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HU&W

Leaving the Air Force for Something Other than the Airlines

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2 hours ago, guineapigfury said:

Defense contracting can be fun, especially if you're still flying.  I'm doing that and will make about a quarter mil this year pre-tax.  Be forewarned that we could start a "What's wrong with Corporate America" thread that would rival the 140 pager we've got going on the USAF.  I work in an office that's primarily old ladies, so I miss being able to drink at work and tell stories about killing people.

Do tell more

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36 minutes ago, guineapigfury said:

Deployed LR is where it's at.  But this game is volatile.  I saw a dude go through the cycle of hired-deployed-fired in about 5 weeks.

I don't know if deployments or shift work after retirement are "where it's at" for me.

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I thought that is what you meant and I agree with HU&W.  If kids were older, then I "might" think about it.

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It is sad when the airlines -- even considering what's happened in the industry in the last 15 years -- are considered a more stable long term gig than most of the DoD contract flying jobs.

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Also, Lockheed Martin is still cranking out C-130's at a good clip and there is an Airbus factory in Mobile, Alabama doing the same.  I know of a few folks who have worked at both places - some of the C-130 guys still test fly the birds as they come off the assembly line.  Decent pay as well.  

 

 

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I couldn't do the a-word without a class 1 medical...so I opted for a GS14 FAA gig in Flight Standards.  I am remotely sited, lots of telework opportunities, occasional sims...and I fly .civ to keep some air under my butt and sharp-ish about aviation.   Work with lots of former mil controllers and flyers, so culture is ok.  Fed bennies are nothing to sneeze at. Advancement opportunities exist to SES levels, if so inclined.

Works for us.  Can recommend. 4/5 stars..

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On 8/28/2017 at 2:02 PM, tk1313 said:

You had me at "bar"... Are you still at Eglin or nearby? If so, PM the restaurant name/loc and I'll gladly give you my money. If you serve raw oysters on the half shell from Apilachicola I'll probably stop there exclusively when I'm in town.

No, it's in a suburb of Atlanta.  Thanks for the support though!

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When I retired 35 months ago, I went straight into an Executive Director position, with the expectation that if I did well, I'd be CEO in ~3 years.  

The position got me access to CEO's, millionaires, entrepreneurs, and a host of other highly successful... and famous... people.  The social events were off the chart.  

However, after 18 months, I resigned.  Entirely too much work, no free time, and high stress led to this.  I appreciated the organization bringing me on, but in the end, it wasn't the right fit.  It did scratch the itch I'd had for a long time in doing this type of job.  Glad I got to go to that side of the business world.. and maybe I'll go back some day.  

But for now, the airline lifestyle and benefits are a better fit.  

 

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On ‎8‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 0:22 PM, pbar said:

Hasn't been my experience.  My wife has wanted to start a bar/restaurant forever and so we decided to go ahead and do it concurrent with my retirement.  In preparation, I read a couple "how-to" start a business books and attended a Boots 2 Business course on base.

Now I understand why many entrepreneurs say you have to fail a couple of times before you become successful.  

Many businesses will lose money and then fail after a few years. But there does seem to be a point in business where if you a doing a good job and stick with it, word of mouth reaches critical mass and that's where the business will take off. In tech they call this "hockey stick" growth. I'm not in the tech world, but that has definitely been my experience. Stick with it long enough, you'll become and expert in whichever field you're in, and the market will reward you. Best wishes to you man!

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I went from full time to part time military not too long ago and transitioned to full time (non-airlines) work. I decided no airlines (various reasons), and did not want to be a contractor. The idea of wandering around in a polo shirt, khakis and cheap shoes with my badge around my neck, talking to people who don't really give a fvck and having some toolbox O-6 boss me around did not seem fun. I decided to just go for the big jobs and was surprised by how many offers I got. What I found was industry and other agencies were looking for leadership, and they were willing to bid for someone with a military track record. They cared little for technical background. I didn't choose the highest offer (money was important but not the most important) but instead went for location and the the type of industry I had also been interested in. In the end, I might make more money than an airline bubba some day but probably not. I'm home most nights. I travel if/when I want. I got a hefty pay raise. Just like flying, I have a job where most people actually pay to go do it and others are surprised I get paid. Since staring, I've hired a few guys retiring off active duty, so it's not like I fell into a one-off opportunity.

My advice - do what you want, don't aim low on the positions, and go for your dream job. Make someone pay you (a lot) to do what you would do for fun.

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A couple of folks have posted about having great jobs, but leave out the specifics. Just tell us what you do, exactly. Provide specific compensation information. The airline info is out there, and really, there's no reason to be vague with the details of these non-airline careers (unless they're really not that great?).

No offense, but without specific info, these jobs begin to sound like "ask me how I make $1000 a day working from home" scams.

With a fresh MBA in hand, I did my diligence seeking a non-airline career when I separated in 2012. Granted, besides flying, I have a non-technical background (poli sci from the Zoo). Standard GE Junior Officer LP, consultant (Booz Allen, Deloitte), Raytheon, and the CIA were the only bites I got and none fell into "dream job" status. Other than the companies listed above, no one I spoke to was really interested in hiring someone with a non-technical degree (more likely, it was just me). I even sensed a little "military fatigue" from the recruiters I spoke to ("yeah, yeah, leadership, MBA, flying, but what else do you offer"). After considering pay/benefits versus time away from home, the stability afforded with getting in at the front end of the hiring wave (2014), and control of my life, airline pilot was the clear choice. I begrudgingly admit that because to an extent I still equate airline pilot to glorified bus driver (no offense to bus drivers... it's important work). I suspect a detail that's being left out of these success stories (except maybe Huggy's example), is networking or an already established relationship leading into a transition from mil to civ, which is difficult or impossible for AD pilots to build in anything but contracting or staff work.

On long-term mil leave now and still searching/resume building for that professionally fulfilling career I can get into (or more likely do in addition to the airlines) after I retire in a couple of years.

Great thread, just wish we could get some more details from the few that have found the golden unicorn.

Edited by Pancake
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Not sure it's a "golden unicorn" but here's some details about a certain large company that rhymes with "Bmazon":

- Loves hiring military officers.  FGOs typically roll into an Operations Manager job.  CGOs/SNCOs into an Area Manager job.  My OM counterparts were all retired O-5/O-6s and most were former AF pilots.

- Operations Manager = $110K-ish per year + $50K first year bonus....plus stock.  Second year bonus is $45K.  Awarded 300+ shares of stock upon hire (vesting over 4 years).  Not sure how much stock given now, but that is 300+K in stock...not too shabby for a mouth-breathing moron with a shitty AF-mandated Masters Degree.

- Easy growth and promotion opportunities

- 4 day work week (mostly) which is cool, but you could end up on shift work

- Rough company culture.  Most managers bail at the 1-2 year point.

 

Agree with many of the previous points that have been pointed out.  Corporate 'Merica is looking for leadership.  Don't be afraid to apply to jobs that aren't in your technical wheelhouse....you'd be surprised at what doors can be opened because of your military leadership.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Pancake said:

... there's no reason to be vague with the details of these non-airline careers (unless they're really not that great?).

 

You're wrong.  The reasons for omitting some details varies from person to person.  

Many people do not want to discuss their salary on a public forum.  And for many different reasons.  

In my case, I signed a legal document when I resigned that prevents me from stating much more than I did.  

Simply be happy with the information you DID get and add it to your list of data points.  

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46 minutes ago, HuggyU2 said:

Simply be happy with the information you DID get and add it to your list of data points.  

I understand what you're saying with regard to sharing corporate information/salary data, but simply stating "I make good money, this job has its pluses and minuses, shoot for the stars," really isn't tangible, meaningful information. It's fun to read about people finding success outside of military, but most of the information shared thus far is anecdotal and provides little context.

Old Crow, thanks for contributing the information above... helpful for those of us still mulling a career change after going to the airlines.

Edited by Pancake

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5 hours ago, Pancake said:

I understand what you're saying with regard to sharing corporate information/salary data, but simply stating "I make good money, this job has its pluses and minuses, shoot for the stars," really isn't tangible, meaningful information. It's fun to read about people finding success outside of military, but most of the information shared thus far is anecdotal and provides little context.

Old Crow, thanks for contributing the information above... helpful for those of us still mulling a career change after going to the airlines.

-2

I don't want to compel anyone to divulge more than they want/are legally allowed to...but the airline thread is ripe with tactics, techniques, and procedures to get picked up by any number of companies.  I'd love to see more actionable information that those of us pondering and exit (and without the ol' airline gig to fall back on) could use to find something else in corporate America.

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The one gotcha to Amazon is that you have to be willing to relocate to where they want you to live.  Retiring AF friend of mine interviewed with them and during the 2nd interview round the first question was, "Are you willing to relocate to where we need you?  If you answer no, the interview is over."   I spent 23 years putting up with living in places I didn't want to live so Amazon was not for me, plus another retired B-1 WSO who I know got an Amazon ops manager job, quit after a couple of years because he said it was too many 12 hour days.  

I'd recommend any non-pilots looking for post-AF employment get a PMP program manager certification which can be had for free through Syracuse University Veteran's Transition Program as that seems to be a very common thing to have for transition into the corporate world.    You can also take the exact same courseware on AF e-Learning but then you'd have to pay for the $500 test yourself. Got a late start on mine but I wish I had done it as a junior major as I learned a lot of stuff that would have been useful for the AF jobs I had.  Hell, I think the AF would probably be better off replacing ACSC DL with a PMP cert course.   

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23 minutes ago, pbar said:

The one gotcha to Amazon is that you have to be willing to relocate to where they want you to live.  Retiring AF friend of mine interviewed with them and during the 2nd interview round the first question was, "Are you willing to relocate to where we need you?  If you answer no, the interview is over."   I spent 23 years putting up with living in places I didn't want to live so Amazon was not for me, plus another retired B-1 WSO who I know got an Amazon ops manager job, quit after a couple of years because he said it was too many 12 hour days.  

I'd recommend any non-pilots looking for post-AF employment get a PMP program manager certification which can be had for free through Syracuse University Veteran's Transition Program as that seems to be a very common thing to have for transition into the corporate world.    You can also take the exact same courseware on AF e-Learning but then you'd have to pay for the $500 test yourself. Got a late start on mine but I wish I had done it as a junior major as I learned a lot of stuff that would have been useful for the AF jobs I had.  Hell, I think the AF would probably be better off replacing ACSC DL with a PMP cert course.   

YMMV.  I told them I was only available for one location...the one close to my house.  Wasn't a problem.  Also, when I interviewed folks for Amazon, that was NOT one of the questions I asked.  (In fairness, that question might be asked by the recruiter or HR).

"Too many 12 hour days"....yup....like every day.  Holiday season (Peak) is the worst...16+ hour days 6 days a week, but it's all part of the "wonderful" experience.

 

Big 2 on the PMP.  I've found it to be very helpful post-AF.  However, I found the Syracuse program to be crap...didn't prep me to pass the exam.  Some of it may be my fault for treating it like a CBT, but still.   (The exam is no joke...don't expect to pass without a lot of studying).  I did a 1-week Boot Camp for $2K.  Passed the test first try.  Consider the Boot Camp + $500 exam fee + yearly PMI membership to be an investment in yourself.  PMP + MBA + military = $$$.  (And having Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc on your resume/LinkedIn helps a lot as well).

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17 minutes ago, old crow said:

 (The exam is no joke...don't expect to pass without a lot of studying).

2!  Not to derail this into a PMP thread, but do not go into the exam without knowing this process chart and these formulas cold.  I wouldn't have passed if I had done just the Syracuse courseware and not done substantial other prep. 

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19 hours ago, Pancake said:

A couple of folks have posted about having great jobs, but leave out the specifics. Just tell us what you do, exactly. Provide specific compensation information. The airline info is out there, and really, there's no reason to be vague with the details of these non-airline careers (unless they're really not that great?).

No offense, but without specific info, these jobs begin to sound like "ask me how I make $1000 a day working from home" scams.

With a fresh MBA in hand, I did my diligence seeking a non-airline career when I separated in 2012. Granted, besides flying, I have a non-technical background (poli sci from the Zoo). Standard GE Junior Officer LP, consultant (Booz Allen, Deloitte), Raytheon, and the CIA were the only bites I got and none fell into "dream job" status. Other than the companies listed above, no one I spoke to was really interested in hiring someone with a non-technical degree (more likely, it was just me). I even sensed a little "military fatigue" from the recruiters I spoke to ("yeah, yeah, leadership, MBA, flying, but what else do you offer"). After considering pay/benefits versus time away from home, the stability afforded with getting in at the front end of the hiring wave (2014), and control of my life, airline pilot was the clear choice. I begrudgingly admit that because to an extent I still equate airline pilot to glorified bus driver (no offense to bus drivers... it's important work). I suspect a detail that's being left out of these success stories (except maybe Huggy's example), is networking or an already established relationship leading into a transition from mil to civ, which is difficult or impossible for AD pilots to build in anything but contracting or staff work.

On long-term mil leave now and still searching/resume building for that professionally fulfilling career I can get into (or more likely do in addition to the airlines) after I retire in a couple of years.

Great thread, just wish we could get some more details from the few that have found the golden unicorn.

I (think I) can add a little context here.

 1-Consider the pool of airline pilots that post on this site compared to the business executives that post on this site.  The pool of executives is quite small, and the smallest of details may diminish or destroy their anonymity on this forum while the same is not true for airline bros.  Airline salary and military salary are essentially publicl knowledge.  Revealing salary information in no way diminishes anonymity, which is the beauty of this community.  

In the corporate world your salary is negotiated.  You and your counterpart may have the same responsibilities but you may be making 30% more than your counterpart and no one knows.  So you risk losing your job and getting sued if you reveal salary info.

2- this site is a great source of information, but based on the shear volume of posts and users that fly for airlines compared to those that are executive there is a bit of confirmation bias.  If you came here looking to confirm your decision to fly for the airlines you will find it, and it is likely the right choice anyway if that is the case.

3 - seek out all sources of information.  I have no doubt the airlines is a sweet lifestyle with good pay.  I just wouldn't come here and expect many alternative experiences.

4 - best of luck in whatever you do.  If you have planned and executed a major exercise, written TTPs, or made critical decisions in the air when seconds matter you will do just fine in the airlines or in the business world.

good luck!

 

 

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16 hours ago, Justonethought said:

2- If you came here looking to confirm your decision to fly for the airlines you will find it, and it is likely the right choice anyway if that is the case.

3 - seek out all sources of information.  I have no doubt the airlines is a sweet lifestyle with good pay.  I just wouldn't come here and expect many alternative experiences.

2- Hardly. It's a good fall back until I/in case I don't find that dream job. Pay/time off/bennies are great, but I don't find satisfaction in the work.

3- Not sure what you mean here. If we can only get the general experiences of the non-airline folks, void of salary, specific details of duties, sector/company name, strategies to get hired, I'm not sure how useful this thread will end up being. That said, there have been a few posts that provided tangible info useful in pursuing other opportunities. Thanks to those contributors.

Edited by Pancake

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1 hour ago, Pancake said:

3- Not sure what you mean here. If we can only get the general experiences of the non-airline folks, void of salary, specific details of duties, sector/company name, strategies to get hired, I'm not sure how useful this thread will end up being.

See the point about salaries and negotiations.  The salary info and position at best would be appropriate for a PM. Not a public post about salary and position.  Again, when you post your airline or military salary, the pay rates are already public knowledge.  I don't even know what my counterpart makes at my own company.  I can post general comments about QOL, culture, bro network (non-existent really) and pros and cons vs military flying.  The very fact I have not flown for the airlines and have gone corporate means I am qualified to speak only about the corporate life and not the airline life.  What I can speak to is the comparison to the military pilot life and the corporate executive life.  If you are looking for some unbiased arbiter to compare airline flying to corporate executive you likely won't find one.  The experience required in each field forces you to make a choice between one or the other.

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