Mark Fichten Major, Army, retired
"I hated the word "networking" before I started looking for my first job after retirement, but now I am a believer!"
As a Major in the United States Army, my MOS of Manager, Military Intelligence System Test and Evaluation, in the Intelligence Evaluation Directorate, armed me with plenty of marketable skills. I received extensive training during my years of military service in personnel management as well as Information Technology.
This training and experience paved the way for my new career. I am currently Project Manager with SNVC, providing information technology consulting services to the government. I enjoy using the many skills I learned in the military, as well as exploring new avenues in my chosen profession.I live in Dale City, Virginia with my wife Ginny and two children. Michael is 13 and CJ is 10. My hometown was Federal Way, WA - smack in the middle between Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, but we decided to stay right here in Virginia when I retired. I was assigned to the Pentagon in 1992 and served my last 8 years in the Army here in the National Capital area. Since we have lived on the economy (not in government quarters on a military post) for eight years, we essentially made our residential transition eight years ago. I'm a member of TROA (The Retired Officers Association) and keep in contact with lots of former military colleagues, especially classmates from West Point. I graduated in 1981.
During my time in the military I picked up many worthy habits. I learned to excel on a personal level, as well as being a team player. West Point instilled the concepts of duty, honor and country, which have served me well for 24 years of military service and will do me well in the civilian world. The Army prepared me for the civilian world by instilling within me professionalism, a strong work ethic, and integrity. The one thing I miss least about military life, however, is going to the field!
Before my retirement, I used every aspect of the Army's transition services. This helped prepare me for the stressful task of job hunting. I hated the word "networking" before I started looking for my first job after retirement, but now I am a believer! I registered my resume at three of the big online resume sites like computerjobs.com and monster.com. But in the end, every interview I received and the job I got were a result of networking.
I suggest that you ask all your friends and acquaintances if they would look at your resume and provide feedback. Don't ask them if they know of a job that is available! That will/may come later. Asking them to give you some feedback makes them feel good that you respect them enough to ask. Then, if they know of anything available, they will pass it on. Of course you must be sincere in this. Don't give your resume to the guy running the tiny store in the Pentagon! He won't be impressed at all. Good luck!
Compiled by: Barbara Poisson