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Updated: Feb 16

We are continuing this week's series about the initial transition from service to civilian, yesterday we talked about choosing our own professional future.


Today we're diving into Belief 2️⃣: We need to translate our own story to successfully make that transition.


There is a prevailing false belief that our prospective civilian employers will respect what we did in the military and just give us a job.⁣

⁣A quick story: at my first advertising agency, I was seeing a lot of success as a mid-level producer. I was also doing some writing and directing and client services. It was clear to me that I was able to seamlessly move from department-to-department because of my experience on the flight line.


But that's not how advertising agencies work. They are actually more hierarchal and rigid than the military.

I took my CEO out for beers to let him know I had ambition to scale to the position of executive producer and ask for mentorship and feedback.


His response stunned me: “I don't think you're there yet. You're very good at filling the gaps at your current level as a producer and storyteller, and you keep everyone on task, but you haven't done it long enough.”


I was confused and hurt. He quite literally described what an executive producer does as something I already did – build and lead cross-functional teams to execute and ship quality work.

I moved on from the organization, freelanced for a bit, and within the next year I was an executive producer at another agency doing bigger work on bigger clients.


I was tempted to think he was entirely wrong, I was entirely right, and that I simply needed to find an employer who better understood me and what I offered.

Instead, I reflected on what my contribution was (or wasn't). I observed that I did not communicate clearly enough not just what I thought, saw, and believed about my military service and its application to this new environment, but also the actions I was taking that aligned with those thoughts, sights, and beliefs.


As far as I can tell, there are 3️⃣ elements to translating our own stories for our employers.


▪️UNDERSTAND what our experiences and skills are

▪️IMPLEMENT the frameworks that are downstream of those experiences and skills on the job⁣

▪️COMMUNICATE how we will use – and are using – those experiences and skills in our new environment⁣


Terminal leave is too late.

Do the work that's right in front of you, and see what happens.

✍🏼 Carey Kight is not an operator … he’s just a flight line guy helping veterans build ⚡️SKILLS⚡️ to successfully transition from service-to-civilian.


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