Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Boot Again In The Civilian World

Photo by Cpl. Caitlin Brink

Most veterans and military personnel remember their first military training experience with pride and dread. Pride in successfully completing their first military experience and dread from being so new and unknowledgeable when they got to their first unit. However, by only remembering the negative consequences of being a “boot,” we forget what being a boot really did for us to make our military career successful.

I remember when I got to my first unit in Korea as a brand new 2nd lieutenant or “Butter Bar.” I was fresh from Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course and Ranger school at Fort Benning in Georgia and knew enough to realize that I didn’t know anything. When I got to my first platoon, a 4.2-inch mechanized heavy mortar platoon, my training really started when the privates, specialists and NCOs in my unit began training me on all the equipment, weapons and tactics. They taught me how to fire all the weapons assigned to the platoon, licensed me on all the vehicles, and made sure I passed the mortar gunnery exam. For every new unit I went to, I repeated this process with the enlisted and noncommissioned officers who provided me the knowledge that ultimately made me successful in that position. When I look back at my military career, what made me a good officer in infantry and special operations units was this foundation that I received as a boot. Indeed, I think a large part of my success in combat operations was due to the fact that I knew intimately what teams on the ground could and could not do.

Having a successful business career and a successful transition means many times going back to become and succeed as a boot again. Before I started my current job in the railroad industry, I led and coordinated a 30-plus multinational, multi-service special operations planning team in Iraq. When I started with my current company, I was in charge I was a boot again. So what did I do? I learned the entire range of positions, what each did, how it operated, and how each position achieved success. After that, I was promoted to lead a small team and I repeated the process I learned as a boot in the military. Today, much of my success comes from those early days as a boot where I learned and perfected the basics.

When we look through post-military career job listings, many of us jump straight to senior manager or director positions and miss those entry-level management positions that will make us extraordinarily successful in our future career. Next time, before you apply or interview for a position, check out the CEO, CFO, and COO biographies on the corporate web site. Without a doubt, you will see they started in entry-level positions, learned and perfected the basics, and then moved up.

Related: Here are 7 awesome resources your transition class didn’t offer.

Success in both military and civilian careers can come from being a boot where you learn the skills, culture, and leadership style to be successful. Bottom line: engage and become a boot again in your new career pursuit. Military skills and leadership style combined with a great attitude and a willingness to learn is what defines success from the bottom up and will immeasurably propel your career.

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Russ Scalf)

The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.

These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.

Read More Show Less