Separating from the Military? Start Early to Find a Job! |

Separating from the Military? Start Early to Find a Job!

Bryce Englin came to me with a desire to help men and women like himself who are separating from the military. He shares his experiences, resources that are available, and himself in this interview.

You may find my answer to “Tell Me About a Time You Made a Productive Change at a Company” helpful.

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So, my guest today is Bryce Englin, not England, Englin, who served in the military as a member of the Air Force from 1996 to 2016. During his career, he spent 14 of his 20 years overseas, I was stationed in Turkey, Iceland, twice in Japan, Egypt, Djibouti, and deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan. As he says, being in the military was fun and the 20 years adventure was well worth it. But what do you do you see the writing on the wall, that your time is over? Bryce, welcome. I appreciate you making time today.

Bryce England 01:33
Jeff, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to come on your show for a few minutes today and talk about you know, give these guys the no BS and big game experience on how you find a job when transitioning from the military.

Jeff 01:50
Hey, watch those terms. Those are mine.

Bryce England 01:54
I'm not taking your terms from you. I just want to highlight that this is the place people come when they want to get that real, unfiltered experience.

Jeff 02:06
20 years and why did you decide to leave these services?

Bryce England 02:11
It was time to retire. So, a lot of folks, I thought I wouldn't be able to go to 24 30, you know, make that he 789. I was in a seven but it when you hit a certain peak and you hit about 20 years, you find that you're mentally tired, the Traveling is well worth it is a lot of fun. But it just kind of was one of those things where it became Okay, yeah, it's time to go and a lot of making those two top and listed grades, much the same for most officers, if you're somebody who makes Colonel or you go to the 405 and you know, Colonel being the O six level, it generally for some they don't want to go higher, because at that point, sometimes it becomes a political game and a lot of it is really who you know, and that's not a knock, because there are some great generals that I've come across in the military. But a lot of times it really is who you know, and that is even goes even deeper when you start talking about getting ready to depart from the military.

Jeff 03:23
Interesting. So, there you were, you made the decision. How much time did you give yourself to figure out? Okay, I'm going to leave when do I start looking for something else?

Bryce England 03:34
They tell you start looking a year out. I probably started looking the day I signed, retire, you know, I, I put the little signature blocks on the retirement paperwork and realized that it was too soon, what I should have done and I had a few things I'd been doing before but what I would say to anybody, start that search 24 to 36 months out, if you know you're going to be coming in to do a four year stint, you're going to 568 years, 10 years. I would say by year one if you know you're the military is not for you, but you're going to do that stunt. You know what, start getting to know people, build relationships, build rapport, even if you're going to get out and go to school, that will the relationships, the networking part is what's going to help you out but really, when you're there, you need to figure out what you specifically want to do. After you know specifically do what you want to do you want to start thinking about your second career, whether you're you know, doing a four year or 40 years stint think about that, two to three years out.

Jeff 04:49
Interesting and that works with the assumption that people think that way.

Bryce England 04:54
Yes, and unfortunately a lot of folks don't. I'm guilty. My Hands up, I am not kidding, I will say I was guilty of that and I should have listened to the advice and started building relationships, I went through a cool in my opinion, it was a pretty cool two-and-a-half-year journey and something that I would really suggest to anybody out there to, to make the benefits of things is the best way that I can say it. So, for instance, if you're going to sit there and you're going to, you know, get out there, have a plan, make sure you've got money set aside, you know, they harp on this in the in the military all the time, living expenses, you want to make sure that you've got everything you need squared away, because when you're moving from the military, you're moving into the unknown. And there is a trend, there is a phase to be involved in when you're moving into the unknown.

Jeff 06:02
I'm going to pause there for a second, because there was a point, I think it was worth mentioning, as you were talking about making the decision to leave and giving yourself 24 to 36 months and folks, I'll just simply say, networking, in the civilian sector, is the way you find work. If you listen to Bryce, he's telling you, it's the way you find that within the service and outside the service as well and less. To me, I'll just suggest, the first time you start thinking about leaving the service is probably the time you need to start thinking about your networking and doing that kind of action for civilian life. Because even if you're not committed to leaving, it's the point where you can start doing the research right away, to figure out how to approach this strange world and everyone tells me it's a strange world by comparison to the military, that you face when you leave service to the country.

Bryce England 07:06
And Jeff, I'll tell you, there's about four different ways that people usually will for different areas where I'd say people usually go looking for work in the as they get out. So, the first one is that, you know, you got the young person who gets out and they're going to go get their education, now they're going to go to college use their GI bill, which is great. You know that that's going to be you for eight years person. There's guys like me who were I got my, my undergrad while I was in and I finished my grad, about a year after I got close to eight months after I got out, I had my MBA done and what you do at that point is you find that you're going to maybe look for a job. I'm usually as a contractor contracting work is something some folks do and there's some great sites out there for contracting job. The other one is a lot of folks go to look at USA Jobs, which is another and I use that as a website, then and I'll talk about that here in a few short minutes about those types of things if you're going to go that route.

Jeff 08:14
There's a fourth one that she did, she hadn't gotten to yet. He said there are four ways that they find work and he got through three of them.

Bryce England 08:21
Yeah, and I'm getting ready to give you the four. Well, actually, let me rephrase. It's about five, I'm thinking now because schools one, but there's other two ones, they go into the private sector, or you start your own business and, and I'm going to tell you, oh, let's unpack these, I think unpacking these is a good way to do that so, if you're going to go to the private sector, as you said earlier, building relationships, you know, LinkedIn is going to be your friend, Facebook, Twitter, they're all going to be your friends, Instagram is going to be your friend. But here's the thing, if you're going to go to the private sector, and you want to work, you may be disciplined in the military and the military may say, Hey, I, you know, there's a lot of companies that want to hire military folks. But the problem is, is there's a disconnect and when I say there's a disconnect, most military members don't realize you can't use military wording. You can't use acronyms. You can't use what you did in the military, you have to civilian eyes that and that's where mentorship can come into help finding different companies and there's lots of folks out there who want to see folks really take the initiative and put it in so that those are some big things. You have to if you want to go civilian sector or go into the private sector and you want to work, you really need to reinvent yourself and you need to present yourself as knowing what you want because you need to show that company why they should Shouldn't be willing to take the investment in you and make that investment in you.

Jeff 10:04
And I'll interrupt and say, you know, years ago, we interviewed a woman who left the service Lieutenant worked in the Middle East and came back and she talked about how hard it was for her to adapt. Part of it was, she was no BS. Understandably, given Wirsching the station. It's important, you can't fool around, and she gets to the private sector whereby comparison, people look lazy and it was hard for her initially to communicate in ways that people would get her had the same time once she got into roles. There she is no BS cracking the whip, and not well responded to. So yeah, I've just mentioned the there is an adjustment that you'll experience when you leave.

Bryce England 11:00
And that's actually a good point that you bring up. There was a retired four star General, Doc Fogle song was his name, and he went down. And I looked at this. He used to be on Armed Forces Network all the time, talking about his time in the jet as commander of the United States, Air Forces in Europe, I saw this when I lived back in Egypt, that I read a story, he went to the University of Mississippi, and he tried to use his military, you know, that military mindset there and it did not go over well, he was the President, as a retired four star President, I think it was the president of the University of Mississippi out over in Oxford, and it just did not work well. So, I can agree with you, there are stories out there of things and I highlight that, because I don't want to see, I don't and to me, it's not about rank, it's not about you know, it's about what you can bring to the team when you start looking at the private sector, and it's about what you want to do. So, I really, again, it's not about rank, it's not about importance, because when you leave the military, everybody is on the same playing field, when you go to a company, private sector, you know, the next one, I'll talk about his USA job. So, a lot of folks get out and they transition, they realize, you know, hey, I want to, I want to go beat up, I want to go be a civil servant. That's a great opportunity, there is a need for good civil servants. When you're going to go put your application in a USA Jobs, you want to make sure that you are looking for those things you're qualified for, and grades and educational requirements. Something I will highlight, within going into the civil into the civil servant’s sector, the GS, as I call it, you have to longer is better on your applications. So, where the private sector wants quick, you know, highlight flash, they want to make sure you got to make sure obviously, wording is different. But when you start putting things together longer is better in USA Jobs, highlight what you did in your job but here is one thing I'll tell you, if you get picked up and referred and you go in for an you know, they call you for an interview, the guy's going to ask you, why do you think I should hire you? Tell them why they should hire you and I would even recommend if the boss asked you that question in the civil sector, tell them make yourself stand out for why you believe you would be a good fit for the company, or for an organization, whether it's an in public or private sector service, then we have the contractor duties, you've got a lot of contracts, you know, a lot of companies that are DLT contracts out a lot and Matter of fact, many branches of the service of the US government contract that a lot and I want to highlight civil service is not just for Department of Defense. There are other department of energy state department, there are government agencies across the executive branch department, Homeland Security, all these other agencies are going to be hiring folks. So, know that you do have the ability to make it you know, to get hired, but I would say you know contracting when you're going to do contracting, there's this great website called clearance jobs but I would also look at who are the big guys who the big contract companies and some folks may not realize this, Boeing, you know, Boeing go to Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton. Oh, I'm just given names that I'm aware of, out there who I have come across their Zen attacks, these are companies that are receiving, you know, that have current contracts with the government or always have things available. They're also corporations. So, you may find that, you know, you find out that you want to get hired for a job on the doing contractor work, but they may say, Hey, man we'd like you for it, we really like you for corporate. So, they are private business as much as they are a government contractor. So, I just I really want to highlight that is, you know, look at those sites, go out and look those different companies but when you're going to interview, you're going to have make sure you have background on the company. I remember I was at a job fair 2016. I'm passing my application around and I had one of the guys, I think it was Lockheed Martin, he looked at me, he's like, what's this do? This doesn't do anything for me, you need to show what you want to do, don't give me a generalized functional resume, give me something that shows what's going to make you capable that and that was some great advice. Really great top-level advice. But there are a lot of great companies out there that will hire veterans, because veterans also bring something that generally it's very easy, they have security clearance. That's why that's one of the benefits you gain from being a retired military member, it's very easy for a company, as a contractor to hire you to be a to come in and do contracting work, because you've got that clearance already. So, just some of those things to know. But the big thing is, you know, those are the ways you're going to look at it and if you decide you want to go into private business, I will tell anybody, look at the VA, make sure you know the VA has some great programs, especially for those who are medically retiring and that's a very completely big or different other process. It's actually a process I went through. But when I was medically retiring, it was I found that the VA had a lot of great things and they have a program called vocational rehab. Now this I want to highlight this is only for those who are being medically retired from the military. So, this doesn't apply to everybody. But if you find out that you've got a medical condition that is going to require you to retire from the military and I want to highlight that medical retirement could be for anybody with a service connected injury disability or something that happened while they're in that the D O T realizes they, you know, they're no longer you know, they want to serve, but the DOT says, Hey, we really can't have you serving and basically, vocational rehab allowed me to complete my master's degree. So, it helped pay for my master's degree. So, you may have some programs out there and I think they also under vocational rehab also have something to help new business owners, but there are state based organizations, depending on the state, you're in states have their own department of VA, and there is small business administration, so many different entities that can help folks get there, but also mentorship, but I'll come to that in one second.

Jeff 18:48
How did you find your position?

Bryce England 18:50
It was a journey. It was so the way I can start out where I'm at today and what I'm happy with what I'm happy with what I do today, but I was retiring out of the state of Alabama and I did not find I couldn't find a job down her, you know, made some mistakes in interviews. I went in kind of cocky, acted like, I thought I was ready, and I knew what I was talking to and eventually I had to take a job out in Hawaii. So, I went out to Hawaii for about seven months or baby went to Hawaii.

Jeff 19:28
I know and I worked.

Bryce England 19:29
At in Indian Indo Pacific Command doing knowledge management. Well, after a little while of doing that, I realized knowledge management and it weren't my thing and it is one of those that requires a unique personality. It's just not wasn’t really. Yeah, wasn't my bailli and I decided at that point to eventually come back to Alabama and I was working temp job for alpha insurance doing some data entry. So, I was, you know, and I love that matter of fact, and then I got hired for a job as a contractor. So, that first one was contract. Then I started doing contract again, great company and I'm not trying to give plugs to products, or any of that stuff, but a great company name by the name of prim core, hires me spell it. PRIM Corp, thank you. They are a great, um, retire retiree, comp, retiree own company, that the two great folks who run it up here RedMon and Michelle Smith, outstanding great folks take care of their folks there, but they were a small subcontract. So, what you'll have is the big companies like Booz Allen might get a contract, but then they'll sub out to other companies. So, prim core was who I worked for, and I worked, went out and started working at Maxwell Air Force Base, great place, and I was doing getting Air Force foreign area officers ready for to head out for six months. So, I did that for about 20 months, I think, and just want it wanted to do something different. At that point, I found my niche of that international fairs room and that's where I found myself today, where I pretty much Teach for a living.

Jeff 21:30
Gotcha. When you left, tell us about two or three of the mistakes or misconceptions you had, when you were leaving the service about what it was going to be like the transition.

Bryce England 21:43
I thought that I was going to walk out and automatically walk in the next day I was very, I'll say this, I was very obtuse and I was very cocky. I was, Hey, I'm going to be the next guy, you know, I'm going to find this everybody, you know, everyone's going to be barking at my door wanting to hire the military member.

Jeff 22:06
You know, now she got that idea, by the way, is driving your head in the service.

Bryce England 22:12
I think sometimes it is drilled into your head in the service, you think, oh, everybody wants to hire military, you always hear that companies are looking to hire veterans, and, you know, all these opportunities for veterans and stuff. It and there are a lot of companies out there that want to hire veterans, what it comes down to is, they're only going to do it if they find you to be marketable. Yeah, and that's not meant to knock, most companies will jump at the bit to hire that turn, that that's my belief, they will, because they know what the veteran I can get somebody who is you know, they're going to be hard working, they're going to be dedicated, they're going to go in, always do what they need to do, you know, there are things in a skill set that we bring with us. But there's also the other things that companies sometimes have to look at. If you're coming, retiring after 20 years. So, you signed up at 18 and you're hiring somebody who's 38 or 39 years old, that's a new person you have to teach. So, you have to think about those things. So, there's tradeoffs from it, you know, if I got a four year vet, You know, for six year vet who has an associate's degree is working on college, they're in their mid-20s. Coming out, I can probably get more out of that person than I can out of a 38 years that Yeah, you're going to have some, you know, and a lot of it is personality driven. It is about finding it, most folks are going to say, am I going to have somebody who's open minded? Am I going to have somebody who is going to be able to tell me, you know, who is going to be, you know, will they be open minded? Will they be able to go with change? and then how will they respond? That's the other thing, if, you know, are they going to be able to respond to taking insight from a boss, when they maybe have at one point been the commander, you know, or overseeing two or 300 troops. So, those are things that I think are concerning. So, that was probably my biggest mistake is that I walked in, walked out the door thinking I was going to get hired.

Jeff 24:35
Now one thing, there's a woman I interviewed yesterday, her show's going to be on in a couple of weeks and she did a book for older professionals that I think has a major point that's really waits to those of you who are leaving the service and all the professional’s kind of get stuck in their way. They think they know it was They've done it for the longest time. Now, back in the stone age's when I started my pontificating, now they bask in their own magnificence. Sound familiar guys sound familiar women? Well, you know, her thing is, firms don't care exclusively about what you've done. They want to know that what you can do is going to be relevant to them and thus, it's important to connect the dots between your past your future and what you can deliver for an organization and not just simply walk in, arms folded in front of your chest, ready to tell all the great old stories about what you did wherever you're stationed and without that, you're not really making the connection between what you can do and what they need. It's so important when organizations hire, is that part of what you learn along the way?

Bryce England 26:00
Yes, very much. So, it's and I will tell you, you will discover in your job hunt, what organizations are looking for bodies to just fill seats, and that's something else you'll get there are organizations that will hire up veterans in a heartbeat because they just need a body to fill a seat and maybe that is something that somebody who's transitioning needs to do until they can find what they're looking to do, which again, is fine. You know, sometimes you just need something that's going to help pay the bills.

Jeff 26:33
Take the check guys hate the check ladies get out their cash the checks.

Bryce England 26:39
Yeah, and that is perfectly okay. The other thing is I used to beat myself up now consider this a mistake, if a job did not fall in line, I felt like Oh, man, I was the one who made the mistake. That is something you cannot do in this. When you are negative, and you are beating yourself. Companies, bosses are going to are going to know that they're going to see it. If you walk in thinking you got a job as I remember, I walked in, thinking, I'm going to get a job, I'm going to get this job after a 30 minute interview, I walked out the door deflated, thought I walked in cocky, they could tell I was cocky and that I was arrogant and it was I walked out man, I really messed that one up and I'll tell you the truth. I'm kind of glad that that didn't work out. Because it helped. It humbled me. Humility will be your greatest thing. But you cannot beat yourself up with this, you have to realize that finding a job sometimes is a journey, finding where you're at, is a journey in life and sometimes it takes the thing. One thing I will highlight, find a mentor. There is a great organization. Now, this is some inside balls that I'm going to give every listener that's going to help you I promise, and I hope they experienced a surge in phone calls from veterans who are getting ready to get out of the military, after I mentioned this, but it's American corporate partners ACP. ACP is an organization that will about a year you want to do this about a year I would even go 1824 months out, even reach out to them say, Hey, I know I'm going to be retired from the service. I need somebody from the civilian sector to mentor me tell you what that was, by far the greatest decision I made. I just was searching on the web because I had this brain in my head. I think it was December of 2016 and Laos, just no, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, December of 2015. I had to think about it because I retired August 2016 and I found American corporate partners called him up said what I was looking for. They lined me up with a mentor from john Deere, one of the greatest people in my life who helped me out. But what they do is they link you up with mentors from fortune 500 companies. There's a one lady I worked with, I told her about ACP. She had a mentor from Disney buddy of mine who uses ACP, he has a mentor from who's working for ADT now. So, they will link you up with it. This is not fly by night. This is people from No kidding. Real fortune 500 companies in the public sector and these guys will help you with they will help you with resume writing, they will help you with building things to do and they're going to spend the time with you and these people who want to be doing this?

Jeff 30:02
I assume they'll help with networking as well, because they have civilian networks that they've already established themselves that they're willing to share.

Bryce England 30:12
Yes, and a lot of that, when you start getting into the mentor mentee relationship with American corporate partners that has to come, they will do that. But a lot of that is going to come from that from you having to as an individual, the mentee you have to put trust in you have to take this seriously because they're taking it seriously. So, that is something that I really want to stomp on hard is when you go into an organization like ACP and that mentor mentee relationship, take that serious, take the time with their civilian networks serious, because those guys are going, the folks they're going to refer you to are going to help you and they're also going to give you the tips on how to help you build your network as well, too and where to be looking at.

Jeff 30:59
Excellent. You know, we're starting to come up on the end of time with one another today, what haven't we covered yet that we really should.

Bryce England 31:08
The big thing is, I would tell people to keep up the fight. Just keep working hard on things, do not ever give up in this fight. You know, finding a job isn't it, if you walk out of the interview, and it hasn't fully worked to the best, don't beat yourself up, really take advantage of what you know, take advantage of what you have to offer and a lot of it really comes back to finding ways to reward it and that is really the biggest thing, there are great sites out there that I will highlight and one last thing I want to highlight, you got these folks, you know, for folks who want to do a job build, you know, or they want to go and be an entrepreneur and do their and find a way to do things, I would tell them to Jeff to check out those things that you're offering and I would tell folks to check out your products on interviewing techniques. But one other individual who I would highlight is Patrick Bett David, he runs a channel on YouTube called value attainment, which is geared strictly towards entrepreneurs and he talks about things why entrepreneurs succeed fail, and he is a former Army guy. Excellent. Yeah, he is the only guy you know, if you're going to be going into business, there's a lot of guys out there. But I would really highlight again, Jeff, I would highlight these guys come check you out. Look at to you for your great advice. Take advantage of a lot of the services you offer. Because I know you have got the know how to get these guys prepped, but I would all that that's the only other one. But other than that, that is really everything that I can share. At the basic level.

Jeff 33:01
Thank you. How can people find out more about you your work connects with you? What's the best way for them to

Bryce England 33:09
You can go to Bryce England and you should see me out there on LinkedIn.

Jeff 33:25
Now there's more than one of you on LinkedIn or at least more than one with that name other than my saying he's the good looking one.

Bryce England 33:35
Probably the T in the middle initial Bryce tee England.

Jeff 33:40
Gotcha. Bryce, thank you and, folks, we'll be back soon with more. I'm Jeff Alton, the big game hunter. I hope you found today's show helpful. Bryce mentioned, you know, some of the things that I offer. I've got a great website at the big game Go to the blog and go exploring has more than 10,000 posts in there that can help you with your search, whether you're in or out also going to mention, I've got a video course on interviewing called the ultimate job interview framework. If you go to the big game hunter us forward slash interviews. It's like 35 bucks for the course. It will help you interview better than others and if you don't want to do it by video of God as a paperback or a Kindle book on Amazon again, that's the ultimate job interview framework. Connect with me on forward slash i n forward slash the big game hunter. My network is going to be bigger than yours. I was number 7653 on LinkedIn back in the day. Now it's 700 million people saw I was in the first 10,000 and without a lot of effort, my network is going to be bigger than yours. You can take advantage of that network to your heart's content Folks, I hope you have a terrific day and most importantly, be great. Take care.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2300 episodes.

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