Like many veterans, I put on my first uniform as a teenager. My last job interview was at the pizza parlor next to my high school. In the Navy, my career path was handed to me, my jobs were given to me, the result of a Byzantine, bureaucratic process. My voice mattered very little in what I would be doing next.
During transition, the world was open to me. That’s exciting! The world is a great, big place and the options were wide, and varied. I could become anything I wanted. I could teach Shakespeare at a small mid-western college, be a country music DJ in Tennessee, I could do anything!
The possibilities were endless and overwhelming. And I was scared. I was scared that I wouldn’t get a job, scared that I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills, scared that I wouldn’t — that I couldn’t — be successful as a civilian. Fear entered my heart.
So, I took the first job that was offered that paid well. Fear ruled my heart. And it was a disaster. The company was a complete mismatch. The job was awful, and my boss lied to me. I didn’t even realize that there were people out there who would do that. He lied to me, and I left.
This next time, I took a job that I enjoyed, a job that I looked forward to every day. Well, maybe not every day — let’s say, most days. Success followed.
You can be successful too. Don’t be like me. Don’t let fear rule your heart, and force you to take a job because of the paycheck.
If you follow your heart, follow your passions, don’t give into the fear, you will be happy in your life and success will follow success.
And once you’ve landed, you need to turn around and bring your buddies along. We do this as a habit in the military. We don’t leave people behind. When you reach your success, turn around and help those shipmates and battle buddies who follow you.