In the Network

I recently attended a transition assistance program for senior-level Marine officers. I was there at the request of the people delivering the program because of my perspective on the workplace and my understanding of the military (pretty much the same reasons I write for It turned out that I had deployed and worked closely with three colonels at the event. I had also deployed with the Brigadier General who was hosting. Of course, it was like Old Home Week as we caught up with one another.

Although I have mentioned this before, it bears repeating based on my conversations at the seminar: At first glance, I would not be considered in the network of these four guys. After all, we hadn’t seen each other in over a decade. It would be easy to for them to rule me out -- and that is an area where we all make mistakes when networking. They are not in a position to rule anyone out -- nor am I. It may turn out that I cannot help any of them today. But I do have insights and experience, and I very well may have connections I can introduce them to. What is certain is that nothing happens unless they consider me part of their network. This is a lesson we all need to remember.

Also interesting is how hard it is for members of the armed services to talk without using acronyms. Sure, most of the people in that room knew what they were saying, but not everyone did. This is another big mistake that transitioning veterans make. We must be able to explain what we did in terms the person we are talking to can understand. It takes a bit of practice, but it is definitely doable.

Finally, most of these Marines were one year out from end of service. That’s smart timing. Today it can take that long for highly-qualified people to get work. I know a number of folks who were in the job-search for that long. They are top performers, but things take time in this economy. Keep that in mind as you think about looking elsewhere. Employers are uncertain about the economy and about legislation that will affect the bottom line.

It was great to see my old friends. I hope I was able to give them—and you-- some valuable insight during the transition to the civilian sector.

--- About Wally Adamchik Wally Adamchik is a nationally respected expert on leadership and personal excellence. He is the President of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting and works across North America helping organizations improve their leadership abilities at all levels. His work has been featured in Fortune Small Business, numerous national trade publications and countless daily newspapers. Wally graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where in his senior year he was the mascot. He served with distinction as an Officer of Marines for ten years, first as an armor officer and then flying AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters. He traveled to six continents while on active duty. After the Marines he was recognized for superior performance as a regional manager for a national restaurant company. At the same time he earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After UNC, he was again recognized for superior performance at a national consulting company. He founded FireStarter Speaking and Consulting in response to demands from clients for tailored and effective leadership consulting. He lives in Raleigh, NC and is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a board member at the state level. He is also a board member at the state level for the Notre Dame Alumni association. Wally is the author of NO YELLING: The Nine Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership You MUST Know To WIN In Business ( You can visit his website at He welcomes your comments and questions at Show Full Article

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Military Transition