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BY Hope Nunnelley

I Speak with Hundreds of JMOs…These are the Top THREE Most Common Reasons They Want to Make the Jump

I speak with hundreds of JMOs every year. As a transition specialist, my job is to connect with officers who are first starting their transition research and are curious about options available to them in Corporate America. In addition to speaking with officers who are at the beginning stages of their research, I also speak with officers who have already made the decision to transition. Resignation packets have been submitted, and they are excited and ready to step into a new career path.

These are two very different stages of the transition thought process.

However, in my conversations, I often hear the same themes.

One of my favorite questions to ask an officer is: “Why are you considering a transition?”

It’s important for me to understand the WHY behind this question for our informational phone call. Are you curious about how your military experience could translate into business opportunities? What even IS Corporate America? Are you concerned about stability if you decide to transition? What are the driving factors at play when trying to make your transition decision? The root cause or WHY reveals motivation. And it helps us better understand how we can help.

The “why” behind hopping on a phone call with a transition firm commonly comes down to these three things.
  1. Stability & Career Control. Stability for family life and stability from a work-life balance standpoint. I once spoke with an officer who had been deployed almost three of his four years of active-duty time. Being gone on and off again with deployments and trainings sounds exhausting to me, so I can only imagine how it FEELS. Many of the officers I speak with have missed family weddings, graduations and major life events due to being abroad, deployments, etc. Having more control over your career and the ability to manage your own schedule without worrying about last-minute assignments sounds very enticing.
  2. Meritocracy. I often hear the analogy of “the double-edged sword” in my conversations with officers. The military guarantees a job, a steady paycheck and promotions. It’s dependable! However, your performance and your fellow Lieutenant/Captain/Major’s performance may vary, but all get paid the same and promoted on the same timeline. This can be a major source of frustration for top-performing JMOs. Many officers I speak with want to be rewarded based on performance. In Corporate America, promotions, pay increases, etc. are not based on time in grade like they are in the military. They are based off of the contributions a person can make to their company and their ability to positively impact the bottom line. Additionally, there are many more forms of compensation in the business world compared to the military. If you’d like to learn more about how compensation works in Corporate America and what factors go into it, read our latest transition guide here.
  3. Challenge. Some of the officers I speak with have already accomplished the goals they set out to tackle when they joined the military. They feel like they’ve served their time and are ready for the next challenge. Regardless of the branch and career field in which you serve in the military, the path is pretty well delineated without much room to deviate. Starting a new career chapter in a world where industries can operate at lightning-fast speed, where they get to learn new skills, and where they can control their own career path is exciting. And it’s something they’re looking forward to as they consider long-term career goals.


These are the top three things I hear when JMOs tell me they’re considering a transition. I’m sure there are many more factors at play in the transition decision, but these always seem to come out first. If you are working your way through some of these thoughts, let’s chat! Fill out a Contact Us Form on our website, and one of our team members will be in touch. Or feel free to dial us directly at 210-874-1500. You can also stay connected by following us on LinkedIn.


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