For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

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Ripcord
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For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by Ripcord »

Quick synopsis/question. In April of 2022 I will be retiring from the USAF as an E9 w/ 22 years of service. My wife is also an E9 and will be retiring a year and a half later. Details aside we will be financially independent when I retire for our chosen lifestyle. However...knowing my personality and drive I will want to work again when she retires. Also, will need a job for fun money and extra expenses should they arise. Not really interested in touching our retirement investments to gap things as we are still very young. I am planning to take the time between when I retire and she retires to be a stay at home dad for our two boys. Once she retires she will take that role and I plan to do something.

My question is this. I'm in a situation where I could walk directly into a few jobs (that pay well and I would enjoy) right out of the military. But due to our the realities of our military careers I wanted to make up some time with our kids and support my wife through the rest of her career. So that would leave about a year and a half to 2 year gap in work history. Has anyone been through something similar? How much more difficult is it to find a job after having not worked for a while? ...Or am I over thinking it?

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Ripcord on Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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OAG
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by OAG »

You have financials and medical fully under control. I can only give you a couple of suggestions: Update and maintain your Rolodex (I know you probably have something else that does the same thing) and stay in touch no matter how long you will take off to work with the kids (you imply about 18 months), also make sure you get an entire copy of your records expecially the clearance information (assume TS+). Same hold true for your spouse as she may have a need should she want to look for work after the military. By the way congratulations to you both for solid and succssful military careers.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979 21 years of service @ 38.
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GerryL
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by GerryL »

Having gone through several transitions, although none quite like the one you describe, here is my suggestion:
Keep your hand in by scheduling some time each week to network and do ongoing research in your industry. Make it a part-time job. As you know, the world will not stand still while you take your "gap year+" so you can keep up with changes and be ready to demonstrate that you have not stagnated when you are ready to rejoin the job market. Good luck.
Fishing50
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by Fishing50 »

Ripcord wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:08 pm
...Or am I over thinking it?

Thanks in advance.
Yep, overthinking it. Get you’re resume together to get that civilian job you will enjoy and wait for your wife to retire. The next transition (a different job, no job, etc) will be your choice. :beer
1yr from military pension. 80 equites / 20 bonds for life, ZERO emergency fund, 100% taxable in equities (dividends in cash), 33% taxable, 30% Roth, 37% tax deferred. | Gone Fishing At 52yrs old!
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ofcmetz
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by ofcmetz »

OP, I'm retiring next week from police work in my early 40's. I plan on taking two years to go to college and finish up my degree and spend that time with my kids who are hybrid schooling right now. In two weeks I start full-time at a local university. I plan on working again once I finish this degree, but we will see. I'm also interested in how this two year educational gap will affect my future career. Between my wife's income and my pension we don't have to touch investments are will continue to save.

I've been on leave for 5 weeks and have been offered numerous jobs in my field already. Definitely keep the network connections up, but I think it's fine to enjoy life with the family for a bit. You have earned it.

Cheers!
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bhough
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by bhough »

I quit a job at megacorp to start my own business which died a slow death over 18 months (but was very interesting). I had no trouble getting a job when I started looking. Keep up any certifications/licenses you have. Agree with networking advice. Could you hang out with the kids and keep a part time job? You might get bored two weeks into, don't be surprised if that happens. Thanks for your service and good luck!
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rich126
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by rich126 »

Congratulations on your career and retirement.

As a civilian who has worked with a number of military people in the IC world, I would say, adjust your expectations as you go into your next job as a civilian. I've seen a number of military people who have trouble adjusting to the fact that civilians don't jump up and salute and do what you say. Instead they will question you, ask why, etc. Unlike the military, talented people in jobs can often get up and go and easily find other jobs (i.e., they aren't locked into their job).

I recall interviewing (internal transfer) with an ex-military guy who was the lead and he seemed to think it was his way or else. I had no interest in working for someone like that (seen it before). I found out from a friend that within a year they removed him from his position because of complaints and a number of transfers.

Most do eventually adjust but for some it is difficult.

Maybe this differs depending on whether someone is coming from the enlisted or officer ranks but it is an issue for many.
friar1610
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by friar1610 »

Ripcord wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:08 pm Quick synopsis/question. In April of 2022 I will be retiring from the USAF as an E9 w/ 22 years of service. My wife is also an E9 and will be retiring a year and a half later. Details aside we will be financially independent when I retire for our chosen lifestyle. However...knowing my personality and drive I will want to work again when she retires. Also, will need a job for fun money and extra expenses should they arise. Not really interested in touching our retirement investments to gap things as we are still very young. I am planning to take the time between when I retire and she retires to be a stay at home dad for our two boys. Once she retires she will take that role and I plan to do something.

My question is this. I'm in a situation where I could walk directly into a few jobs (that pay well and I would enjoy) right out of the military. But due to our the realities of our military careers I wanted to make up some time with our kids and support my wife through the rest of her career. So that would leave about a year and a half to 2 year gap in work history. Has anyone been through something similar? How much more difficult is it to find a job after having not worked for a while? ...Or am I over thinking it?

Thanks in advance.
Congratulations, Chief! Two E-9 pensions (plus the medical coverage) will leave you in tall cotton, as they say.

I took time off before thinking about a job after retiring from the Navy although the break was measured in months. It didn't seem to be a problem when I finally started job-hunting.

The only thing I would point out is that if you have a security clearance and if you will be applying for jobs in the defense industry where that is a selling point, you may want to investigate the impact more closely. I don't know the particulars any more but as I recall, if you were too close to your 5 year "bring up" SBI it could make it more difficult for a company to get your clearance reinstated as a civilian. If that's not a consideration for you, I'd just take the well-deserved time off and enjoy it.
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tennisplyr
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by tennisplyr »

Go for it! I've taken far greater risks during my career and have done just fine. Am now 70, retired 9 years. Word of advice: life tends to go very, very fast....if you have an opportunity, do it!
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.
Impatience
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by Impatience »

Employment gaps are only an issue if you can’t reasonably explain why they are there. For example if you’ve been out of college a couple years with no real reason for the gap. You on the other hand have an absolute rock solid alibi for any employer who wants to know why you took a year or two off.
Dude2
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by Dude2 »

Another vote for going back to school. Use post-9-11 GI Bill? Proceed at your own pace, taking care of family. Many accredited programs are on-line these days. Maybe you already have a degree? Get another? If not a full program, could do a "certification" in something. Find something that is related to your career but easy.
Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer.
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BolderBoy
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by BolderBoy »

Another slight aside comment about going from military -> civilian job. I have an RN friend (who is also a lawyer) who was a captain in the USAF. I asked what, if anything, she missed about the USAF. She didn't hesitate long before saying, "I miss the accountability."

So temper any expectations a bit...
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
barneycat
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by barneycat »

I separated (not retired) in January 2019 with a young family so I wasn't able to act on this great piece of advice I heard more than once.

You'll get this transition time once in your life and you should take advantage of it. Once you take your first civilian job that opportunity is gone - you're no longer a transitioning veteran and someone who people want to help, you're a civilian worker and competition to someone else. Here are two hypothetical scenarios:

1) You retire, spend some quality time with your family, take courses, and enter the workforce in 2 years.

Recruiter: "why do you have a two year gap in your resume?"
You: "I retired from the military and wanted to spend some quality time with my family and pursue professional development opportunities that I didn't have the chance to do over 22 years of being deployed every 18 months." Spin story a bit more.

2) You accept a job right away, then realize you want to take some time off because the stress of the transition settles and you understand your post-military life better. You quit and do #1.

Recruiter wondering, maybe not asking, "what happened at this first job? Why did he/she leave so early? Should I even talk to this person?"
You, IF, you get the chance to explain yourself: refer to #1

I'm new to this world, but it seems like "the story" matters so much in the civilian world. Would love to hear others' thoughts.
MarkRoulo
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by MarkRoulo »

barneycat wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:11 am I separated (not retired) in January 2019 with a young family so I wasn't able to act on this great piece of advice I heard more than once.

You'll get this transition time once in your life and you should take advantage of it. Once you take your first civilian job that opportunity is gone - you're no longer a transitioning veteran and someone who people want to help, you're a civilian worker and competition to someone else. Here are two hypothetical scenarios:

1) You retire, spend some quality time with your family, take courses, and enter the workforce in 2 years.

Recruiter: "why do you have a two year gap in your resume?"
You: "I retired from the military and wanted to spend some quality time with my family and pursue professional development opportunities that I didn't have the chance to do over 22 years of being deployed every 18 months." Spin story a bit more.

2) You accept a job right away, then realize you want to take some time off because the stress of the transition settles and you understand your post-military life better. You quit and do #1.

Recruiter wondering, maybe not asking, "what happened at this first job? Why did he/she leave so early? Should I even talk to this person?"
You, IF, you get the chance to explain yourself: refer to #1

I'm new to this world, but it seems like "the story" matters so much in the civilian world. Would love to hear others' thoughts.
I pretty much agree with this (especially the "you have a good story for taking the time off now, but you probably won't in the future"), but don't really know enough about how *OTHER* companies and groups go about hiring folks and filtering resumes.

The group I work in has, as policy, a rule to have Human Resources perform *NO* filtering. If a resume comes in for one of our reqs we will have a human in our group read it. It doesn't matter if the req is for machine learning and we want a PhD or 3 years experience and the resume says that the person is an expert balloon animal folder for children's parties. Someone in our group will see the resume. It takes more effort, but we don't trust folks outside our group to not accidentally reject resumes from people we might want to hire.

So in our case, a two year gap after 22 years in the military would be fine. Especially if the resume included the two years and said something like "spent time getting re-acquainted with my kids after XXX years and YYY deployments." This is not a problem (assuming that the skill set is okay) any more than going back to school for two years for a Masters degree is a problem or taking a year off to deal with a dying parent/spouse/whatever is a problem.

What I don't know is how this works for jobs where HR does more pre-filtering and especially where computers do more pre-filtering.

If the expected field tends to use recruiters, the HR/computer filtering is less of an issue.

It would also help to know more about (a) the field, and (b) whether Ripcord expects to be management (what I would expect as a retiring E9, but I don't really know how military slots map to civilian slots) or a more worker-bee role.
Maverick3320
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by Maverick3320 »

Volunteer in the interim. It will keep you spiritually fulfilled, give you time with your family, and help fill the resume gap with something that stands out.
lionroar22
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by lionroar22 »

Ripcord wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:08 pm In April of 2022 I will be retiring from the USAF as an E9 w/ 22 years of service.
Funny coincidence, April 2022 I'll be retired 20 years after 22 years of service. Time flies by quickly, and your boys will be men off to their own lives before you know it, so take advantage of this opportunity whilst you can. Thanks to both of you for your service Chief(s)!
Ripcord wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:08 pm I am planning to take the time between when I retire and she retires to be a stay at home dad for our two boys. Once she retires she will take that role and I plan to do something.
I did something similar as I took almost a year off to spend quality time with family (kids, parents, etc.). Those are things you miss out on when you are stationed away from home (as I'm sure you well know).
Ripcord wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:08 pm My question is this. I'm in a situation where I could walk directly into a few jobs (that pay well and I would enjoy) right out of the military. But due to our the realities of our military careers I wanted to make up some time with our kids and support my wife through the rest of her career. So that would leave about a year and a half to 2 year gap in work history. Has anyone been through something similar? How much more difficult is it to find a job after having not worked for a while? ...Or am I over thinking it?
I was in the same situation, and don't regret my decision. In additional to the quality time, I was able to take care of things around the house, etc. so my spouse could concentrate of her job/career. When I did start looking it wasn't a problem at all. The gap can easily be explained in your resume and/or during an interview. Congrats on your soon-to-be retirement(s)! :sharebeer
rich126 wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:18 pm As a civilian who has worked with a number of military people in the IC world, I would say, adjust your expectations as you go into your next job as a civilian. I've seen a number of military people who have trouble adjusting to the fact that civilians don't jump up and salute and do what you say. Instead they will question you, ask why, etc. Unlike the military, talented people in jobs can often get up and go and easily find other jobs (i.e., they aren't locked into their job).
Holy Cow, well said. I can recall it being like night and day. While I expected having to adjust my expectations, it doesn't make it any less annoying, lol. Not only can talented people leave, but not so talented have no problem leaving either. :wink:
BolderBoy wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:49 am Another slight aside comment about going from military -> civilian job. I have an RN friend (who is also a lawyer) who was a captain in the USAF. I asked what, if anything, she missed about the USAF. She didn't hesitate long before saying, "I miss the accountability."
So temper any expectations a bit...
Couldn't agree more.
Topic Author
Ripcord
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by Ripcord »

Dude2 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:42 am Another vote for going back to school. Use post-9-11 GI Bill? Proceed at your own pace, taking care of family. Many accredited programs are on-line these days. Maybe you already have a degree? Get another? If not a full program, could do a "certification" in something. Find something that is related to your career but easy.
Yup I have a BS. Not really interest in going back for more. A certification is fine if I need it for employment but otherwise I'm good. Thanks!

Im actually researching seriously considering something like the troops to teachers program. I don't really need a ton of money from another job after this career but I definitely want to get into something I will enjoy and on my terms.
zacf16
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Re: For those that have taken a break from work... [Military to civilian career change]

Post by zacf16 »

Spend the time with your kids. There will be plenty of time to work later.
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