Our Podcast

BY petevanepps

The Transition from Military to Corporate- We Understand (E180)

Choosing to make a move from the military is an important decision and one that most military officers do not make lightly. We understand. At Cameron-Brooks, we have over a half-century of experience helping military officers navigate that decision. Our company is led by our CEO, Chuck Alvarez, who transitioned from the Army in 1993, and our Senior Vice President, Joel Junker, who transitioned in 1999. I made the move to Corporate America in 2003, and our most recent team member, Brock Dudley, started at Cameron-Brooks earlier this year.

In this podcast episode, Joel and I discuss the three biggest reasons we heard through the years as to why military officers transition from the military.

Quality of Life

This is probably the number one reason we hear as to why officers transition. It’s not that officers aren’t proud of their service – quite the opposite. Most of the officers that I speak with are glad to have served and are proud to wear the uniform. As officers progress in their careers, they tend to also start families and have children and their interests grow broader regarding community service. Deployments, underway, and long periods of watch standing tend to take their toll. Joel and I agreed that officers tend to find a much higher quality of life outside of the military, but we also agreed that life outside of the military has its set of challenges with longer work hours and business trips. The biggest difference that we have found is that the nature of the work tends to accommodate the trade-off of long work hours or higher travel.

Career Control

Regardless of your military branch, you have a branch manager, detailer, career manager, or monitor who has the responsibility of managing officers’ careers. Some officers really appreciate this because they don’t have to think or worry about managing their careers. There is security in this. In some ways, there is less uncertainty in letting someone else manage your career. You know that on a specific date, you will get orders telling you where to go and when to be there. In Corporate America, everyone is responsible for managing their own career. Some people are very attracted to the fact that they get to decide what job they will apply to and when they will do it.


For the first three officer ranks, with rare exceptions, everyone is promoted at the same rate and all earn the exact same salary increase, regardless of performance, results, or effort. Promotions in the business world follow a different protocol. We are promoted and compensated based on results. Many officers long for that sort of incentive structure because they like to bet on themselves. They are wired to deliver high-quality results and they want to win. The inequity of everyone receiving the exact same reward regardless of results is enough to move officers to an environment where their contributions directly affect their compensation and promotion.

This podcast is not designed to convince anyone to stay in or get out of the military. Joel and I wanted to have this discussion to help officers hear perspectives about options. A point we were sure to touch on in the recording of this episode is how we know that the move to Corporate America is not right for everyone. For many officers, military service is their primary motivation and they are certainly willing to trade off other things for that end goal. To them, we say THANK YOU. We are grateful for the men and women who continue to serve our nation.

Regardless if you have made the decision to transition from the military or not, if you are interested in exploring options, we want to help. I have many conversations with officers who are on the fence about what is next, and often, a quick discussion about future plans and goals can be clarifying and helpful. If that is you, I would be happy to make myself available for a conversation.

Here’s to your success!
Pete Van Epps

If you want to learn more, head over to our website and YouTube Channel and follow us on LinkedIn.

If you want to learn more about your transition options, please get in touch with us.

You can also check out our Transition Guide on “3 Game-Changing Strategies for JMOs Making the Jump to Business” for additional transition tips.