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Old 12-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Scared...

Ok so for the last five yrs I've been in the army so it is all I really know anymore.. but because of the draw down I may not be able to re-enlist and I'm honestly scared. I don't know what I would do if I have to get out, I have a lot of skills but nothing that could prob make enough money to support my family. I mean I could do what I do( sats) in the civ world and make 50-60k but I don't like it.... I was stupid and didn't get an education the 5yrs I've been it. Don't really know why I'm posting this just felt I needed to vent.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you're looking for sympathy, soldier, it's in the dictionary between shi"P" and syphillis! Ha Ha Ha! Thought you would appreciate that one. I retired from the Army about two years ago. Although I had a better situation than you may be in, you have skills and abilities that will help you thrive in the civilian world! Get with ACAP NOW and use the hell out of them. Start looking into utilizing your GI Bill toward something that you would prefer to do (or further your skills with what you do now). Start cutting back on your lifestyle now and put as much cash away as you can. Start talking to your wife and kid(s) now and prepare them as best you can for the transition. Talk with your chaplain, but I recall them saying that you need to be the one who puts the positive spin on the new adventure (for the kids - be honest with your wife in private). If you don't, the family will pick-up on your apprehension and amplify it making you worry more. Don't just take my word on this, talk with the chaplain and ACAP folks, people who are there for you. If it comes to having to get out, you'll do fine!

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice, im putting off acap till i see if i can go through the bear program. One of my soldiers just got out and is a freaking waiter with three mouths to feed, i cant do that... Its funny i am more scared about getting out than i was coming in...
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Note: I'm retired USAF, so I'm not sure of all of the Army acronyms.

The 1st thing you need to do is decide on if you are able/willing to locate anywhere, including OCONUS.

2nd, take a good self assessment of your skills. You may not be able to immediately land a job in your desired field (that's why it's called a job).

3rd, get with your base/post education office. If you haven't done so, you may just find that with all of your official Army training, you may be one or two classes away from an Associates Degree or better.

4th, start taking classes! College is virtually free in the military. It may suck to spend a lot of nights/weekends away from family/friends. But, it beats spending nights/weekends working a 2nd job. And even if you don't complete school, if the person doing the hiring has the choice between two otherwise identical candidates for a job, it'll put you a leg up on the competition.

5th, write several resume's. Start with one focused on the job/trade you would like to do and what you have to offer. Then write a few that are tailored to the job(s) you are currently qualified to do.

6th, take a look around at private companies and government agencies that do what you do (yes, the military isn't the only one doing your job) and bookmark the company websites. You may even keep an eye out on who makes the equipment you use on the job.

7th, locate some of the "Service Organizations". Since you are in Germany, I know that there is an American Legion there. They should be able to help you with resume' writing, VA benefits, etc.

And last but not least, be positive but realistic. I'm sure you know that there is a better chance that you won't have to leave the Army. If you compare the "proposed" cuts to the number on active duty, you can gauge your odds. So, accept this time as a chance to do/try something new (clown college?).
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My son just reenlisted in the Army, so I just assisted him.

While I was a infantry company commander in the Army, I used to counsel soldiers who were looking to reenlist or go for promotion to do this:

1) Pull your records and review EVERYHTING for errors, omissions, etc. Check each item, and check your life for ANYTHING. A missing decoration, letter of recommendation, PE test score, education level, combat months, overseas months, etc.
2) Look at the points list to see what you are missing. For example, if you are a HS graduate, moving to some college gets you X points. Take an online class NOW, or even seek out a REAL CREDIBLE university that will give you a couple college credits for life experience. Another thing is check your qualifications. Maybe you can reshoot on the M16 or whatever, moving from Marksman to Expert.
3) Is there any MOS schools you can take? How many points.
4) Lastly, look at your MOS. If you are, for example, an 11B infantryman, it may take 540 points for promotion to E5, and typically, a promotion guarantees a reenlistment. However, it may take 700 points to be promoted as a Field Medic E5, be cause the Army already has a boatload of them, so they do not need to promote or reenlist many E4’s (or whatever). You may need to switch to a critical need MOS. Your 1st Sgt or Platoon leader should be able to help you to find out what is needed.
5) Talk to your Company Commander, Command Sergeant Major, etc. If these people want you, then they can help on the ReUp. If they say they do not want you, find out why and see if it is correctable.

At the tail end of Vietnam, the Army flushed a huge number of infantry. No war, no need. Those who were E3 – E6 who had issues, low evaluations, overweight, etc. were handed their walking papers.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow, apparently every retiree from the Army winds up on VMF...

So, I'm also retired Army, been out for about 6 years now. Only you can fully know what your chances of reenlisting are, but there's some sound advice here about that already. I'll try to help you a little with the ETS option.

ACAP is a good starting point, but it's just that. You're not going to walk into ACAP and walk out with a six figure job. You're going to have to work at it. I spend a lot of time working with soldiers leaving the Army. There are jobs out there. Start with where you want to live (or don't want to live) and what you really want to be when you grow up. If you want to be a brain surgeon, then you may have to set some interim steps to get to that goal, but it's achievable. You may have to take a $50-60k job doing what you don't want to do until you get out of brain surgeon school. Beats waiting tables...

You have skills, even if you don't want to work in the satellite field. You know how to show up for work on time, do what you're told, and how to do a job well, even if it's difficult. Employers are having trouble finding that today. I currently work in the oil industry, and former military are very valuable here. Also, check out Amazon. They have an excellent program for hiring former military. Learn to market the skills you have.

One last bit of advice. ACAP is decent, but one of the best resources I've ever found is a book called "Knock'em Dead." It helps you understand how to market yourself. Again, you can't just read the book, you have to work at it, but I've found it to be a great resource.

Let us know more about what you're looking for, and where.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=Husky44;4347016]Wow, apparently every retiree from the Army winds up on VMF...

No, there are a few sailors here too. In any event, when I left the Navy after 8 years, I was terrified as much as I was excited. Granted, I left the military single, and only had to worry about myself, but I understand the scare. Looking back at it, I realized that the work ethic and experiences I gained in the service were an asset, and although you may not end up exactly where you want to be when you get out, remember its just the first step. You have likely overcome much worse before.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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See their are many things i wouldnt mind doing, problem is i have a pay limit in order to live same life style you know because E5's make so much...i thought about law enforcement, border patrol, ICE. But im very mech inclined so i thought about something physical.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Gen. George Patton said "Don't take council of your fear."
Plan for the worst and when it doesn't happen you'll be all the happier! You got some great advice. Work on things to keep you in (Course of Action #1), but also plan on if you must get out (COA#2). Planning will give you the peace of mind and let you know what your options are. However, as said above, you need to act! You have time to update records insuring you look like the quality soldier (no "issues" or missing documents indicating "missing" training etc) that you are. You can make yourself more competitive with another school(s) (even if only maxing out military and civilian education points if you have not already). At the same time you are preparing to stay in, start the planning if you must get out. ACAP wants you to start a year out so you can maximize their assistance. Start looking what ICE, BP pay, cost of living where you’d like to relocate, etc. Start looking into using the GI Bill (they pay BAH at E-5 rate if you take at least one in-class course and minimum 9 credit hours). If you can BEAR over into a shortage MOS, then that will nullify everything, but if you start to further your education and save as much cash as you can until you know what is going to happen, you will simply be in a better position. Yes, you will not have needed the research you did about getting out, but you will be closer to getting a degree (helpful towards future promotions) and have that much more cash for emergencies, never a bad thing. Opportunity only knocks once, after that it is up to you to find/make your own. You own the future!
P.S. Sorry for the corny clichés and excessive use of parenthesizes. Ha Ha Ha!
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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See their are many things i wouldnt mind doing, problem is i have a pay limit in order to live same life style you know because E5's make so much...i thought about law enforcement, border patrol, ICE. But im very mech inclined so i thought about something physical.
This is going to sound waaayyy too cliché. Please just trust me that it's learned from experience. I'm no smarter than you, just farther down the road, so I know the bumps and potholes a little better:

If you try to determine what you're going to spend your life doing by the salary associated with it, you're going to spend the rest of your life worried about a paycheck. Figure out who you're wired to be, what it is that makes you tick, what makes you excited about life. Do that for a living. You may not be able to "live the same lifestyle" but you'll be infinitely more happy. I can give you many examples, but I'll just cite two: I met a guy running a whitewater raft on the Colorado River outside Jackson, WY. He worked in the winter as ski patrol. He didn't have much, and he'd admit it, but he was happy. MUCH happier than he'd been for the first 15 years after college working as an investment banker on Wall Street.

Second example: I retired six years ago, and went to work in the oil industry. I make what I consider to be obscene amounts of money. I'm looking every day for God to present the opportunity to resign and move to something where I can make a difference in people's lives. See, in the Army, when it really sucks, you can remind yourself "at least I'm making the world safe for democracy." In the oil industry, saying "at least I'm increasing shareholder value" doesn't really do much to motivate you through the BS. I've got more toys than I can use. My wife and I don't worry about money, but that doesn't make us happy. In fact, I'm happiest with my money when I'm using it to bless someone else (no, that's not an invitation to VMFers who need project funds ).

OK, off the soapbox. The point is this: Salary doesn't make you happy. Fulfilling who you're wired to be is what will bring you true happiness, even if that means your lifestyle takes a step down.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Wow since i got my first job ten yrs ago you are the first person to ever tell me to do what makes me happy...
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wow since i got my first job ten yrs ago you are the first person to ever tell me to do what makes me happy...
Can't tell if this is sarcasm or not

Lots of folks say it, but not many do it. That's why you see a lot of people grumpy at work and bitching about their jobs.

Hoping I can help.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hey man, my brother's in the same boat as you next year. At least being scared is normal. Myself, I've never been in the military. But, if you're willing to listen to a regular joe with all the pressures of raising a family, I'd just look for a job that provides the most comfort for your family that allows you some time to spend with them. That will make you happy. If you like your job, well, that's just a bonus.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It wasnt sarcasm... their has been something i liked about all the jobs i have had but other than the army pay sucked... But as for a job i would be happy doing for the rest of my life, i always felt im suppose to help people. Actually the day i went to meps i was suppose to go to a interview with a police department. What will hold me back from alot of jobs i would like is my ed, no degree and no way to get one in under a yr...

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:54 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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What will hold me back from alot of jobs i would like is my ed, no degree and no way to get one in under a yr...
Go to the Education Center and talk to them! You might be able to get an AA degree within that time frame. After they evaluate your AARTS transcript, then you will see what you need toward the AA. Then look at which of those you might be able to CLEP-out on and you may only need a few classes. Then start with those. Even if you do not get a degree and have to get out, you will be that much closer! Once out, the GI Bill can help supplement your income until you get the degree and get a better job. Will it be tough, yes! Will it be worth it, Hell yes! Now, move out and draw fire!

P.S. Where in Germany are you?
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