A typical workday for me consists of researching and exploring possibilities that are new to both me and our environment within DHA and MED365. I collaborate with my team on existing projects, and new projects that we believe will provide benefit to the network. We all work together to learn, explore, and create new applications, or integrate existing commercial applications into our environment that will improve overall customer experience. We design and test these new ventures, before they’re even heard of throughout the domain. It’s a very unique opportunity to be on the forefront of emerging technologies, and to expand my knowledge of existing technology on a daily basis.
Quite a few. The first was the initial anxiety of losing the security blanket of always having a program somewhere to rely on with whatever we needed. The second was figuring out how to scale this new mountain of unknown possibilities in the civilian world. The VA, as well as many of the private recruiters I have encountered, have all been incredibly helpful with this. My biggest challenge was figuring out how to interact with people, both from a personal standpoint and in how to translate my professional experiences to them. I have been lucky enough to have a rather broad experience in this field of IT, so figuring out how to zone in on specific areas without overwhelming my audience was very difficult, as well as figuring out exactly where in IT I would like to be.
My initial job search experience was rather daunting. I had never made an actual resume before the military; I never had a need to research the job market and interact with potential employers. My anxiety was through the stratosphere. There was a lot of learning to be done in terms of how to translate my experiences and skillset to the civilian world. It felt like a sort of language barrier. I would reflect on every interaction to figure out what I can improve on, what needed to change, and how I can be more efficient. I sent well over one hundred applications and resumes within a 2-month period, had over a few dozen recruiters contact me on a near daily basis, but only had a handful of interviews. Professional feedback was minimal, so it was up to me to reflect and extrapolate whatever I could to improve. Finding the right questions to ask was often difficult as well. Many iterations of resumes and a couple months later led to the opportunity I have to work with today, so in the end, it was all worth the experience.
I believe my military training and experience has helped me in ways that nowhere else could have. Professionalism, workplace courtesy, and a constant search for knowledge are all things I directly attribute to having perfected from my time in the military. Also, the military taught me how to be resilient and flexible, to be comfortable in uncomfortable environments, how to face challenges head-on even when the circumstances are not ideal, and how to maintain situational awareness over my environment at all times. The military has given me the opportunity to experience a multitude of various cultures and life experiences from views I never would have had anywhere else, where keeping an open mind has allowed me to appreciate the world and people for who we all are regardless of background. And with my Network and Systems Administration experience across multiple afloat platforms on multiple warships, I feel like I’ve been best prepared to take on the challenges of this new opportunity.
Absolutely do not leave any stone in your past unturned. Leverage all training and experiences you had in the military during your transition. All of your collateral duties gave you the opportunity to explore and grow in a skillset outside of your primary duties and career field. For example, those of us that have been stationed on Naval warships know that outside of our primary duties, we all have to be expert Firefighters, HVAC technicians, Security Sentries, etc. Use those opportunities to show that not only are you well rounded, but you are easily trainable and an excellent team player. This is your time to shine, try not to humble yourself too much. Also, your transition is about YOU, and nobody else. In your time as a service member, you were taught to always work and speak as a team. The accomplishments were always your team’s accomplishments. During your transition, the credit for all the things you’ve been a part of is yours alone or nobody’s at all. When you write and speak about your experience, your team’s accomplishments are your accomplishments now. Employers want to see what YOU can bring to the table, what YOU can do for them, not what your team did. Lastly, never let rejection get you down. Remember that opportunities are everywhere. Never give up, never forget your worth, strive to work through the pressure just like the military taught you. Eventually you will find that it all pays off, and you’ll then wonder why you even worried at all.
Absolutely magnificent. Everyone has been very helpful and very understanding. I feel comfortable enough to seek guidance even when it is not related to my primary duties, and this is the kind of environment that brings out the best in everyone. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities they have given me, as well as the atmosphere they’ve created to make work one of the more enjoyable parts of my day. I wake up every morning excited for the day, and I end every shift happy for the experience and new ventures that TA3 has given me.