Hooah - An Army Officer Primer On Corporate America
You Already Know The Army <ul><li>Warts and all, you know the Army. </li></ul><ul><li>To a great extent this PowerPoint is about explaining the hidden warts of being a civilian, and they ARE there. </li></ul><ul><li>No headhunter is going to show you the warts, but you need to know them to make a good decision. </li></ul><ul><li>Military & civilian life both have up sides & down sides compared to each other. </li></ul><ul><li>Different, not better or worse. </li></ul><ul><li>As an officer you have gone through an arduous process to become a military professional. This is a pretty good indication that there are elements of that lifestyle you like. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about it- why would you want to give up being in an exclusive group to go compete with civilians- the other 99%? </li></ul><ul><li>Would a doctor decide to go become a salesman just because there are elements of practicing medicine they don’t like? </li></ul>
Veracity <ul><li>The information in this briefing comes from interviews with active and reserve O-5s and O-6s currently working in both the military and civilian environments. </li></ul><ul><li>These are officers who have served in USAR and National Guard Troop Units, Active Duty, IRR, and as Individual Mobilization Augmentees. </li></ul><ul><li>In the civilian world they have experience at all levels of the corporate and other civilian venues. </li></ul><ul><li>These sorts of experiences by interviewees give a balanced picture to service versus corporate work. </li></ul>
Are We Biased? <ul><li>Of course we’re biased. We love the Army. We wouldn’t have stayed for decades if we didn’t. </li></ul><ul><li>That doesn’t mean we can’t supply you facts about military versus civilian life. </li></ul><ul><li>You can always check for yourself on the facts we supply. </li></ul>
Tools Available To You <ul><li>www.stay.army.mil </li></ul><ul><li>The developers of this curriculum are always available to answer any questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Video featuring former officers discussing what they do/do not miss about being an Army officer and what they cannot compensate for in civilian life. These themes include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Camaraderie </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teamwork and trust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intense leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selflessness and altruism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large-scale, high-impact accomplishments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excitement and self-validation </li></ul></ul>
There Is No Free Lunch <ul><li>There is a misconception that military life is “harder” than civilian life. </li></ul><ul><li>Both arenas are competitive meritocracies. </li></ul><ul><li>In both you have a decision between the “hooah/climber” track or the “stable” track. </li></ul><ul><li>In neither can you expect to have the “hooah/climber” benefits with the “stable” work. </li></ul>
Our Belief… <ul><li>In areas that matter, even where the Army doesn’t do quite as well as the civilian world, it is not because we haven’t recognized the issue, and aren’t earnestly trying to be as good. </li></ul><ul><li>On top of this, the Army can offer a lifestyle and benefits (both tangible and intangible) that the civilian world cannot. </li></ul><ul><li>We want you to stay, and definitely don’t want you to make a rash decision without knowing all the facts. </li></ul>
FACTS- Military Versus Civilian Areas of Parity…
Company Policy <ul><li>Army bureaucracy? </li></ul><ul><li>What about civilian bureaucracy? </li></ul><ul><li>The movie “Office Space” should be required viewing. </li></ul><ul><li>What about Enron? </li></ul><ul><li>Or “The corporation just got a new CEO and my job has been outsourced to India”? </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that a corporation is usually beholden to its’ stockholders first, board second, customers third, facilities fourth, and people last. Not always, but usually. </li></ul><ul><li>For the Army it’s simpler. Mission first, people always. </li></ul>
Bad Supervisors <ul><li>ALL organizations have bad apples. </li></ul><ul><li>In the Army you will be rotated in a few years if you have a bad boss. </li></ul><ul><li>In the civilian world you usually need to find another company. </li></ul><ul><li>In the Army a non-partial board decides your promotion. </li></ul><ul><li>In the civilian world it is a partial boss- for better or worse. </li></ul>
Working Conditions <ul><li>Working conditions in Iraq are definitely worse than those in Indianapolis. </li></ul><ul><li>But most officers don’t spend their entire career in Baghdad. </li></ul><ul><li>Much of the time they work in an office environment with fairly regular hours and most weekends with the family, which is as it should be. </li></ul><ul><li>An officer can also look forward to school on the Army dime. CCC, Grad School, CGSC, War College, all paid for. How many corporations will pay not only your tuition but also your salary for you to go to school? </li></ul><ul><li>Most of those in the corporate world who get a graduate degree do it on their evenings and weekends. </li></ul>
Salary <ul><li>A headhunter will dangle a fat civilian salary in front of you. They’re leaving out a lot of the real picture. </li></ul><ul><li>To make a fair comparison: </li></ul><ul><li>Add housing and rations to the base salary. </li></ul><ul><li>Add the 35% for taxes you don’t pay on that food and housing. </li></ul><ul><li>Add gym, golf, recreation, grocery store, and all sorts of other services that the military provides free or you get a discount for, plus the unpaid taxes on those benefits. </li></ul><ul><li>Add the value of that military pension and retiree medical benefits, $40,000 per year or more because of cliff vesting. </li></ul><ul><li>In a civilian 401K, everyone gets to keep what they contributed, plus the small amount the company contributes. </li></ul><ul><li>But the Army uses “cliff” vesting. Those who leave before 20 get nothing. Since 85% of enlisted and 54% of officers leave before reaching 20 years, the small minority that stick around get the benefit of the $14 billion a year put into the military retirement system. </li></ul><ul><li>Add freedom. Not many corporate types can tell the world to buzz off at the age of 45 and start a new career. </li></ul>
Relationship With Peers <ul><li>The friends you and your family make in the military are, most of the time, far stronger than those in the civilian world. </li></ul><ul><li>Those who serve have things in common that stretch from the office into the home. </li></ul><ul><li>Many reservists and their spouses express this as one of the biggest things they miss from active duty. </li></ul>
Personal Life <ul><li>The current military situation is harder on families. </li></ul><ul><li>But that is like saying when the Dow drops, “bonds outperform stocks”. True in the short term, but usually not over time. </li></ul><ul><li>Historically, most Army officers will not spend more than 15-20% of their careers deployed. </li></ul><ul><li>It is also worth pointing out that an officer owes eight years anyway. As a member of a TPU or the IRR you are subject to recall to active duty. If you stay on active duty during those eight years you have more control over your destiny. </li></ul><ul><li>The Army trumps the civilian world in family support networks, both formal and informal. </li></ul>
FACTS- Military Versus Civilian Where We Do Better…
Achievement <ul><li>Both the military and civilian realms offer achievement. </li></ul><ul><li>But in the civilian world it is harder to put a value on your successes. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s face it, defense of world freedom beats improvements in widget production. </li></ul>
Recognition <ul><li>There is recognition in both realms, but in the civilian realm it can be haphazard. </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition through promotion, awards, positions of responsibility and prestige, are all built into the Army. </li></ul><ul><li>Your military superiors don’t punch a clock, but legitimately care about their people. </li></ul>
Work Itself <ul><li>It’s hard to beat the satisfaction of what we do in the military. </li></ul><ul><li>It can be dull, dirty, and dangerous. </li></ul><ul><li>But that is why the work is viewed with such respect by the rest of society. </li></ul><ul><li>We do what they don’t have the guts to do. </li></ul>
Responsibility <ul><li>A senior manager in his/her 40’s may have a few dozen people they are in charge of. That is the norm. </li></ul><ul><li>A captain in company command is responsible for over 100 people and millions of dollars worth of equipment. </li></ul><ul><li>Not to mention that the soldier is expected to make, not production or sales decisions, but life or death decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>This is why captains with a company command under their belt are so sought after in industry. </li></ul><ul><li>The corporate world is more than happy to take advantage of the free (to them) training the Army has provided you. </li></ul><ul><li>By the way, that corporation will not give you a signing bonus equal to the value of the Army pension you are walking away from. </li></ul>
Advancement <ul><li>Both the civilian world and military offer advancement. </li></ul><ul><li>The Army has programmed advancement into their system, and the pyramid is usually not quite so steep. </li></ul><ul><li>The argument that you can advance in the civilian world as fast as your talents can take you is only partially true. There are other intervening factors. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, in a mid-size corporation, a senior manager (say one of ten) needs to wait for a Vice President to retire before they can advance any further. </li></ul><ul><li>If all the current VPs are in their late 50s, a realistic scenario is that in order to advance you either need to wait six years for one of them to retire and make an opening… </li></ul><ul><li>or via a headhunter find a company in search of a VP and beat out all the other competitors. </li></ul><ul><li>A notable exception probably lies in those who graduate from “name” schools, such as Harvard, Penn-Wharton, etc. They will often get selected for the fast track. Very few of us fall into that stratified category however. </li></ul>
Growth <ul><li>Growth in the civilian workplace is based on getting you better at the mechanics of the job, usually done OJT. </li></ul><ul><li>If you want to engage in personal growth it will be on your dime and your time. </li></ul><ul><li>The concept of corporate schooling is almost non-existent. They want you producing, not studying. </li></ul><ul><li>CCC, CGSC, and War College have no parallels in the civilian world. </li></ul><ul><li>Fully funded grad school (tuition AND salary) is almost unheard of in the civilian marketplace. </li></ul><ul><li>A typical corporate tuition bonus is $4,500 per year, and the employee has to do the schooling on their free time. A senior captain could get paid to go to school, and have an annual tuition of $45,000, ten times as much, paid for by the Army. </li></ul><ul><li>REMEMBER. Corporations want you producing, not studying. They have stockholders to satisfy. </li></ul>
Difficult to Balance the Demands of Family and Work <ul><li>This dynamic exists everywhere. </li></ul><ul><li>As your experience grows, the work becomes easier, and you learn to balance everything. </li></ul><ul><li>As an example, it would be foolish to look at the life of an overworked medical intern and assume their entire career as a doctor will be like that. Indeed, the doctor who is taking every Wednesday off to play golf gets FAR more effective work done in a week than the intern- experience being the difference. </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, the Army has formal support structures, unlike the civilian world. </li></ul><ul><li>There is also an informal network for families that doesn’t exist on the outside. </li></ul><ul><li>See the commentary from a senior corporate manager who is also a field grade officer on the next slide. </li></ul>
You are finding it difficult to balance the demands of family and work. This is a legitimate gripe. I don’t see how the civilian world would be any different though, possibly worse. Young officers are under the impression that they work long hours, and corporate types work 40 hours a week. Not true. I’ve been both, and the successful, well paid, corporate types work as hard as their military counterparts. Also, commute time needs to be factored into the equation, and this almost always favors those in the military. The Army also provides both formal and informal family support networks. Counseling provided by the chaplaincy and medical corps are free of charge. Expect to pay a professional on the outside $75-100 an hour to provide marriage counseling. Family support and readiness is another formal support structure that doesn’t exist on the outside. Morale, Welfare, and Recreation provide heavily discounted or free activities to soldiers and their families. Informally, the entire military environment provides a support network to make family life easier. For example, the spouses who live in company grade housing are usually of similar age, have similar age children, attend the same churches and a lot of the same social functions. This doesn’t happen in most civilian work settings.
Dual Career Families <ul><li>Becoming a civilian doesn’t solve this problem. </li></ul><ul><li>As one spouse or another gets promoted there is usually a decision to be made about which career takes precedence. </li></ul><ul><li>At least the Army tries to be somewhat accommodating. </li></ul><ul><li>See the commentary from a senior corporate manager who is also a field grade officer on the next slide. </li></ul>
Officer is finding it difficult to make a dual military career marriage work. At least the Army tries to help spouses coordinate careers and assignments. Most businesses don’t bother. If the two spouses work for different corporations then it is even worse. Officer’s spouse is miserable because of need to put his/her career on hold. Reasonable gripe. I have learned though that you simply don’t get everything. There aren’t enough hours in the day. So while it is true that two folks who are only focused on careers might have an easier time coordinating those as civilians, this is not necessarily the case. For example, let’s say Bob leaves active duty to become a mid-level manager for XYZ company that produces toilet tissue, tires, or whatever. His wife Sue is now happy that she can pursue her legal career and joins a firm that specializes in criminal defense. They’re raking in the cash, but soon realize that they get to work at 7 in the morning and home at 7 at night. They eat out all the time because they’re both too tired to cook. The laptops are open on weekends because any business concern will keep piling on the work until you say “enough!” and both of them want to look good to their bosses. Then Bob’s boss calls him in and gives him good news. They want to boost his salary and bonuses by 20%, promoting him to district manager and having him spin up a new office in Baton Rouge (which means even longer work hours). But Bob and Sue live in Memphis. Now what? Does Sue drop the criminal defense cases she’s working (which can often last for years) and start all over in a different city trying to make partner? Or does Bob turn down the district manager position, realizing that this might be the one shot he’s offered to do the corporate world’s equivalent of a company command? Unlike the Army, corporations DO have the equivalent of career privates- they are called mid-level managers. This is a job that I have seen people do, and do well, for twenty or thirty years without moving up. They were content. But it isn’t for everyone. Most military types get bored to tears by the monotony.
You Are Frustrated With Family Benefits Such as TriCare, Dental, Housing, Post Schools <ul><li>TriCare is no worse than most civilian health plans. </li></ul><ul><li>Free housing and utilities isn’t as bad of a deal as you think, whereas buying a house is kind of like the lottery. </li></ul><ul><li>Post schools compared to what? </li></ul><ul><li>See the commentary from a senior corporate manager who is also a field grade officer on the next slide. </li></ul>
Officer is frustrated with family benefits such as TriCare, dental, housing, and/or quality of schools on post. Let’s cover these separately. Housing first. One of the biggest shocks I received upon leaving active duty was paying that first rent bill out of my after tax income, and paying bills for electricity, gas, water, and trash collection. Recently I had to re-carpet my house and put in granite in the kitchen. These are all issues those on active duty don’t have to deal with. Also, underlying the desire to buy a house is the belief that it will appreciate in value. Well, I’ve made money, and I’ve lost money, on houses. There are no guarantees. Having to sell a house right now might mean you lose your shirt and write a check to walk away. Quality of schools is going to vary from post to post, as it is in various civilian zip codes, unless you want to spring for private school at six grand plus a year per child. Tri-care and dental are about average. The days of full medical and dental with no deductible are basically over in the corporate world. Further, a military retiree gets health care until Medicare kicks in. Most corporations don’t have this benefit. And most corporations definitely don’t give you 30 days of paid vacation annually right off the bat.
Lack of Army Courses or Grad School <ul><li>The Army is a meritocracy. </li></ul><ul><li>At least they HAVE the schools. </li></ul><ul><li>Corporations prefer you on the job making money for the stockholders. </li></ul>
Frustrated Over Not Getting Leadership Position <ul><li>The Army is a meritocracy. </li></ul><ul><li>On what evidence do you believe it will be easier to get a leadership position on the outside? </li></ul><ul><li>On what basis do you think it will be “fairer”? </li></ul><ul><li>On what basis do you think your civilian leadership position is not something that could be eliminated altogether due to merger, acquisition, or outsourcing? </li></ul><ul><li>Never sugarcoat the fact that in the civilian world, even if your boss likes you, there are things outside their control and the ultimate arbiter is whether or not the stockholders think that you are making them money. </li></ul><ul><li>See the commentary on the next slide. </li></ul>
Officer is frustrated because s/he has not been able to get a leadership position that will aid his or her development as an officer. There are two facets of this question. The first is a your concern that you are not getting the “right” assignments to ensure future promotion. Each branch has a branch career roadmap, which has a lot of paths from point A to point B in the course of a career. When Branch says “to make O-6 you don’t need to have been an airborne platoon leader”, they mean it. If you have a concern, call them and ask, and listen to what they say. Besides, if you don’t make flag rank and happen to retire as an O-5 in your mid 40s with an annual pension of well over $50K is that really the end of the world? You’ve got 30 years to do a second career in. The second issue is the expectation that as part of being an Army officer you get a wide variety of assignments. You do. This is one of the big pluses of being in the Army. There is a specific branch manager looking after you, trying to get you in the best position to succeed. In the corporate world YOU are your own career manager. I did one job for seven years before a chance to advance came up.
Excessive Deployments <ul><li>It is tough right now. </li></ul><ul><li>But go back to the historical pattern- 15-20% deployed over a career. </li></ul><ul><li>The current OPTEMPO will change, as will your ability to do work as you gain experience. </li></ul><ul><li>The Army goes in cycles. There is high OPTEMPO now, but this will change. A colonel retiring this year who entered in 1984 might have been involved for a few months in Panama, a year in the gulf for Desert Storm, a year in Bosnia, a year in Korea, a year in Iraq and a year in Afghanistan. This would be a VERY full career, yet about 80% would have been spent with family. </li></ul><ul><li>DON”T make a career decision based upon a snapshot of what is happening right now. Look at the history of the Army and make a reasonable assessment. </li></ul>
You’ve Been Approached by a Headhunter or a Friend Who Just Got Out <ul><li>The headhunter is not an objective source of information. </li></ul><ul><li>A headhunter is a commission salesperson. It behooves you to research the fine print very, very, carefully. They ONLY make money (usually somewhere in the range of $20,000) if they can convince you to leave the Army. They are hardly an unbiased source. DON’T trust what they say- verify. They are leaving a whole bunch of the facts unsaid. </li></ul><ul><li>A friend is not an objective source either- they don’t have the corporate experience level necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>It is likely that the peer recently got out, and is still in the honeymoon period. They are not an unbiased source. Also, they have not been in the corporate world long enough to have the experience necessary to talk about the good and bad sides. </li></ul><ul><li>Asking them for advice about the corporate world is like asking a second lieutenant for advice about the Army. </li></ul>
A Friend Was Killed or Grievously Wounded in Combat <ul><li>This is tough. </li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately it is a part of life that as we grow older more and more people we know pass away. </li></ul><ul><li>This occurs in both the civilian and military realms. </li></ul><ul><li>The Army has formal support structures such as chaplains to help people deal with the grief. The civilian world is haphazard. </li></ul>
Bad Command Climate <ul><li>It happens. </li></ul><ul><li>In the Army you will be rotated out in a short period of time. </li></ul><ul><li>That is not the case in the civilian world. </li></ul><ul><li>Ever read “Dilbert”? Or gone to www.despair.com ? </li></ul><ul><li>Generally speaking you will need to change companies to get out from under bad civilian leadership. </li></ul><ul><li>See the commentary from a senior corporate manager who is also a field grade officer on the next slide. </li></ul>
Officer is experiencing a bad command climate due to poor leadership of company or battalion CO. It happens and I’ve been there. Hang in there. You will be rotated to another assignment before you know it. Call branch and ask for their advice, letting them know that you will tough it out, but want to rotate as soon as the needs of the Army permit. Even if you get a referred OER, don’t worry about it. Junior officer OERs are masked later on anyway. Do your job and know that selection for captain and major are at levels higher than anytime in the past several decades. Contrast this with the corporate world, where if you get a bad boss, you are on your own to figure out a way to get out of the situation.
You Don’t Believe Your Skills are Being Used Well in Your Current Assignment <ul><li>You will be rotated soon on to another assignment to use your skills, unlike the civilian world. </li></ul><ul><li>This is not a trivial answer. For example, most civilian engineers don’t do what they were trained to do. </li></ul><ul><li>Actual design is done by the senior 10% and the others do the grunt work not mentioned in college- for example, wading through hundreds of pages of customer specifications to make sure some crucial detail hasn’t been missed. </li></ul><ul><li>Essential, but not glamorous. And unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes. </li></ul>
You Feel You Can’t Find A Marriage Partner <ul><li>The uniform confers respect and advantage. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no guarantee your fortunes will change in the civilian world. </li></ul><ul><li>You may accept a job in a small city (like Eau Claire, Wisconsin) where prospects are few. </li></ul><ul><li>A position in a large city like LA normally includes higher costs of living, means longer commutes and by extension less social time available, so it is not a panacea either. </li></ul><ul><li>As far as meeting someone at work is concerned, office romances are frowned upon- too much chance of a harassment lawsuit. </li></ul>
Armed and Dangerous <ul><li>You wouldn’t be a thinking professional if you didn’t consider all your options. </li></ul><ul><li>And yes, there are days in the Army that stink. </li></ul><ul><li>But on balance, you’ve invested a tremendous amount into becoming an elite member of both society and our armed forces. </li></ul><ul><li>Walking away from that investment before it pays off is probably not a good move for you. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t quit. </li></ul><ul><li>Someday you will be the old hand counseling the next generation about why you love the Army. </li></ul><ul><li>THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. </li></ul>