/small businesses to see who needs something like that or your other suggestion, the "get shit done guy", who is in walking distance, and who needs part time help only, who won't be too "clingy" or take too many free ram cycles (I'm tired of being "at work" 24x7!).

Thanks again for the ideas. I appreciate the time you took to provide them.

help_me_find_my_next

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Are we related?

I get this question a lot.  I linked a blog post at the bottom of this post.

First there's the big-picture answer to your analysis:  You have to grow older, but you never have to grow up. 

Maybe you don't want a bridge career.  If you're financially independent then maybe all you need to do is take a few months off, spend time with family, and see how you feel.  You'll recover from any chronic fatigue, clear your head, have lots of thoughtful discussions, and eventually work it out.  You don't need to worry that you'll "go stale" or "lose your contact network" or "have a resume gap"... you'll figure it out.

I realize you've read all the books.  The next step (which may or may not work) is using your military base support center's interactive software.  They probably have an office there with skills & assessments surveys, personality & interest questionnaires, and other programs.  (You won't find these programs for free on a website.  They're used by corporations-- and the military-- and they cost real money.)  The idea is not for you to confirm what you already know, but rather to see what surprises those programs will turn up.  Maybe there's a career field that you haven't thought of, or maybe it'll give up and tell you to go home and raise a family.

In my case the afternoon's research revealed that a guy who'd been in the submarine force for nearly 20 years would be an excellent middle-level manager or a nuclear engineer.  Whoa.

When I grumbled about this to my father, he gave me that pitying Red Forman look ("You dumbass...") and asked "Why would you want a bridge career?  Did you save any money over the last 20 years?"  Oh. 

I'd also suggest just taking seven months off.  The significance is the federal ethics rules about being out of the military billet for 180 days before you can take a similar job in the federal civil service or some defense corporations.  As the word filters out through the grapevine Facebook that you're retired from active duty, people will start to e-mail or call you about your plans.  Their "informational networking" over a cup of coffee could easily turn into job interviews.  By the 181st day your phone may light up.

On the financial side, you'll spend your first few months of military retirement giving your spending a thorough scrub.  You think you have your budget tweaked now, but after retirement you'll have even more time to get creative... and to see how your estimates are working out.  You may decide that you have more than enough.

And hey, maybe you really don't need a bridge career.  Maybe you'll figure out your own side-hustle income or maybe you'll just start surfing a lot.
http://the-military-guide.com/eight-reasons-worry-military-retirement/

BTW at my final command, I commuted by bicycle more than by car.  I turned my reserved parking spot into a "Sailor Of The Month" spot, chosen by the department chiefs.  Everyone acknowledged that it was corny, but we're a competitive group and it became a joke worth bragging about.

Thanks as always Nord!

I'm working through the post you linked to and other parts of your site (again, I visit it often).

I really appreciate the voice you provide to those of us going through the transition. I've actually got a back-burner project that I'd like to reach out and include you in at some point (I'm so tired of hearing E7 and above tell me they are scared to get out due to finances, it's because they didn't start taking the right actions soon enough and found themselves stuck as they neared 20, stuck and driving a 40,000 truck, we [the military] HAVE to get better at giving members more/better/earlier training on how to do what you and several others "around here" have done, hence my idea to provide another point of view/book/blog??? not sure of the format but I want to try and help others put themselves in a position to walk away when THEY want to, to walk away from the golden handcuffs the military pension teases, lots more to follow, when time allows :).

It is interesting that the longer I served the more I chilled out. Maybe it was learning different coping mechanisms, dabbling in stoicism (Thoughts of a philosophical fighter pilot changed my life!) or just getting edumacated on leadership and management, either way, the more years in, the more "chill dude" I became, the point that I REALLY have to get out due to the stifling nature of the organization....

I will follow up with the software you mention and see what leads it generates.

You are right about the time off and consideration of not picking up a 2nd full time career. The idea of leaving the military on a Monday and picking up that "sit here, surf the net for eight hours, go home" job on Monday is even less appealing than staying in (how do they do it!?!?!).

My current idea is to take 3-9 months off in a mini-retirement, catch up on the list that I started of things I want to do/work on once retired (followed your advice from one of the fientist's podcasts) and explore things. I have the ability to supervise myself, it's not going to turn into 3 months of youtube videos and facebook updates...

Probably my biggest hurdle here (the don't get a  second career idea, have several side-hustles and just enjoy life)..... is probably COMNAVAIRWIFE. We are actually working through this now, while washing dishes the other night I finally got her to admit that she's jealous of the idea that I'll have the "luxury" (earned after 24 years...) of staying home but it comes with the cost of lower income. In addition, since our pay will drop around 50K, it means that we have to pay a little more attention to the "MISC spending" category (we save most of that 50K.... it goes away, we drop the savings rates and keep on...), something I have zero issue with but she's nervous about, I can get "over-analytical" and she doesn't want to feel constrained by lower pay, not having as much discretionary spending freedom, and feeling like I'm questioning every dollar she spends (and she doesn't spend that much, we are both frugal but every now and then a trip to walgreens because we didn't plan well and don't want to go somewhere cheaper, that sort of thing....).

In addition, I believe that she would be perfectly fine with me taking on a job I don't like, putting on a suit and tie, driving 45 minutes across town, and working a job that sucks the rest of the life out of me, if it provided more financial security (lots of "need for security" stuff going on here, we are working it....). And lastly, she and I both have tremendous work ethics, she developed hers watching her father, I developed mine from the military and (I think) she actually views me as LAZY for wanting to take the time off. Bottom line, I think she's jealous, sees me as potentially lazy, and is worried about the financial constraints/loss of freedom, all things we are working... slowly.... I think the only true solution is for me to prove to her that I'm going to use the time to mentally re-charge, finish up a lot of projects around the house etc. and start earning a little side-hustle cash to provide more cushion (not that we need it, we are in a stupid good position no matter how you look at it, by staying home I spend LESS on gas/maintenance and can focus more on saving on groceries etc... once again, that won't "show" until I prove it to her). I'm actually going to work those side-hustle income streams before I retire, hopefully meeting that security need sooner rather than later.

Have you ran into that much, the spouse opposes leaving the military/not working due to fear of the "loss of a paycheck twice a month"?

Thanks as always Nord!


Nords

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I really appreciate the voice you provide to those of us going through the transition. I've actually got a back-burner project that I'd like to reach out and include you in at some point (I'm so tired of hearing E7 and above tell me they are scared to get out due to finances, it's because they didn't start taking the right actions soon enough and found themselves stuck as they neared 20, stuck and driving a 40,000 truck, we [the military] HAVE to get better at giving members more/better/earlier training on how to do what you and several others "around here" have done, hence my idea to provide another point of view/book/blog??? not sure of the format but I want to try and help others put themselves in a position to walk away when THEY want to, to walk away from the golden handcuffs the military pension teases, lots more to follow, when time allows :).
Have you seen the Bogleheads financial literacy project?  A portion of that is specifically for military, and a few servicemembers have already contributed their curriculum to the archives.  They're available for anyone who wants to copy their material and use it for their own presentations. 

Start here:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleheads%C2%AE_financial_literacy_project#Military
and then scroll down a few screens to the bottom of the "Member Supplied Material" for the military presentations.

Probably my biggest hurdle here (the don't get a  second career idea, have several side-hustles and just enjoy life)..... is probably COMNAVAIRWIFE. We are actually working through this now, while washing dishes the other night I finally got her to admit that she's jealous of the idea that I'll have the "luxury" (earned after 24 years...) of staying home but it comes with the cost of lower income. In addition, since our pay will drop around 50K, it means that we have to pay a little more attention to the "MISC spending" category (we save most of that 50K.... it goes away, we drop the savings rates and keep on...), something I have zero issue with but she's nervous about, I can get "over-analytical" and she doesn't want to feel constrained by lower pay, not having as much discretionary spending freedom, and feeling like I'm questioning every dollar she spends (and she doesn't spend that much, we are both frugal but every now and then a trip to walgreens because we didn't plan well and don't want to go somewhere cheaper, that sort of thing....).

In addition, I believe that she would be perfectly fine with me taking on a job I don't like, putting on a suit and tie, driving 45 minutes across town, and working a job that sucks the rest of the life out of me, if it provided more financial security (lots of "need for security" stuff going on here, we are working it....). And lastly, she and I both have tremendous work ethics, she developed hers watching her father, I developed mine from the military and (I think) she actually views me as LAZY for wanting to take the time off. Bottom line, I think she's jealous, sees me as potentially lazy, and is worried about the financial constraints/loss of freedom, all things we are working... slowly.... I think the only true solution is for me to prove to her that I'm going to use the time to mentally re-charge, finish up a lot of projects around the house etc. and start earning a little side-hustle cash to provide more cushion (not that we need it, we are in a stupid good position no matter how you look at it, by staying home I spend LESS on gas/maintenance and can focus more on saving on groceries etc... once again, that won't "show" until I prove it to her). I'm actually going to work those side-hustle income streams before I retire, hopefully meeting that security need sooner rather than later.

Have you ran into that much, the spouse opposes leaving the military/not working due to fear of the "loss of a paycheck twice a month"?

Thanks as always Nord!
Yep.  You're approaching this from a position of abundance, while hers may have more to do with scarcity and insecurity.

There's a widespread (and justified) fear among women of the "Bag Lady Syndrome".  After following your career for a couple decades, where she may have been largely without opportunities to develop long-term advanced career skills of her own, it's quite common to fear that the whole house of cards could come tumbling down.  Men & women are also susceptible to "imposter syndrome" where you find it hard to believe that you really have earned enough money to live the rest of your life without having to work until you drop.

Other spouses (of both genders) may feel that you need to provide more than a lifetime of financial constraints.  After all, everyone else they know is going on to a bridge career and earning the six-figure big bucks to pay for the bigger house, the better vehicle, the college degrees, and a lifetime of financial security.  It's very hard to believe that it can be done on "just" a military pension.  Or else everyone would be doing it, right?  Right.

The spouse (again of both genders) may be rightfully concerned that they finally have the household running just the way it should, and the last thing they need is you peering over their shoulder offering helpful suggestions...

The best way to deal with these concerns is to worry constructively.  It would really help if you attend TAP together to hear all of the presentations and then share (with each other) your interpretations of what's important.  It also helps to just keep discussing the budget along with your goals & plans. 

The reality is that when you leave active duty, the two of you will have the time (and energy) to go over all of your expenses and decide what you want to change.  It's quite likely that spending will rise for a year or two as you get caught up on family time or home-improvement projects.  It's also widely expected that after the first year or two you'll see your spending decline as you continue to cut out the waste.  Just being able to travel during off-peak periods and use AirBnB apartments instead of resort hotels is a huge savings.

Having said that, it's perfectly reasonable to keep in mind that someday you may get a chance to work on a part-time project that you'll find challenging & fulfilling.  You might not even think of it as a job, but $20K/year will handle a lot of lifestyle upgrades.  It's also possible that she may decide to spread her wings and begin her own career-- in which case it would be wise for you to greet her at the end of the workday with your spotless house and your home-cooked dinner on the table. 

See whether these posts spark a constructive discussion:
http://the-military-guide.com/myths-of-military-retirement-and-early-retirement/
http://the-military-guide.com/financial-myths-of-retirement-part-1-of-2/


Author of "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement".   All royalties (and writing revenue) donated to military charities.
I don't read every post, so please PM or e-mail me to get my attention...

Goldielocks

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I'm a little late, but I can't help thinking you would be awesome at running your own small business in trades.

Step 1 - get journeyman level in your chosen trade -- choose something with a bit of math in it, like electrical, refrigeration/hvac, or even plumber.   (something that people that live near to you may want to pay for from time to time).

Step 2.  It takes a couple of years to get through step 1 including field work.   So now you have contacts.  Now you start up your own business with all those skills that you have.   You can do this before you have the journeyman level, but that would make estimating much easier.

Step 3 - focus on small commercial and residential projects.   hire a small team.   so very many trades persons do not want to do the estimating or run the business side, but it sounds like a natural to you.  Keep the business small so that you are on the job site a lot and not behind a desk.   Run the books out of your home office.