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Leaving the Air Force for Something Other than the Airlines

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2 hours ago, Justonethought said:

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.

Ha! This is getting funny.

I'm not.

Nevermind.

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Pancake, 

Business jobs are completely varied.  Comparing upper level management benefits is futile.  And a part of that is what you negotiate (already mentioned by others).  And even if you knew my base salary, I wouldn't want to try to explain the metrics associated with the bonuses I was eligible for since it would put you to sleep.  

Additionally, you contradict yourself.  You say the pay and benefits in the airlines are great, but you're not satisfied.  Then go find something that will satisfy you, if that's what's important.  But don't complain about the lack of pay information here:  you've already stated your current well-paying gig isn't cutting it, so what does it matter?

As for executive level jobs, if you weren't an O-6 who can get an executive headhunter, you better have networked very, very well over the past few years.  As a retired O-5, getting directly into the Executive Director job, my situation isn't too common.  And it didn't happen by accident.  If that's what you're looking for, do you have those kind of connections?  

Finally, you can do another job AS an airline pilot.  I met a jumpseater that was furloughed for 9 years, and went and got a law degree.  He does wills, trusts, and that sort of thing on layovers.  In my case, I am doing a plethora of odd, part-time jobs that are "satisfying".  

You should have the time to do something satisfying too.  My gut feeling is that you just need to think outside the box.  

Edited by HuggyU2
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In an attempt to bring this back on course... I've seen the PMP mentioned as a good certification to get. Any others that seem to be worth the squeeze? Seems like I find Agile and LeanSixSigma type stuff on top LinkedIn accounts.

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Pitching back in, but on fumes.  Certificates/titles are a bonus.  When you walk in the door no one cares what you are certified in, they care about what you can explain and do.  The certification may get  you the interview over the next guy/gal, but it is not getting you the job.  A certificate without experience or relevant examples means nothing.  If you are a PMP, tell me how you got there.  If you can't clearly explain how you earned a certification (pmp) don't even include it.  These certifications are quickly becoming  deflated and are the equivalent of "box checking".

responsed to this because it seemed like  a genuine question-pitching out for real

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Every person has a unique situation and at the end of the day I strongly encourage each person to follow the path that provides the most happiness and satisfaction to both you AND your family.  Honestly I did not put as much thought into the “after” plan as I should have.  I’ve invested well and don’t need to work, but as I got closer I decided I still wanted to avoid becoming a sloth and do something meaningful, at least for a few years.  I hit the button a year in advance and the airline gig was really heating up, with over 4,000 hours TT and 2500+ IP time I thought it was a no-brainer, I could work part-time make decent cash and have the travel benefit for my family.  I obviously have many bros at Delta and Fedex and they shared the good and the bad, so I decided to make that plan A. My plan had two basic flaws that were mistakes on my part, not insurmountable, but still limitations I needed to overcome.

1.  I had been sitting at a desk for the last two years NOT flying.

2.  I had not completed my ATP and now had to do the ATP/CTP course.

I started flying private again and signed up for the CTP deal (what a complete waste), and built my application on airline apps.  I hit the apply button with the written complete and provided updates with the CTP complete, new hours flown and finally added my ATP practical two weeks after my retirement ceremony.  When I hit the last update button with the ATP complete I thought, “ok the phone will ring any day now”…it did not.

Luckily I talked to a lot of folks (including Rainman), and I had a plan B that I was also working.  There are MANY resources for vets and Rainman walked me through several I had never heard of which, one really really helped (http://www.acp-usa.org/).  In very short order I was contacted about several positions, I had not applied to any of them, all word of mouth through my network.  I made it to the final two for a very senior job and was a bit relieved when I did not get it (location).  Over the course of a month I interviewed with several major defense contractors, with Google, with one of the largest food production companies, and with a major university.  I don’t want this to turn into a dissertation but I learned some valuable lessons.

1.  Industry is STARVED for leadership. 

2.  Industry professes to love Vets but in reality they are very concerned about them.  Many think every Vet has PTSD.

3.  Most jobs come from contacts and networking.

4. Industry has all the same problems and BS the military has.  As a SQ/CC, Grp/CC, Wg/CC I had to deal with DUIs, Rapes, theft and other buffoonery.  I have encountered many of the same issues at my current level in Industry.

After a flurry of interviews things went quiet for a while which was EXTREMELY frustrating.  Industry hiring moves at a glacial pace and I began to contemplate outright retirement.  I was REALLY shocked the airlines hadn’t called and am honestly still somewhat perplexed by that fact.  I have since learned how important recency is to the majors, I get it they are the pros, but it does not make sense to me.  When I returned to fly as a O-5 it took two weeks to requal.  When I returned as an O-6 I was scheduled for 10 rides, I did three rides and proficiency advanced to my checkride as a mission IP.  I was flying civilian but still had less than 100 hours in the last six months…oh well it is their ball and their game, they get to make the rules.

Four months later I got the call from Delta, over nine months after I first hit apply.  The next day I got a call from a company I interviewed with early on…the made me an offer (turns out they were waiting for a senior dude to say yes and he didn’t know he had to say yes.)  I sat down with my family and we had some long deliberations.  Every situation is different and my family was tired of me being gone all the time.  My son was established in school so taking a position with Delta was going to mean commuting and sitting reserve in a crash pad for at least a year.  I must say after going through all the asspain it was not easy to call Delta and say "no thanks!"

In the end I was able to parlay the industry position into a remote position working from my house.  My company flies me to the home office once a month and I generally leave on Monday morning and return Friday night.  The other travel has ramped up a bit but some of that is seasonal, some was unexpected because our company is GROWING, and the rest is self-imposed.  I ended up starting at about 7-8 year airline pay, well over that with my annual bonus which means I can do this for a few years and walk away with another chunk of $ to add to my portfolio.  We bought a few new toys but I have managed to save every penny of my retirement check.  It was not a simple choice but it works for me and most importantly my family.

 

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22 hours ago, Lord Ratner said:

How hard are you working?

Harder than someone flying the line at a major, but some of that is self-imposed.  I've never been afraid of hard work and my days in the WIC probably ruined me for life...

I am in the middle of a surge period, some of it is seasonal and they rest is being driven by tremendous growth of my company.  I have a three day weekend every other week but the last two months have been a LOT of travel.  I can see the slowdown on the horizon and we shut down for a week at Christmas, plus I have still have almost a month of vacation to use.  Working harder in the short-term was factored in to my calculus, work a bit harder for 3-5 years then be done, every person is different but I've seen to many people work until they are 65 and be physically unable to enjoy the fruits of their life-long labor.

 

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As a SQ/CC, Grp/CC, Wg/CC...

Good info...unfortunately this right here makes your success story irrelevant to the 99% of us that don't have that experience/connections.

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1 hour ago, olevelo said:


Good info...unfortunately this right here makes your success story irrelevant to the 99% of us that don't have that experience/connections.

The only reason Cleared Hot made it to where he is is because of his rank and position.  It had nothing to do with his talent, drive, or personality.  Nor with his ability to think big.  Plus, it's not possible to network with others until you get command and/or O-6+.  

As someone who also never made SQ/CC, I recommend you give up and accept something less.  

Edited by HuggyU2
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12 minutes ago, HuggyU2 said:

The only reason Cleared Hot made it to where he is is because of his rank and position.  It had nothing to do with his talent, drive, or personality.  Nor with his ability to think big.  

As someone who also never made SQ/CC, I recommend you give up and accept something less.  

Sarcasm at its best.  I appreciate it but I think it does little to inform the bros trying to find an alternative.

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2 hours ago, olevelo said:


Good info...unfortunately this right here makes your success story irrelevant to the 99% of us that don't have that experience/connections.

I was hoping someone would reply to this effect. I left AD 3 years ago and work at the same place where CH now works in additional to my guard gig.

Good company many mil folks would recognize, great work culture at our particular division (many retired/former mil), lots of growth right now as he said. We're in the defense/tech industry and located in a city I love with some folks working elsewhere in a couple of mostly desirable locations. I do mostly 40 hour weeks with some surge as needed and about 25% travel +/- 15% depending on the time of year and other business factors. I take home IVO what I did as a flying O3 > 8 years give or take.

As others have mentioned, unless you're a fed or work at the airlines pay can vary quite a bit even for people doing the same job based on background, prior salaries and negotiation skills so it's not real smart to be more specific with dollar amounts. Protip: don't under-sell yourself and make sure you look at net rather than gross, because a higher gross salary as a civilian will not always give you a higher net after you factor in healthcare and different tax treatment.

I was a CSO so no airlines for me. BA/MA in International Studies with a good reputation in my community and some valuable connections, but nothing special in terms of AF paperwork i.e. I was never the XX/CC of anything.

CH is indeed playing about 3 levels up from where I am, but his background and responsibilities at the company warrant that. Retiring as an O6 is not a requirement to work where we work, and if anything the ideal person is an E6-O4 with a background in one of the following: computer science, building/troubleshooting networks, radios and sensors, or government IT/IA/security or acquisitions.

Fair disclosure, two high-up company leaders (one of whom is my direct boss) flew the same airplane that I did on AD and knew me through the bro network if not directly. I got in touch, they needed someone for a job I could do and I was getting out right at about the same time so things worked out. I can't say that's exactly a repeatable process but I guess the keys for me were: A) be the best XX you can be and work well with others so when people bro-check you, you get two thumbs up, and B) be willing to relocate and learn new things as required. I did get a few hits on other positions (full-time guard, D.C. agencies, etc.), but this was the best choice all things considered.

If anyone is technically inclined and especially if you flew the U-28, MC-12W, AC-130W or AC-130J, PM me and I'm happy to make intros for good dudes.

Edited by nsplayr
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The only reason Cleared Hot made it to where he is is because of his rank and position.  It had nothing to do with his talent, drive, or personality.  Nor with his ability to think big.  Plus, it's not possible to network with others until you get command and/or O-6+.  
As someone who also never made SQ/CC, I recommend you give up and accept something less.  

My point was some of the specifics about that position (high responsibility, ability to work from home, salary, etc) more than likely have a direct correlation with his previous positions. I have no doubt that his intangibles also had a direct correlation with him getting those CC positions as well.

The point is that the O-3/4 separating today has probably a 5% chance of landing a position similar to what an O-6 is able to land, barring extreme circumstances. Talking management here of course.

Again, not taking anything away from what he said, and his details are much appreciated.

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It was meant to serve as an example an if you believe you have a 95% chance of failure, you will likely fail.

For the record, my BOSS separated a few years ago as an O-3.

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5 hours ago, ClearedHot said:

It was meant to serve as an example an if you believe you have a 95% chance of failure, you will likely fail.

For the record, my BOSS separated a few years ago as an O-3.

What did your boss do for n the AF?

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43 minutes ago, Pancake said:

What did your boss do for n the AF?

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

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On 9/1/2017 at 8:57 PM, HuggyU2 said:

Pancake, 

Finally, you can do another job AS an airline pilot.  I met a jumpseater that was furloughed for 9 years, and went and got a law degree.  He does wills, trusts, and that sort of thing on layovers.  In my case, I am doing a plethora of odd, part-time jobs that are "satisfying".  

This!  I've flown with a decent amount of guys that have side jobs.  Most of them started/built their side gig when they were widebody first officers.  Working 9-12 days/month, for a full months pay, lends itself well to pursing side gigs.  Many of them would drop a trip or two a month, but kept the job as an "insurance policy."  One went to Wharton and worked for McKinsey while he was furloughed.  I've seen lawyers, business consultants, auditors, CPA, CFP/CFA, defense contractors and a few other random business owners.  One of our 747 Captains is even an Executive for Flight Safety International.     

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So if folks don't feel comfortable sharing specifics of job options, can they shed light on the hiring process? 

Networking? If so, informal-I-know-a-guy or some sort if networking function? Recruiter? Random resume blasting? 

If my plan is to stay in the RegAF for 3-5 more years as line flyer, what can I do now to prep myself? I realize that's a fairly open-ended question, but what would maximize my options? MBA? PMP? 6-Sigma? 

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1 hour ago, schokie said:

Networking? If so, informal-I-know-a-guy or some sort if networking function? Recruiter? Random resume blasting? 

If my plan is to stay in the RegAF for 3-5 more years as line flyer, what can I do now to prep myself? I realize that's a fairly open-ended question, but what would maximize my options? MBA? PMP? 6-Sigma? 

Networking...I got nuthin special to recommend.  LinkedIn can help, but it all boils down to who you know.  Former colleagues, people from the gym, school, church, Grinder, etc.  Don't be afraid to reach out

Recruiters.  Yup...use them as best you can.  I've gotten great offers/opportunities from corporate recruiters reaching out to me on LinkedIn.  Pimp your LinkedIn account and remember that it is NOT Facebook.

Random resume blasting.  Not much success for me.  

Prep Yourself: 

1.  Start early.  I started a year before retirement (and did it half-assed) and I was way behind the curve.

2.  PMP is useful.  Don't just think passing the test will be enough to get hired.  PMP will help you stand out, but it's not a magic bullet.  I was able to work "Project/Program Manager" into my last two OPRs to help demonstrate tangible examples.  

3.  Six Sigma/Lean.  Depends.  Since retirement I've worked in production for Amazon and in non-defense manufacturing.  Six Sigma was useful in getting both of those jobs (more than PMP).  I went with Villanova to get my Green Belt just so there was a legit school/organization behind the training.  I don't see the value in getting a Black Belt for my current/future job.

4.  STAR format interviews.  Learn how to answer questions in STAR format and practice often.  Part of the issue(s) I've seen interviewing veterans is translating what they did in the military into "civilian speak".  Lose the acronyms and tell me about metrics.  I highly recommend the book "How to Interview like a Top MBA" for examples.

5.  Metrics.  I wish I had a better knowledge of Excel and data manipulation/visualization.  If I could go back in time, I'd work on getting super smart on Excel (macros, pivot tables, slicers, dashboards, etc).  In my civ experience, metrics win battles and wars.  No one gives a shit about my Powerpoint Ranger skills.

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Networking is far and away the best thing you can do for yourself. You can put all the bullets you want on your resume/LI page,  but having someone who can personally vouch for you is priceless.

BTW, mil/vets are eligible for a year of free premium LI...I have more LI tips if anyone if interested.

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2 hours ago, Day Man said:

Networking is far and away the best thing you can do for yourself. You can put all the bullets you want on your resume/LI page,  but having someone who can personally vouch for you is priceless.

BTW, mil/vets are eligible for a year of free premium LI...I have more LI tips if anyone if interested.

What tips do you have to actively use LI? I feel like I done more than the bare minimum with an actual resume, work history, and actual real professional photo. But the page just sits there passively. What am I missing out on?

 

5.  Metrics.  I wish I had a better knowledge of Excel and data manipulation/visualization.  If I could go back in time, I'd work on getting super smart on Excel (macros, pivot tables, slicers, dashboards, etc).  In my civ experience, metrics win battles and wars.  No one gives a shit about my Powerpoint Ranger skills.

You mean those hours I spent mastering the perfect slide transition are wasted? Perhaps the real key is to work in MX P&S. 

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10 hours ago, schokie said:

What tips do you have to actively use LI? I feel like I done more than the bare minimum with an actual resume, work history, and actual real professional photo. But the page just sits there passively. What am I missing out on?

- Get a nice, professional picture. No uniform shots, selfies, other people, etc. Smile.

- Your title should be relevant to your desired (civilian) role, not Flight Commander, Director of Staff, etc. Eliminate any military jargon/words you can throughout

- Customize your LI URL (linked.com/pete.mitchell vs linked.com/8723gl431gbf9o718345*#kj3214)

- Quantify your accomplishments in your positions...OPR/EPR bullets have great info, just make sure it's translated to civilian-speak

- Personalize connection requests if you don't know the target

 

There's a lot of info out there (just google 'LinkedIn tips")...let me know if you have any other questions.

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