You’ve probably learned by now that the world doesn’t owe you anything: It’s indifferent to your preferences and plans. It’s hard and unwelcoming. But you’ve definitely learned that, with the right kind of energy and ingenuity, the big harsh world can bend to your will just a little — and sometimes, that “just a little” is enough to make things work.
If you’re thinking about enlisting in the military, you’ve already answered the most important question: Am I willing to put the security of my country and the safety of my future brothers and sisters in arms before my own interests and well being? Only you can decide that.
I was privileged in my 23-year Army career to work directly with four very successful general officers. The lessons I learned from them can be applied to both military and civilian leadership at every level and I promised my peers that one day I would write down what I saw.
College is the next step for many people leaving the military. As a transition pathway, this makes a lot of sense. Yet somehow a lot of us get lost in the process: going to the wrong school, pursuing the wrong degree, and even failing to graduate. Many veterans fumble during their transition because they view college through a narrow lens, emphasizing a simplistic view of a degree as a "check in the box." These folks miss out of other opportunities that could substantially improve their lives after service.
Successful careers and businesses are built through good relationships. Having credible references initiates some of those vital connections, by almost instantly helping you establish trust and validity. Your professional references should be strategically compiled with a diverse roster of contacts, ones whom you actually stay in touch with. Maintaining good references is evidence of good communication skills, and says that you’re a well respected and a likeable candidate.