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changing from military to civilian

By mcdowell ·
I'm currently in the arny with nine years experience in computer repair and upgrade,LANs, PC configuration, information security, helpdesk,and telecomunictions. I'll be leaving the army soon and was wondering with my experince what field should I be looking at. All my training is through the military or self taught.

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my4deuces

by my4deuces In reply to Apply for IT in a governm ...

I agree with most that taking the first step into the civilian sector, after being in the military for numerous years, can leave you feeling a bit apprehensive. But from what I've read of your situation, you don't have a choice. I too left the military with medical problems and receive a disability percentage. This can work to you advantage, depending upon which avenue you choose to take. I would suggest that you first try to find a job with some governmental agency, as you get points for your disabilities and are given first consideration when being considered for these positions. I would suggest this a good starting point because of the benefits associated with your disabilities. I'll bet that no one has talked with you regarding your entitlements, especially if your disability is military related. Just as point, if your disability is military related, you are entitled to education assistance from the VA under the Veteran's Rehab Program. Under this program 100% or your education costs are paid for by the VA along with a monthly allowance, which is determined by the number of dependents you have. I retire after 22 years service and did not have my degree or certs, however, I was fortunate and got a job working with the government contractor in our headquarters. I am not ashamed to say that I retired with a disability and I that I used the VA Rehab Program to get my degree, these are benefits that I earned doing my military duties.

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Military Disability is Two-Edged Sword

by TxTopgun In reply to my4deuces

I can speak from experience that revealing your military connected disability, though it is supposed to be to your advantage by law, is not always a good idea when dealing with government agencies. Sure you get points for it but they also require you to provide them with the COMPLETE documentation concerning your disability. At least in dealing with the US Postal Service, I the documentation of my disabilities was quoted verbatim for their reason I was not qualified to hold ANY position in the post office; not carrier, not sorter, not counter worker, not IT work, not motor carrier, not mail handler, and the list goes on. They even quoted things that would never be revealed in any employment physical, such as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and obstructive sleep apnea. When was the last time someone had to do a sleep study as part of an employment physical?

By the way, I was considered highly qualified for every one of the positions but was disqualified because of my military disabilities.

One other thing to look out for in this regard is the fact that once you pass a 30 percent disability rating by the VA you enter a different employment approval process. Anyone 30 percent or lower can be approved by the specialist in the personnel department. Past that, you have to be approved by NO LOWER authority than the Chief of Personnel Management. In my experience, this amounted to a rubber stamp disapproval with no recourse. I went as high as the Regional Director and nobody would even meet with me.

This first thing everyone told me was I should file an equal opportunity complaint. There were however a couple of problems with that avenue as well. First I was told that since the Postal Service is a direct government agency they did not fall under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Upon further investigation, the EEO laws specify that to file an EEO complaint you must first contact the agency's EEO section and follow their procedures for filing the complaint. HOWEVER, the US Postal Service EEO section said they did not discuss complaints with ANYONE until they received the written complaint in the proper format through the proper channels. Sounded like a Catch-22 to me and that is where I decided to drop it.

Just for the record, the USPS was not the only agency where I ran into similar rules. Also included were the US Air Force (from which I retired with 22 years experience and was told I was not even qualified for a civil service position higher than possibly a GS-3), US Army, State of Texas, City of Austin, and the City of San Antonio. I have volumes of documentation and as a result am now considered unemployable.

Bottom line, laws are all well and good but only if you can find a way of getting around the loopholes when it comes to Government Agencies.

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Three things

by paulyj In reply to Apply for IT in a governm ...

I changed from military to private sector in 01, Jobs were extremely tight then, not a great deal better now. A well written resume can be difficult documenting your military career in civilian terms. The same goes for jargon when you are interviewing. Attitude is what seemed to make it for me during interviews. Good luck

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Secret Clearance+IT knowledge=job security

by rhopper1 In reply to Apply for IT in a governm ...

If you are departing the armed forces with a Secret Clearance and IT knowledge; Inside or Outside plant, TCF and/or Admin, you can easily get a job with a military contractor doing support with Iraqi freedom or Enduring Freedom. The Secret Clearance means you don't have to compete with Indians and others, because they can't get the needed clearance. The salary level can be high, but so can be the danger level.

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You are a little misguided I think!!!

by kevaburg In reply to Apply for IT in a governm ...

The government may not be downsizing but it certainly is outsourcing! And although might get "gravy points" for being a vet, it won't help in the Government sector. They are too close knit and almost at the point of being imbred!

My advice: Contract yourself out. If your skills are good then you will get the work. The amount of sweat, blood and tears shed over finding work for experienced pros is unreasonable considering what they have to offer.

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thanks subtropicalmist

by mcdowell In reply to There is hope

Those were very encouraging words and let's me know there is still some kind of hope. I would like to say thank you for your input.

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Get the certs.

by johns In reply to There is hope

When I left the military I thought that my experiences would qualify me for work in the civilian world.

The answer I got more often than not was... "Sorry, we can not verify your military experience."

If I had it to do over, I'd get the certs through the education center on your post before getting discharged. This way the military picks up most or all of the costs.

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A college degree is the deal!!!

by fernbowers In reply to Get the certs.

Certs are great!!! Get the degree.

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CISSP is a particularly good cert

by r.f.hanlon In reply to Get the certs.

I notice that you've done some data security in your travels. Around the DC area, that's a hot skill, especially if it's backed up with a Certified Information Systems Security Professional certificate, issued by (ISC)2. Have a look at the ISC-squared web site for details. That plus a security clearance ia a real meal ticket in these parts, and age doesn't matter.
Good hunting!
-Bob Hanlon, CISSP

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My experience

by lytlejeva In reply to There is hope

I retired over 10 years ago from the Air Force. Although my specialty wasn't IT, I picked up experience in the do-it-yourself category, and lending assistance categories. When I retired, one of my job options was to explore IT as a career. I was picked up by a major company not just for my IT experience but also for my Senior NCO qualities. Seemed the company needed that for the position I was to fill. I started out being a junior tech, but quickly learned and am now a senior tech, and still with the same company. My point is, don't dismiss your leadership and management qualifications, regardless of the career path you eventually take.

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