Arrington Career/Transition Tip Series Article 3

Arrington Career/Transition Tip Series Article 3

Congratulations: You have found the Arrington Career/Transition Tip series. I believe this will be helpful because I notice people making decisions without necessarily knowing there are additional steps they can do to help their chances at successfully landing. So, I’ve created these tips and placed them in article form for ease of discovery.

Career/Transition Tip #3


Would you be shocked to hear that even with my year of transitioning research and execution, I had the same feelings you have right now all the way up to and through the two job offers I received from two different companies, with roles located in two different States, and received from both companies on the SAME day? That was a Friday night in mid-June, 2-weeks before my official retirement date of 1 July 2019.

With two offers in hand I then became even more petrified than the whole year of transition. The reason, I was hit with Analysis Paralysis because I didn’t know which offer to choose for fear of OPPORTUNITY COST! “What if I choose wrong”!

The weekend that should have been a glorious celebration because I had definitely landed and all I had to do was choose, became a weekend wrought with tears and anxiety and a ton of calls I began making out to my mentors to ask them what I should do!!! Justin C. Pearson, Roger Roley, John W. Phillips, Jason Smith, Bryan Ostrowski, Chris Peck, am I lying about my fear that weekend???

And yes, it was a tear filled weekend and not the happy kind!!

Read this interview I gave to FourBlock to see my transition MINDSET up until this “Draft Day” so you can understand my journey, but even with the job offers I was still FEARFUL. FEARFUL of choosing wrong between Accenture in Atlanta (where we already had a house and were settled with no need or plans to change) and Wells Fargo in Charlotte (providing a complete uncertainty on if our house in Atlanta would even sell and should we uproot our family to a place I’ve never been nor thought of ever moving to).

The endstate in all of this was that I truly had a Cinderella transition story, but that wasn’t a guaranteed state-of-being that I could see in advance throughout the past year. What I was first sure of though, especially in the first month of my 13-month transition journey, was that I knew nothing of how to transition and I knew that meant I had to put in THAT WORK. To take a reference from Cinderella I would have to “mop a lot of my mothers floors” to learn how to transition. THAT WORK would require me to discover what was out there for me, figure out what my true WHY was, attend every networking event, put in more LinkedIn hours a day than Jeff Weiner, and use every resource possible (putting in an in-definitive time commitment and trust in the resources while having no clue if they will help lead to success).

Second, I had to deal with the fear of the unknown and the continuous stress of needing to provide for my 6 kids and wife with our, current at the time, paycheck to paycheck lifestyle and zero savings near transition date. Consider this my “angry Stepsisters around every corner keeping me fearful and deprived of certainty of security.”

Then I felt guilty for feeling scared to choose between two amazing opportunities when so many other veterans and civilians out there were homeless, or unemployed with families. Here I am with two awesome job offers and I’m in a state of woefulness and self-pity because I had to choose between these opportunities that I had worked extremely hard to achieve for a year. So now after hours of my mind running I then had fear, anxiety, guilt, self-pity, and anger (at myself for not being grateful). Talk about a weekend!!! It was not fun for my wife either trying to console me while we were also trying to make a life-altering decision for the family. Not exactly the conditions that anyone would choose (missing clarity of mind) to make such a decision!

So see, everything you all are feeling, I felt, and I was one of the most prepared transitioning service members. So do not worry about that fear…it’s going to be there. The only way of getting through it to land successfully is exactly what you all are doing on LinkedIn and attending events, and leveraging support resources and connections. Through active engagement with the veteran advocate community, utilizing all the resources we are teaching you all about in articles, blogs, podcasts, posts, private messages, and websites like VETS2INDUSTRY, and never giving up, YOU WILL LAND!



EXPECTATION MANAGEMENT: You most likely WILL stumble, not everyone you send a cold LinkedIn Inmail to for an informational interview will answer you, independent and corporate recruiters that seemed interested in you may suddenly disappear, you’ll feel too tired to drive to that networking event (even though you are scared of “what if I don’t go..maybe my next job is waiting for me with one of those connections tonight”), you’ll be under stress and snap on the people you love (then feel guilty), YOU ARE NOT ALONE! The only people not feeling this way about their transition are those that are content with retiring to a cabin in the woods and driving a lawn mower in retirement for extra bucks (you know the ones I’m talking about).

For those that want to stay work-active, everyone is going through your exact same emotions because we are high performers and are used to executing on plans but now are faced in a situation where the decision of where we land is ultimately in the hands of someone else that we have to convince to give us a chance (and we remain unsure what that role will look like, how effective we will be, and impostor syndrome sinks in…Yes this is a real thing, but it is not rationale! Your skills will eclipse the work required and asked of you…trust me).

The unfortunate truth though is, no matter how confident we talk ourselves up in times during this transition, until that job offer is in writing, we know we haven’t convinced anyone yet of our value proposition and the feelings we have will remain and our thoughts will run wild. This is natural, but you can ease it. This is how:

It’s just like Combat Lamaze…you know what your body is going to do during an OPERATION (because it’s the bodies natural self defense mechanism pushing adrenaline, decreasing fine motor skills, and initiating tunnel vision among many other psychological and physical changes) but you prepare for it, you train for it, and ensure you do what you can to lessen the effects so you stay out of THE BLACK. Transitioning is the same.

In a future article I will talk about how to complete the transition using military strategy and tactics (this is how I landed successfully and I will share tools I created to hit the drop-zone). In the meantime, practice Combat Lamaze during your transition.

Lets call this TRANSITION LAMAZE. To do this, first BREATHE! The next steps are to

  • OBSERVE yourself and your current situation (Do you have a plan, what current resources do you have to meet your desired end-state {this may change and that is ok}, what’s your time-frame),
  • ORIENT the environment to identify where and how to obtain what you are lacking (Location, Salary, Family needs, Desired state),
  • DECIDE where you will invest your time and energy for maximum effectiveness and gain (What resources will you use, When, Where, this is your de-confliction zone), and finally,
  • ACT to make this end-state a reality.

Enter this OODA-LOOP, and BELIEVE and KNOW “YOU CAN ALTER YOUR MINDSET!” You’ve done it before!


Original article was posted on LinkedIn on September 15, 2019