Robb Adams - Military to Civilian Transition

U.S. Navy, Naval Flight Officer, Lieutenant
District Sales Manager, Medtronic Spinal and Biologics

A little more than ten years ago, I made the decision to leave military service after serving for ten years on active duty as both a commissioned and non-commissioned officer. It was a very hard decision, as I grew up a military brat, and that life was the only one I had ever known. The decision was difficult, but with the support of my friends, family, and the team at Orion International, the transition was seamless, and I landed a job in the field that I had chosen. I've never looked back with any regret on my decision; both to serve and to leave the service.

In December 2001, I was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, and was serving as a Battalion Fire Support Officer when I saw a flyer about a seminar being held by a Junior Military Officer (JMO) recruiting firm called Orion International. Initially, I thought that they were no different than anyone else selling a service, but looking back even to this day I can honestly say that couldn't be farther from the truth!

Orion took the time to get to know me. They wanted to know why I was leaving after ten years on active duty, what I wanted from a company, what I needed/wanted financially, and most importantly what my strengths were so they could position me with the right employer.

Initially, the transition process was difficult. Even though there had been many long hours of preparation, I just couldn't seem to find a match with a perspective employer that saw the talent and potential that I could bring to an organization. This is where the value of the partnership with Orion came in. They never let me get discouraged and they never doubted in my abilities to land a position in the career field that I had chosen; they never wavered. With only weeks left to go on my terminal leave I landed a job with a pharmaceutical company in my chosen field. From there the transition was seamless without ever missing a pay day.

In the past 10 years I have worked for two companies and have been promoted three times, served in leadership roles, and have seen my salary increase by 163%! I attribute all of these successes to the leadership and discipline that I learned while serving my country. In hindsight, I would not change a thing about my decision to serve as both an Army Officer and Navy Corpsman.

My military experience comes into play every day. When you are a field-based employee like I am, there is no one to watch over your shoulder on a daily basis. The discipline instilled in all of us who have served makes working in that type of environment extremely easy. We were all trained to work with limited guidance and supervision in the face of adversity and are expected to make the best decision possible with the information you have. This happens every day for me. It's a matter of getting up every day and doing what is right, often with limited guidance.

Finally two pieces of advice: First, to employers who are looking to hire military personnel, don't be swayed by the misconception of what you think you know about military leadership. It's not a "do as I say" mentality. In fact, I would say that it is very much like civilian management-making decisions with the best available information that will make the most positive impact on the organization. Second, to my fellow brother-in-arms, don't get discouraged in your quest to find the right job, and, most importantly, don't ever doubt the value of your service. The cream rises to the top!

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