Author Topic: Dilemma: Separating military..go for Master's Degree or take friend's job offer?  (Read 7550 times)

dontwannaworkforever

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Warning! Longcat post ahead. Thanks ahead of time for reading this novel...

I figured I would post my dilemma here because it rests in my head everyday and I think it would be beneficial for me to see some outside perspective. I am 24 years old, almost 25. I have 6 months to prepare for the options explained below:

Where I am at now:

I am currently Active Duty in the military making E-4 with dependent pay. I am separating from Active Duty next June of 2016. I have used the military's tuition assistance since I joined to complete my associates degree and nearly finish my Bachelors degree in Business (Finance concentration) without using much of my GI bill benefits. I will finish my degree in June as well.

I'm still fairly new to the FIRE Concept but my stache' goal is $750,000 (30k a year) and retire abroad in the Philippines with my wife who is from this foreign country. 30k goes quite far in her country! We also have a newborn son together and one day want more kids (3 max). I also have a very very lofty goal of retiring at 35 years old. Some say I should just stay in the military but for personal reasons I am separating.

Here is how I am looking financially:

* No real estate property
* Fully paid off 2004 Honda Civic (lots of mileage though)
* Emergency Savings: $4,700
* TSP Account: $2,000
* Roth IRA with my Credit Union: $11,400
* Brokerage account with my Credit Union: $26,000
* Total Above: $44,100

My savings rate averages about 25%. My priority right now is to get 6 months of living expenses saved up for my new life transition. I am aiming for 12k (I'm assuming 2000 a month of living expenses). I'm sure I can achieve this before next June.

The Dilemma

Option 1: New Job (low pay at first but high growth potential depending on performance)

The job I am being offered with a friend of mine in my home state is not going to pay much at first and hardly has any benefits; however, the catch is that there is a huge potential for growth with hard work. The job is commission based and not on salary. My friend went from making maybe a few hundred a month to now he is set to make over $100k for the year. Lets just say the position is in sales and marketing (its not cars but I couldn't describe exactly what they do yet; I was just told I can walk in and get the job). Additionally, my friend was very adamant that I will develop great interpersonal communication and leadership skills that he argues I can't find much elsewhere. These skills could be very useful for me.

The dilemma here is estimating my expenses and wondering if I am going to make enough money to even live on. He told me if I do an average job in sales (from what he sees from new hires) I can start out making about $900 every 2 weeks (after taxes). So that puts me at $1800 income each month.

I'm aiming for my first mustachian lifestyle change and I plan on either walking or riding my bike to my new employment. My friend says I can easily get an apartment for about $1000 a month near the work so we will go with that.

My "conservative" estimated monthly expenses therefore are:

* Rent: $1000
* Electricity: $120
* Water: $50
* Phone/Internet/netflix: $100
* Food: $400
* Car (gas + maintenance): $100
* Other Expenses: $400
* In-law Support: $190
* Healthcare: $?
Total Expenses: $2,360 not counting healthcare
(for other expenses I lump things like baby diapers, going out to eat, toothpaste, etc; usually I am below this number as I use conservative estimates)

So when I do income - expenses I am ending up with -$560 and that doesn't even include healthcare :( . Not good. The in-law support is something my wife and I have been supporting for over a year now; it is an expected thing in her culture and I won't get into it here. Like mentioned earlier, where she is from the money goes very far and it helps out a lot. Anyhow... even if I manage to cut down far on the other expenses I'm going to be barely scraping by or negative. My wife currently doesn't work yet because we have a newborn son and finding work is hard when she is not a full U.S. citizen yet (If you have any online work suggestions I'm all up for those! So is she).

So in this math we are making negative cash flow and can't save anything...however if my job pans out really well and I get promoted once (like my friend says should take about 6-9 months) I'm going to see quite a significant jump in pay and should be pulling in $2,000 every 2 weeks after taxes.

Option 2: Use my GI Bill benefits to go for full-time Master's Program

So my second option is to not take the job offer and go back to school full-time to get my Masters in Business (MBA) or to get my Masters in Finance (MF). The big benefit here is that I can collect a housing allowance of $2,000 a month and a book stipend of $1,000 (total). While I am still negative because of expenses, I should be able to get a part-time job or find work at the university. I also know most universities have healthcare benefits. School is only for 8 months though for those other 4 months I still have to figure something else out. It would take me about 2 years to finish my Masters degree. I believe I will also have to take the GMAT and some extra introductory courses because my bachelors degree comes from a regionally accredited private school that may not be easy to transfer all credits.

Option 3: Settle into some other construction work or a government job

This will be short but I feel its worth mentioning. In the military, I do construction work. I don't like my job but its a useful skill. I have a security clearance and veteran status so I can scrap both options above and find a stable government job in my home state. This is the easiest route to take but the reason I say settle is because it is something I don't want to do even though financially it could makes sense. Also getting a government job could be easier said then done.

Choices...choices...

So there you have it...I can either begin new employment and have the POTENTIAL to make very good money while struggling hard in 2016-2017 or I can go for my Masters Degree and MAYBE find a decent paying job afterwards and not struggle as much during 2016-2017.

What I am thinking about doing?: My current answer right now is to take my friend's job offer and if it doesn't work out and my savings were draining fast I could then jump ship and go get my Master's. The benefit here is I'll gain some professional skills and more work experience (other then military) in that short-term; however, the huge drawback is I'm down $10,000+ and I didn't save any money or invest for the year.

Any advice is welcomed.

Playing with Fire UK

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The job with your friend sounds like my personal idea of hell. "Developing interpersonal communication and leadership skills" sounds like code for 'learn how to sell crap no-one needs'; "(its not cars but I couldn't describe exactly what they do yet; I was just told I can walk in and get the job)" sounds like phone sex work. I might be totally wrong, you have more information than me and know more about how much you can trust this friend, but this is a massive alarm sound to me.

What would you do after the MBA or MF? Does business/finance interest you? Maybe look for the sort of jobs you could do after this and see what appeals?

I think you are really narrowing down your options with the three you've presented; there are lots of other jobs out there. If you hate construction you can do something else - but is there anything construction-related that you would like to do? What do you like and dislike about it? Would it be different if you were working for yourself/sat at a desk/supervising others?

You are in a good place for your age, and the outline of your plan has potential. Good luck

lizzzi

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I would run the other way from that job with your friend. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, as the previous poster said.

A Masters isn't a bad idea if you've got a very concrete idea of what you're going to do with it. Don't get it just to have a piece of paper to hang on the wall in a frame.

My gut feeling without analyzing it too closely is: Why not just think about what you would like to do in terms of employment...and where you and your wife would like to live...and just go in that direction. You've got a newborn, you want more kids, I bet you'd like to get some enjoyment out of life after getting out of the military...just look for a decent job without all the warning bells and live your life and enjoy it. It sounds like you are doing fine so far. Don't drive yourself crazy with iffy jobs and going back to school with no purpose.

MsPeacock

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I would not take the job with a friend. It sounds like selling water filtering systems or carpet cleaners door to door. Those types of jobs eat people up and spit them out and almost no one is successful at them.

A masters degree would be a much better choice, as long as it is in an area in which you want to work. Certain to offer better opportunities than the job with a friend. Most masters programs are designed with evening and weekend classes, so that people who work can attend. I would suggest looking for a job in your chosen career field.

You have veterans hiring preference or govt jobs, so maybe look in that direction.

monstermonster

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There are a lot of jobs that prefer veterans and security clearance that AREN'T federal gov't jobs - such as your home state gov't, local municipal gov't jobs, and corporations that aren't necessarily military contractors exclusively but know they want to hire vets. Check out veteran hiring sites & fairs.

As others have said, run the other way FAST from your friend's job.  You have a young family to support and a big gamble is not the way to go.

Do you actually want an MBA/MF or do you just think that's a good bet for a job? Because better to use your GI Bill on something that you want to do than a random master's degree that seems "safe" (an MBA without a clear plan isn't any safer than w/o an MBA).

What do you want to do for work? Do you know?

AccidentalMiser

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Please do yourself and the world a favor and don't become a salesman.

You are in an admirable position.  Congratulations!  Go get your MBA of MF degree and make some real jack, then off to the Philippines with you!

By the way, this is from an old Navy vet who found himself in a similar situation and took the job.  Big mistake.  It's taken me years to get caught up on my education and I'll never catch up on the money.  If I had done what I've advised you to do, I would have been out by 40.  Now, I'm hoping to retire at 55.

Best of luck to you and thank you for your service!

RFAAOATB

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Once again, that job sounds like BULLSHIT!!!

After running out of money post active separation, I was able to get my Masters with a high percentage of GI Bill money while working a government job for full time job money, and National Guard for part time job money.

Be like me minus the couple years of losing money.  Transfer to the reserves if you absolutely can not stand the idea of staying active and can't commission after getting your bachelors.  Tricare for you and your family covers 80% of the health bills for $216 a month.  Get a safe government job, and take as much night school as you can handle as the stipend is based on percentage of credit hours.  I was only able to stomach half the required credits but the half stipend was still a nice bonus.

Also, run towards that gold bar as soon as you get your bachelors.  And see if a VA loan will help you build equity in your home for a big cash out when you finally move overseas.

purple monkey

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Can you do both?
Maybe go to school part-time and give the job a shot?
I am very skeptical too, but 100K would really help you fire quickly.
Good luck.

mdharmandm

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Also, run towards that gold bar as soon as you get your bachelors.  And see if a VA loan will help you build equity in your home for a big cash out when you finally move overseas.

Run towards the gold bar???????

NOOO!!! Please think about what aspects you like about your job in the military first. Yes, the money is inciting. As an O-3 Submarine officer, I think I am paid fairly well (give me another year, when I am back on the boat and I might have a completely different outlook on my compensation vs. work) but my job as a Junior officer and soon to be Department head is largely a paper pusher. I can't specifically speak for your field, but if you like getting your hands dirty, doing the actual work, and finding creative ways to solve problems, maybe trying to get those gold bars is not the way to go. You will deal a lot more with the admin side of things, personnel problems, and such. I won't say don't go for it, but just take a look at what your officers actually do and not the money. Try to talk to them and find out their quality of life first. Maybe you like dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Perhaps I am biased, due to having to be the CRA for the entire time I was on my sub (I think there is at least one other submarine guy on the forum here. My biggest fear in like right now is that I will become the ENG.)

Just food for thought.

svndezafrohman

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Find a job in finance before getting an MBA in Finance.

Work is different from school. You might not like finance once you are in it. (it can get pretty bland).

It will keep your options open since if you don't like the finance work, you still have your GI Bill to pursue other career / degrees.

Adventine

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With a newborn, a stay at home wife and extended family all dependent on your financial support, I'd say get the best-paying job you can find, and take a relevant degree on the side.

I'm living in the Philippines, and I'm telling you now, the requests for financial support from extended family are going to increase, not decrease, once you relocate here. And if you tell them you've saved enough to retire at what is to most people a ridiculously young age, you're going to cement your status as the filthy rich American who can afford to give (not lend) any amount of money.

Speaking from experience as a semi-closeted Mustachian seeking to FIRE on a Third World income.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 05:31:22 PM by Adventine »

Capt Stubble

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There really isn't enough information to give much advice, but here are some of the things I would consider if I were in your shoes.

What don't you like about the military? Are the guard or reserves viable options? If so, would it be worth looking in to cross training to a career field you'd enjoy more? As well as one that has transferable skills in the civilian world?

What don't you like about your construction job? Do you supervise others? or are you the worker bee? Would you enjoy applying your knowledge in that field if you were the boss?

What is it about finance that attracts you?

The only advise I have is to think long and hard about your retirement in the Philippines. Unless your wife's family is upper middle class (doctors, lawyers) or higher, you'll be the go to guy for endless financial requests. I'd consider living in Thailand or Vietnam to maintain healthy boundaries, and it's still convenient to visit as often as you'd like.

Villanelle

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I think I'd keep looking for a different job.  With both of your plans creating negative cash flow, I don't think you've found the right option yet.  I think Option 2 is the closest to a viable plan, but you can keep looking and see if you can find a non-constrcution job that will actually pay your bills and might also interest you at least somewhat.  And then you can attend school part time.  It will eat through your GI Bill more quickly since the benefit is time based (so taking on class a semester and taking 4 classes a semester both use the same amount), but it will get you pointed in the direction you seem to want to be, and add supplemental income as well.

Vee2001

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Be careful and do research before using your GI Bill.  You only get to use it once.  I've seen too many people burn it on a useless degrees and then end up with a $25k/year job.  Also, my understanding is that you can use it for a trade skill (doesn't have to be a BS or MS).

Take a look at Reserves/National Guard.  Makes you a bit of extra money, potential permanent full-time position, part-time work almost whenever you want and opportuntiy for long-term "temp" full-time work (back-fill an open position / back-fill for someone that deployed / deploy yourself).  Sometimes sign-on or re-enlistment bonus depending on career field.

Work with one of the big government contractors (think Halliburton) and do overseas work.  I've worked with the type and know quite a few that were making $150k-$300k while never leaving a major base.  That type of position has died down quite a bit but there are still some out there.

Find an area with a good real estate market and people with careers that pay enough to throw decent money around (Seattle/Portland/SF Bay Area/LA Area/Denver/etc).  Work various residential/commercial construction positions and build a network (painter/drywall/electrician/foundation/architect/etc/etc) and a good reputation.  Become a general contractor or open your own company doing specialized work.  Small Business Association has special loans for Veteran's starting their own small business.

Take a realistic look at your goals.  You want to make $700k in 9 years but don't have an inside line for a $100k+/year job.  You will need to work yourself to the bone if you want to meet that goal.  To me, it's not worth it to go that hard core.  You'll lose years off your life from the stress. 

Also, don't forget to account for inflation.  $750k today is something like $865k in 10 years and $1M in 20 years (if inflation is low).

mxt0133

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Congratulations on the new born.  You have a lot of things going on and there has been some great advice  posted.

To start I would be very hesitant to jump on that job with your friend.  If you know him and trust him, then I would find out as much as I could about the position.

With regard to an MBA, unless you already have an job in Finance, or are going to the top schools for the 2 year program then it will be worthless to you in the short to mid-term.  I know people that spent over $100K plus two years of their lives doing the MBA with a vague notion of being a trader or investment banker that are doing jobs they could have gotten with out the degree, debt and time out of the workforce.  I have an MBA and for the most part it would be more useful as toilet paper.  However, I didn't do it expecting I was going to somehow start making millions.  I already had a high paying job, it was mostly funded by my employer, and I did it part-time while working full-time.

I'm not saying that it wouldn't be useful to you in the future but since you want to retire in 10 years. Taking 2 years to study and not have any solid job prospects is just to risky for me especially with a new family and extended family to support.

Moving on to the new family and extended family.  I too come from the Philippines and know all about the "in-law support".  As Adventine said:

I'm living in the Philippines, and I'm telling you now, the requests for financial support from extended family are going to increase, not decrease, once you relocate here. And if you tell them you've saved enough to retire at what is to most people a ridiculously young age, you're going to cement your status as the filthy rich American who can afford to give (not lend) any amount of money.

Again, it will never stop and will only go up.  Since you have already opened up those flood gates it will be very difficult for you to say no for future requests, especially if you and your wife are not on the same page.  Most families in the same situation now see your wife as having essentially hit the lottery, especially with a new baby, it will in most cases be a lottery that pays out for a lifetime.  It will start with the monthly assistance, do you wonder how they ever managed to get by without it?  Then it will be for a special occasion, like a graduation, new birth, marriage, ect.  Then it will evolve into assistance for school or a new business, what is $1000 here or there to put someone through college that can significantly improve a relatives life.  Then when an medical emergency hits, which it will as the parents get older, how do you say no to your wife when it will literally save her parents/relatives life?

This is how it ends up most of time unless you set up strong boundaries from the beginning.  I'm not saying this from a place of resentment or higher moral authority.  You just have to understand that is how it is in most third world countries.  It's not because they are greedy or just waiting to pounce on an mark, when you have very few options you have to rely on family and friends to help you out.  There are no social services or safety nets, in my country if you don't have the money to pay for medical care, the have not problems kicking you out of the hospital, and I don't mean that figuritvely either.

So I would do my best to get on the same page with your wife with regards to your goals.  FIRE and extended family support don't normally mix well.  Oh, and if your wife is more on the emotional side vs logical, then you are in for a bumpy ride, believe me I know.

Also don't limit your self to the three choices above try to find something that will fulfill all of your goals, find a good paying job that will allow you to go to school part-time and use your GI bill to get a higher paying job in a few years.  If you keep your expenses low then you will have more options as you build up your stash and grow your family.

MMMaybe

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Have you spent much time in the Philippines OP? From the perspective of an expat who lives here, I will tell you that it is not the easiest place to live.

The extended family will be much more involved in your lives than is typical in the West and I agree with the PPs who noted that the requests for money will be frequent. The British guy who lives across the hall from us has what seems to be a couple family members there full time and just now over Christmas, I think I counted an extra 5 or 6 visitors crammed in...

Yes, you could live on very little on certain parts of the country but it will be a fairly bare bones existence. We see a lot of older guys retiring down here with minimal social security and I don't wish to be in their shoes. If you want some Western comforts, it may cost more than you are expecting.

Fishindude

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The options you lay out don't not sound very promising. 
a. Take a long shot job opportunity with a buddy and be broke.
b. Earn a masters degree that you don't have any plans for and be broke.

I think you should stay in the military for another hitch to give yourself time to get some clear direction about what it is that you really want to do with your life.  You have a family to care for and not much in financial reserves.

Thousands of different career options in construction that you already have some knowledge and experience in, and companies are starved for good new talent.  There is surely a job in this industry that would suit you.   Once you leave the military, I'd stay away from government jobs and work in the private sector.  Many more opportunities and much better top end potential.

davisgang90

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The job with your friend sounds radioactive - avoid.

I'd hold off on the MBA until you have a defined job that requires it.

If you are set on getting out after your enlistment, I'd use your vet status to get a government job (local, state etc.).

Don't recommend the officer route if you aren't enjoying yourself as an enlisted man.

Thanks for your service!

Playing with Fire UK

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Drifterrider

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Is your GPA 3.5 or higher OR are you in the top 10% of your graduating class OR are you a member of a National Honor Society (college level)?


dontwannaworkforever

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Okay thanks for your responses guys and I really appreciate it. This thread honestly really helped clear a lot of things in my head and put me at ease with a few things and I have a much better idea of what I wanna do...

I decided to not go into work with my friend. He is my best friend and I have known him for 9 years now and that is exactly why I decided I can't work with him. I like our relationship as is and honestly I don't really wanna be a salesman. I have a fairly introverted personality and knowing how much little time I have on this Earth I wanna pursue something I am pretty good at and I like.

I am really good with numbers; a natural at math and I chose finance because I like working with dollar figures, analyzing things, playing with Excel. The greatest feeling I ever have was my first couple of good stock investments (though I do just index funds now because I'm shifting my focus to real estate) and helping a deployed member get out of debt. I helped this guy go from -15k in the hole to having all his debt paid off (credit cards + motorcycle) and he even put away money for his TSP (at 39 years old he NEVER put into it...I was flabbergasted but consider that many Americans don't even have $1,000 in savings). Anyhow, the point here is I like working with money and people. I pursued a degree in Finance because I wanna be a financial planner one day. I found this forum because I was searching things like financial independence and ways to save money.

Secondly; about my extended family. Yes supporting my wife's family is something that "sorta" comes with being married to a Filipino. I say sort-of because while I acknowledge that they "lived fine before they met me" its just something I have come to accept as part of my wife's culture. My in-laws live in a 2-bedroom house (small rooms like a queen size bed can fit and that is IT) with a tiny kitchen and bathroom; the roof is leaking bad, the house probably isn't structurally sound, and there is 9 of them living there. I send money monthly to help cover electricity and water so the family can focus on just affording food and any other necessities though I did send money once for a wedding (which I didn't mind because my extended family went HUGE on my wedding). They're all really decent people and I don't feel as if they leach; most of them work and provide for themselves. Key here is though when I married my wife I took away someone who made the most money out of all of them because she worked at an American call center so she was pulling twice the minimum wage (which is a lot from her town). With this all being said I do have my boundaries and wife and I are on the same page that we aren't sending any "play" money. My fear is there house though; and I know we're gonna have to help out at some point...possibly soon.

Lastly; I decided to start applying for government jobs. I would really strike gold if I can find something, even entry-level, that had a 401k option. I'm not gonna restrict myself to Maryland I decided; just gonna go where the money is at in this direction and once I find my employment I'm gonna look for apartments near-by (or possibly use my VA loan for a small house). If my job requires that I need to get masters I can use my GI bill then.

Once again; thanks for all the replies. It helped me quite a bit!

Adventine

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Good luck! Hope it all turns out well for you.

mxt0133

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You sound like you someone who is mature beyond your age.  I think you and your will be fine in life regardless of the direction you choose.

With regard to you your plan to become a financial planner, you will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree if you go for any of the certifications, CFP, ChFA, CPA, ect.  So get that government job and get your bachelor's, do it online if you have to, you just need that piece of paper from an accredited school.

I also have plans to become a financial planner, however after taking the CFP courses, it clarified a lot of what you will actually be doing and the clients you will be dealing with.  Unfortunately for the most part you will not be working with people that are in debt, because well they can't afford your services and their finances are just not complex enough.  You will be working for self-employed, well to do people that require financial planning because their finances are complex and need optimization.  You will also have to sell, even if you go down the fee only route.  You will have to work on your listening and communication skills, which I think everyone should work on anyways, to effectively understand your clients needs and help them.

I'm not trying to dissuade you, just giving you the lay of the land so to speak.  PM me if you want additional information.

Congratulations again on the new family and if you keep you expenses low you will have no problem retiring within 10 years.  Just remember how other people live, like your wife's family back home and that should keep things into perspective for you.  That's what I do when family and friends comment on our current living situation, 5 people in a 650sf one bedroom.  I just think back to how I used to live and suddenly my place is more than enough for my family.

lizzzi

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It sounds like you've got a good head on your shoulders and have put together a sensible, workable plan. All the best to you and your family--it sounds like you're going to do just fine.

Villanelle

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Lastly; I decided to start applying for government jobs. I would really strike gold if I can find something, even entry-level, that had a 401k option. I'm not gonna restrict myself to Maryland I decided; just gonna go where the money is at in this direction and once I find my employment I'm gonna look for apartments near-by (or possibly use my VA loan for a small house). If my job requires that I need to get masters I can use my GI bill then.

Once again; thanks for all the replies. It helped me quite a bit!

Look for GS jobs.  I don't know the details but there is an option to buy your military service time and add it to your GS service time for the pension.  If you think you'll likely work until the GS pension kicks in, this could be huge, though of course you'd want to run the numbers. If you plan on FIREing before the pension would apply, then of course it is a moot point.  Also, you'd get veteran's hiring preference with GS jobs which can only help.

And another hearsay suggestion.  I am naturally skeptical of headhunters, but several friends and acquaintances who got out after finishing their enlistment had great luck with them.  I'm not sure it can hurt as one aspect of your job search, so researching the best one for your circumstances and then contacting might be worth it. 

mm1970

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Also, run towards that gold bar as soon as you get your bachelors.  And see if a VA loan will help you build equity in your home for a big cash out when you finally move overseas.

Run towards the gold bar???????

NOOO!!! Please think about what aspects you like about your job in the military first. Yes, the money is inciting. As an O-3 Submarine officer, I think I am paid fairly well (give me another year, when I am back on the boat and I might have a completely different outlook on my compensation vs. work) but my job as a Junior officer and soon to be Department head is largely a paper pusher. I can't specifically speak for your field, but if you like getting your hands dirty, doing the actual work, and finding creative ways to solve problems, maybe trying to get those gold bars is not the way to go. You will deal a lot more with the admin side of things, personnel problems, and such. I won't say don't go for it, but just take a look at what your officers actually do and not the money. Try to talk to them and find out their quality of life first. Maybe you like dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Perhaps I am biased, due to having to be the CRA for the entire time I was on my sub (I think there is at least one other submarine guy on the forum here. My biggest fear in like right now is that I will become the ENG.)

Just food for thought.
ha ha ha

I really enjoyed reading this. I know some submariners (I worked at Naval Reactors for 5 years, sorry!) and I've heard similar complaints from some of them.

But there are others... a very good friend stayed in, and his wife kept saying "this is the last sea tour", oh...I'm not sure how many sea tours ago, but he's a Captain now and has been CO of two subs already. She swears now this is the last shore tour then he's out. 

mdharmandm

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Also, run towards that gold bar as soon as you get your bachelors.  And see if a VA loan will help you build equity in your home for a big cash out when you finally move overseas.

Run towards the gold bar???????

NOOO!!! Please think about what aspects you like about your job in the military first. Yes, the money is inciting. As an O-3 Submarine officer, I think I am paid fairly well (give me another year, when I am back on the boat and I might have a completely different outlook on my compensation vs. work) but my job as a Junior officer and soon to be Department head is largely a paper pusher. I can't specifically speak for your field, but if you like getting your hands dirty, doing the actual work, and finding creative ways to solve problems, maybe trying to get those gold bars is not the way to go. You will deal a lot more with the admin side of things, personnel problems, and such. I won't say don't go for it, but just take a look at what your officers actually do and not the money. Try to talk to them and find out their quality of life first. Maybe you like dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Perhaps I am biased, due to having to be the CRA for the entire time I was on my sub (I think there is at least one other submarine guy on the forum here. My biggest fear in like right now is that I will become the ENG.)

Just food for thought.
ha ha ha

I really enjoyed reading this. I know some submariners (I worked at Naval Reactors for 5 years, sorry!) and I've heard similar complaints from some of them.

But there are others... a very good friend stayed in, and his wife kept saying "this is the last sea tour", oh...I'm not sure how many sea tours ago, but he's a Captain now and has been CO of two subs already. She swears now this is the last shore tour then he's out.

Naval Reactors, huh? So you are pretty much the devil!!

Yeah I  changed my tune and decided to take their blood money. I never thought it would happen and I'm still not sure how I came to that decision. I don't think I will make the decision again, especially because I would like to FIRE after my contract is up. I think it is fairly likely that I will end up ENG (the worst!!), and the XO tour seams to be a miserable experience (no sleep and you have to play the villain a decent amount). We will see I guess.

Nords

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Perhaps I am biased, due to having to be the CRA for the entire time I was on my sub (I think there is at least one other submarine guy on the forum here. My biggest fear in like right now is that I will become the ENG.)
Yeah, I was CRA for a little over a year ("just until after the ORSE") and then I upgraded to DCA/QAO. 

Like politicians, the people who make the best Engs are the ones who don't want the job.  Check the percentages for XO/CO screening, too-- Engs & Navs are up there because they're running the boat inport (Eng) or underway (Nav).  Weps is a lot of fun but you have to make your own mark in collateral duties (ship's training), race through command quals, be the boat's best OOD with special recognition in the mission reports, and (eventually) be senior to the Eng and the Nav for a truly competitive fitness report. 

The interesting thing about the Eng and Nav billets is that you can't stray very far off the beaten path without somebody noticing and "helping" you back on track-- whether it's your XO or your CO or your leading chiefs or even (shudder) the squadron deputies.  But as a Weps, you can wander in the wilderness for months before a weapon gets damaged or someone discovers that your records are all screwed up.  Like CRA, the only people who understand the Weps job are the people who've served in it.

The good news about your CRA experience is that you have a much deeper understanding of the danger areas than the typical Eng.  That division can ruin your day (and your career) faster than any other part of the Engineering Dept.

In your shoes, I'd let the assignment officer worry about your technical rating and your suitability for an Eng billet.  You could take two approaches:
1.  "Just send me to any boat where you think I could do my best for the needs of the Navy!"
or
2.  "I'll take any billet, any homeport, as long as it's a fast attack." 

I played the co-location card, ended up as a Weps, and paid for it by screening "in excess" for XO.  But quality of life was pretty good.

If you want to send a signal about your career intentions then tell the assignment officer that you don't want to be an Eng.  The downside of this is that you might end up in shipyard or even decommissioning.  And after that tour you might have to plan to transfer to another community.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Lastly; I decided to start applying for government jobs. I would really strike gold if I can find something, even entry-level, that had a 401k option. I'm not gonna restrict myself to Maryland I decided; just gonna go where the money is at in this direction and once I find my employment I'm gonna look for apartments near-by (or possibly use my VA loan for a small house). If my job requires that I need to get masters I can use my GI bill then.

Once again; thanks for all the replies. It helped me quite a bit!

Look for GS jobs.  I don't know the details but there is an option to buy your military service time and add it to your GS service time for the pension.  If you think you'll likely work until the GS pension kicks in, this could be huge, though of course you'd want to run the numbers. If you plan on FIREing before the pension would apply, then of course it is a moot point.  Also, you'd get veteran's hiring preference with GS jobs which can only help.

And another hearsay suggestion.  I am naturally skeptical of headhunters, but several friends and acquaintances who got out after finishing their enlistment had great luck with them.  I'm not sure it can hurt as one aspect of your job search, so researching the best one for your circumstances and then contacting might be worth it.

You can indeed "buy back" your active duty years towards the federal retirement system if you get a GS job (likely other federal jobs as well, GS only refers to one specific pay scale). The payback is roughly 1% of your base pay per year of active duty. I think you have 3 years to do the buy back, something like that, so you don't have to do a lump sum. You get "tenure" at 5 years in GS, so you may automatically qualify depending on how many years of AD you have. Payout starts at about age 62 or so.

mdharmandm

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Perhaps I am biased, due to having to be the CRA for the entire time I was on my sub (I think there is at least one other submarine guy on the forum here. My biggest fear in like right now is that I will become the ENG.)
Yeah, I was CRA for a little over a year ("just until after the ORSE") and then I upgraded to DCA/QAO. 

Like politicians, the people who make the best Engs are the ones who don't want the job.  Check the percentages for XO/CO screening, too-- Engs & Navs are up there because they're running the boat inport (Eng) or underway (Nav).  Weps is a lot of fun but you have to make your own mark in collateral duties (ship's training), race through command quals, be the boat's best OOD with special recognition in the mission reports, and (eventually) be senior to the Eng and the Nav for a truly competitive fitness report. 

The interesting thing about the Eng and Nav billets is that you can't stray very far off the beaten path without somebody noticing and "helping" you back on track-- whether it's your XO or your CO or your leading chiefs or even (shudder) the squadron deputies.  But as a Weps, you can wander in the wilderness for months before a weapon gets damaged or someone discovers that your records are all screwed up.  Like CRA, the only people who understand the Weps job are the people who've served in it.

The good news about your CRA experience is that you have a much deeper understanding of the danger areas than the typical Eng.  That division can ruin your day (and your career) faster than any other part of the Engineering Dept.

In your shoes, I'd let the assignment officer worry about your technical rating and your suitability for an Eng billet.  You could take two approaches:
1.  "Just send me to any boat where you think I could do my best for the needs of the Navy!"
or
2.  "I'll take any billet, any homeport, as long as it's a fast attack." 

I played the co-location card, ended up as a Weps, and paid for it by screening "in excess" for XO.  But quality of life was pretty good.

If you want to send a signal about your career intentions then tell the assignment officer that you don't want to be an Eng.  The downside of this is that you might end up in shipyard or even decommissioning.  And after that tour you might have to plan to transfer to another community.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Yeah, I was told that I was only going to be the CRA (a job that I volunteered for) for one ORSE cycle, but then was told that they were going to keep me in the position since we didn't have a chief , our Lead ELT was transferring, and we had another ORSE in 6 months (short cycled, due to the boat being decommed and made into a training platform). I was not very happy about it and it ended up screwing up the timing for PNEO. I think all the rules and regs that are involved in the engineering side of submarines are important, I just don't want to do them. I really liked the tactical side of things.

I realize that the ENG question is going to be largely out of my hands. I'm shooting for a Guam boat. I like their high OP tempo (less emphasis placed on the training for training sake) and you are further away from some of the more annoying "Big Navy" entities.  Not really worried about the XO screen and such. I want to FIRE after this tour. I think PERS is more concerned then I am, which is why they are sending me to the Army War College and didn't want me to go straight back to the fleet (I guess I would be too junior).

Nords

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I'm shooting for a Guam boat. I like their high OP tempo (less emphasis placed on the training for training sake) and you are further away from some of the more annoying "Big Navy" entities. 
Very smart.  Fantastic experience and liberty.  I think the diving is better than the typhoon/earthquake risk.  No rigging for winter weather or freezing hoses.  And, of course, the maneuvering watches will only be about 30 minutes between the pier and the dive point.

Not really worried about the XO screen and such. I want to FIRE after this tour. I think PERS is more concerned then I am, which is why they are sending me to the Army War College and didn't want me to go straight back to the fleet (I guess I would be too junior).
PERS 42 has had problems with second-tour JO Engineers, even with your experience.  (I had a guy do that in the 1980s on my first boat, and he struggled so much that even us JOs noticed.)  Most of the "problem" has been sending them to the DH course and then having enough seniority on the boat to compete with the other DHs.

But most of all PERS 42 hates dealing with guys who can take it or leave it.  They want you desperately addicted to the lifestyle which requires a spot promotion to O-4 and signing a five-year nuke bonus contract.  If you know now that you're FIRE after another tour or two then you can definitely ask for a Nav or Weps job and tell them to save the Eng glory for someone who wants to screen XO.  You could even tell them that you'll be resigning for the Reserves as soon as you finish your DH Westpac deployment.

dontwannaworkforever

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Thought I would update:

I'm now working on my resume with USAJOBS.GOV. There are plenty of GS positions available I have seen and many I qualify for when finish my Bachelor's degree in Finance in May; it also helps that I have a secret security clearance. I hope to get an accounting position because I will need 2 years of experience as part of the requirement for the license. This year I plan to sit in for a CPA Exam; I have 4 study books covering each section coming in the mail through Amazon and I plan on devoting myself to these 2016 study guides. Unfortunately, despite having my Bachelors degree later this year it looks like I'm going to have to take some additional accounting courses. No matter; just have to make a plan.

Additionally, I scoured the internet and my wife was able to find a very useful website called Upwork.com. She built a profile and is looking to do translation work when she isn't too busy with the newborn. The pay is small but every dollar helps. I also signed up for it but I probably won't devote as much time to it as I have much other things on my plate.

I'm ready for the new year! I'm hungry and can't describe the feeling.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 09:26:43 PM by dontwannaworkforever »

pbkmaine

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Study like a crazy person for the CPA; it is one of the hardest professional exams. The study guides are great, but the best way to prepare, in my opinion, is to take mock exams. There are prep courses as well. Experience requirements for licensing, once you pass, vary by state. For example, I had 6 months of audit. This qualified me for the NJ CPA but not for NY. An attorney friend of mine is licensed in GA which did not require audit experience.

dontwannaworkforever

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Study like a crazy person for the CPA; it is one of the hardest professional exams. The study guides are great, but the best way to prepare, in my opinion, is to take mock exams. There are prep courses as well. Experience requirements for licensing, once you pass, vary by state. For example, I had 6 months of audit. This qualified me for the NJ CPA but not for NY. An attorney friend of mine is licensed in GA which did not require audit experience.

Thanks for the advice! I'm planning on getting my licensing in Maryland. I love exams and look forward to the challenge :) (I'm crazy like that); I actually get pumped up for them rather than nervous...I earned half of my Bachelors Degree through CLEP and DANTES Exams alone while I have been serving.

Mock Exams are surely the way to go and is the method of choice for me. I think a prep course would help me out greatly too because I'm mostly well versed in finance but my accounting knowledge is basic at this point so I have a hill to climb there.

pbkmaine

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http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/cpa/cpareq.shtml
The above site will be your best friend.

pbkmaine

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dontwannaworkforever

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http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/cpa/cpareq.shtml
The above site will be your best friend.

I'm using this website as I type to make my checklist. Thanks for providing this resource. As I thought previously, it looks like I still got a few more educational requirements to fulfill even after I complete my degree.

Also I think I may have another problem...a lot of the checklist is saying I need to complete "3 semester hours or 4.5 quarter hours" but the school I went to each one of my courses I completed is only 4 quarter hours not 4.5 quarter hours....perhaps I'm reading it wrong or I have a big problem on my hands.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 10:59:01 PM by dontwannaworkforever »

pbkmaine

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Call the Maryland board of accountancy and ask them this question. I am sure they've gotten it before.