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BY petevanepps

Planning a 2024 military transition? Start now!

Planning a 2024 military transition? Take note. A close friend of mine is a realtor in Dallas. He is a very successful realtor, and if you’ve been following along, you have seen that the economy hasn’t been great for home buying in 2023. High interest rates and high inflation have created strong economic headwinds in the residential real estate market. Recently, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell held interest rates steady for the third consecutive time and signaled a lower of rates through 2024 and 2025. Of course, no one can predict the future, and Mr. Powell wasn’t making any promises, but the market responded positively, and many people are making plans to make a move into the housing market in 2024.

The funny thing is my realtor friend in Dallas has been urging his clients (both current and future) all year to start planning now. His tagline has been, “If you plan to make a move in 2024, start planning now because 2024 is closer than you think.”

The first time I saw one of his “future planning” posts on Instagram in  January 2023 urging his clients to start planning for 2024, I immediately thought about the JMO transition parallel. So much of what he says to his clients is what I say to JMOs. If you are considering making the move from the military to the business world in 2024, start planning now!

The Economy

The question I probably heard the most from military officers in 2023 is, “What’s going on with the economy?” They obviously aren’t asking me about my views on Keynesian economics versus neoclassical economics. JMOs want to know if the economy will support their transition! When I do get that question, it’s almost like they have already decided that the economy will not support a move out of the military and they are looking for some confirmation that they should stay in. I do not see it as my role to encourage a JMO to stay in or get out. I specifically wrote about that in the blog post Should I Stay or Should I Go? That said, here is an interesting fact. In over the half-century of helping military officers move to corporate America, Cameron-Brooks has never canceled a Career Conference. That statement is less about Cameron-Brooks and more about the leadership advantage that the military officer possesses. Even in the height of the most recent economic uncertainly in the Spring and Summer of 2020, companies still hired military officers. This may be a bit of a contrarian viewpoint, but some would say it’s actually more advantageous to launch a business career as a development candidate during strong economic headwinds. Let me explain. If a company is hiring, especially when the economy may be pointing in a more downward direction, that means that the company has a problem. They are looking for leaders to step into the breach and bring value to the organization. Also, once the economy turns, those problem solvers and leaders are the ones who tend to propel forward quickly in their careers.

Take Control

Officers take control. The are trained since before they commission to analyze a situation, create a plan, perform a risk analysis and mitigation process, and then execute! That advice to “take control,” at least when it comes to your military career, is not as helpful because when it comes to managing your career, it’s really out of your hands, at least for the most part. You have a detailer or a branch manager or a monitor or someone at a higher headquarters who is managing officer assignments. Frankly, it is easy to kick the can down the road, waiting to see what the next assignment is or waiting for the perfect time or conditions to make the move from the military. Instead of using the planning and problem-solving skills that offices practice in their day-to-day military duties and responsibilities, I see officers typically let others make decisions for them based on a manning cycle. If you are considering a move from the military in 2024, prepare now. Set a 5-year goal. Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? Where are you taking your career? The answers to those questions are typically developed today, and the action required to get there starts with taking control.

Find a Guide

If you are with me this far and you have said to yourself, “I am ready to explore my options in order to set a goal to make the move to corporate America in 2024,” then your next step is to find a guide. In life, we rely on guides and experts to get us into the best situations. Whether it’s the best fishing or hunting spots, our tax returns, our golf swing, our spiritual life, our our physical health, we trust and rely on guides and experts to put us in the best possible position to find success. Making the move from the military to the business world should be absolutely no different. With all the mistakes, miscues, and miscalculations that stand between you and your goal, why would anyone leave their transition to chance? There are experts in this arena who have guided military officers to launch extremely successful, fulfilling, and lucrative careers in corporate America. Of course, you could go it alone. We could all go it alone, but when something this important with far-reaching consequences is in front of me, I typically don’t.

If you want to talk to me about your future goals and plans, let’s do that. No pressure. No strings. If you like what you see and hear, we can build a plan that is right for timing and goals and move toward a successful launch in 2024 and beyond!

Best of success in the coming year,
Pete Van Epps


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