Recovering from military service.

I'm trying to salvage my life after the Army, and don't know what to think any more.

I'm single, in my early 30s, have a STEM degree from a good school, and joined the Army because I wanted to protect my country, go on adventures, and be an all-american badass.

Since I went commissioned, the career path was supposed to be 'do the paperwork higher ranking officers don't want to do until they give you an opportunity to lead soldiers.' My unit was a little bad, so I got extra paperwork time, with the promise that I'd get leadership time eventually. Then, budget cuts hit, the Army was looking for excuses to axe people, and I found my career over before I ever got a chance to prove myself.

Now, no one wants to hire me at the professional level. I can get an hourly position fine. But, if I want to make 40k or higher, the only way I can get a job interview is to work with one of those JMO recruiters. When I work with them, they arrange some sort of hiring conference where myself and several of my 'peers' interview. But since their units didn't suck, my peers have objectively more marketable experience, and I never end up being the one with the job.

So my plan is..what? Work hourly until I grow old and die? I want to have a family some day, but that's not going to work if I'm making as much as a teenager until I'm in my 40s. On the plus side, I have no debts, but existing is not living.

We all have to live with our mistakes. I'm starting to think serving my country was a mistake.
The Army is hit or miss man. Former infantry here, and it took me a while to get out of the military mindset. Im glad now that im done though. But if you're really wanting to serve somewhere... doesn't mean you can't go be a badass in another country or branch of service. F off go join the Foreign Legion for a bit if you really wanna be a badass. But after the paperwork comment it starts to sound like you don't want that. Take that leap (red pill). Pull yourself from that mindset. Look at other uniformed jobs if that's what you like. You have a degree, go abroad and teach. You won't make a lot but with solid game you can crush the pootinannie teaching overseas. Anyways long story short. It's done, let it go... go crush it dude.


Gold Member
So, dude, something just doesn't add up. First of all, you were a comissioned officer. You're saying they put you in a unit just to do paperwork. What specialty is this? Usually, the enlisted people are smart enough to do that so I am surprised how a commissioned officer gets pulled into it at any unit.

The real issue lies with the answer to a couple questions:
-What is your degree in?
-What type of officer were you? (Eg, infantry, electronics, nuclear etc)
-How did you get commissioned? Enlisted to officer, ROTC?
-Clarify why the unit was "bad?"
-What were your performance evaluations like and who did them? What was their position?

I just have no idea how the Army can afford to lose trained officers that they invested so much in to, unless they were truly underperforming.

I was in the Navy for quite a while and while not the same service, I never saw an officer discharged unless he really fucked up.

Overall, I'm interested in your situation as it appears very unique. Maybe other vets here can chime in as well. Paging vinman.
Cobra you're right. Something doesn't add up. The army has needs mos fields for officers theyd have offered a reclass before the boot.


Gold Member
Homeland Security (DHS) is about to hire 10,000 more border and immigration security officers. They love ex-military. Keep watching USAJobs for the announcements. Also, check the sites of the different agencies within DHS (Marshalls, Border Patrol, Secret Service, etc) and start all their accession processes.

What was your military MOS anyway?


Gold Member
Clarify , were you chaptered out ?

Also , are you a veteran of Iraq / Afghan? Did you try Raytheon , Northrop Grumman , BW, canopy , Lockheed or General Dynamics ? Did you have any sort of rating that qualifies for a point preference?
Well, I didn't want to give enough information to filter it down to one, but here goes:
My degree is in Math. I was an Engineer officer, commissioned at OCS.

I was assigned to an infantry stryker brigade. At the time, that type of unit had several support companies that didn't have a battalion level command and reported directly to brigade. By design, when the SBCT deployed those companies would split up into platoons each supporting an infantry battalion, but in garrison this arrangement required the brigade S1 and S4 to do work.

So, they came up with an idea to make up a battalion level command. For the command team, they got some field grades that were already on the downward spiral doing staff time until they hit the 20 year mark. For the subordinate staff, the S1 moved all the engineer lieutenants to brigade HHC on paper, then reported to HRC that the engineer company was short, repeating the process until a post which only had one engineer company with 4 PL slots and 1 XO slot ended up having 25 engineer lieutenants. They assigned the excess to the made up battalion to staff it, and generally most of us had duty assignments better suited for an E4 or E5.

As it happens when I went for promotion in 2012, the sequester just hit and this was the first year the promotion to captain wasn't automatic in almost a decade. By the regs, PL time is considered KD for LTs. I didn't have it, so that's probably why I was passed over. Since I wasn't promote-able, I was ineligible for branch transfer or even to move to a different post. I asked for options until my branch manager started blocking my emails.

Technically, I resigned, but I figured the writing was on the wall at this point.

The uniqueness of my situation is the problem. I can't even explain it to civilians without a lecture on how the army officer career progression is supposed to work, army unit sizes, what rank is in command at each level, what an MTOE is, etc. The short version of 'several field grades were lazy, did things that were bizarre, insubordinate, and against regulations, and left their subordinates out to dry' just sounds whiny and disgruntled.
Oh, and I have worked the DHS angle. The problem with them is it takes them months if not years to hire someone. I've submitted applications and am hoping for the best, but can't include them into any plans.


Gold Member
Ailius said:

short version *[snip]* just sounds whiny and disgruntled.
Man, sounds like a case of right uniform, wrong time, wrong place.

I look forward to reading this thread in 5 years. Then again I might not have to, as they're moving away from sequestration and are starting to offer re-enlistment bonuses again.

Can you give a month/year time group for when you got out?

As for everybody else who's confused by this guy's situation*:

In a commissioned officer's career, he has to taken on certain duties or command (often Key Development time or KD time), in order to progress to Captain, and then again in order to progress to Major and so forth and so on.

For example, if you never command a platoon as an infantry officer, you won't make Captain. If you don't have a Ranger Tab, there's a good chance you won't take Company Command, which means progressing to Major from Captain will be difficult, if not unlikely. Hell, in most units now, if you don't have a tab, it's hard to get a platoon (which means getting Captain is hard and not guaranteed). In some MOSs, the rank structure is inverted and all this stuff is somewhat less of an issue.

Before the sequester in 2012 & 2013, pretty much everyone, given a standard contract of 4 years active duty and 3 years reserve would hit Captain automatically. But when the sequester happened, the army was looking to get rid of a bunch of officers to greatly shrink the size of the officer and non-commissioned officer corps. A lot of shit-birds got canned but a bunch of guys who were alright also got the boot. Any excuse they had to kick you out, they would. When I was in college at the time, army scholarships for commissions nearly dried up, in stark comparison to them being given out like candy in 2010 and 2011. By the time I commissioned in 2015, about 10-20 people got kicked from the scholarship commissioning program for various violations which would have been overlooked a year or two prior.

TLDR? Long story short? From 2011-mid 2016, if you weren't hot shit, then your commission pretty much had a set expiration date, that could get pushed ahead of schedule for what may have been considered minor infractions only a year or two prior.


* I've only been in the military for about two years. So I'm by no means an authority on this subject. I've given you what I understand from my perspective, not the absolute truth with 100% accurate terminology.


Technically, I resigned, but I figured the writing was on the wall at this point.

Try to look at the Reserves or Guard route. There are many full time jobs there or units that have long strings of military orders you could get on...Prove yourself while you are on orders and they could offer you a full-time AGR gig, you'd be back in the fight.
Ailius said:
Oh, and I have worked the DHS angle. The problem with them is it takes them months if not years to hire someone. I've submitted applications and am hoping for the best, but can't include them into any plans.
Translation: I am just as passive now as I was in the .mil yet am dumbfounded as to why it is not working.

1. Read your two posts as if you were an employer. Why would anyone want to hire you as long as you are just making self-pitiful remarks?

2. No one cares about your .mil service anymore, not in the sense that you dwell on it. It's over. Do something new, let it go. Yes people will Ra Ra Ra Thank you For your Service, even some sincerely, but has no bearing on your wallet today. Even if you meet hiring managers in related industries who were also in the service they don't want to hear about your whining about your time in, they want to know what you can do in the outside world for whatever agency or company. So focus on that.

3. You sound as though you think you are entitled to more than $10 an hour, 40K a year, whatever. You aren't. To earn an amount of money someone has to be willing to pay you that amount for some services or job. That service or job has to be valued in the marketplace as worth _____$. There are services, skills, jobs worth 0.25 cents an hour and there are skills worth $1,000,000 a month. Yes, a million a month. Instead of complaining about the marketplace's reaction to your skills, improve them, communicate them better, or look for a job that will help you improve them.

4. Your strategy sounds as passive as your approach to your .mil career. It will only get you bottom level jobs and results. It's time you actively define your skills and figure out how to tell someone what you can do and what it is worth in a convincing way. What outcomes do you want to achieve? What are your goals?

5. If you had really made a mistake, so what? Learn from it and move on. You think this will be your last "mistake?"

6. If you cannot or are not willing to be "objectively more marketable experience" in your words then is there some service or product you could get someone to pay you for without a job? This is called self - employment.

7. And lastly are you looking for jobs women can get more easily? If so why? What is it about engineering or whatever you want to do now that YOU can do that any ass kissing applicant cannot do as well as you.


Also here's another thing that you should keep in mind: you are probably DRAMATICALLY overstimating the "just paperwork" aspect. Most civilian jobs aren't as cool as people think they are....and while working in staff can be soul crushing it is equipping you with some bureaucratic skills that are invaluable in corporate life.

I'm taking an interest because I see a lot of similarities between how you feel and how I have felt about my service. The cool parts sucked at the time and the staff rotations were horrible experiences directly under someone who had a post wide reputation( now even further) for being unpleasant to be around and who did a lot to damage my self esteem and career.

I was able to leverage that to get interviews at global investment banks, consulting firms, Nd the like. So what you are doing is not hopeless by far. You just need to work overtime to leverage it and need to be OK with losing a few years relative to your peers.

General Mayhem

Ailius said:
Since I went commissioned, the career path was supposed to be 'do the paperwork higher ranking officers don't want to do until they give you an opportunity to lead soldiers.
This isn't exactly how I view the career of an officer. From the sounds of it you should have pushed harder to make things happen for yourself. I would have made a big fuss to get PL time if I wasn't automatically assigned as one, not just because you need it to check the box but because it is some of the best times you will have as an officer before moving up in the ranks.

Read about George Patton's first decade in the Army. He fought HARD to make shit happen. If he hadn't, he would have never been the famous general that most people know. He was a straight hustler.

But you are out of the Army now and you have to take that as a lesson and move on. Civilian careers are no different. You have to make shit happen for yourself just the same.

If one person (aka your branch manager) isn't helpful you have to find somebody else. Same thing in the corporate world in many regards. You have to figure out the right people to help you whether that's getting hired or getting things done on the job.

Honestly though it sounds like you still aren't trying hard enough. I ended up in a position making more money than I ever expected in an area way outside of my area of expertise. I am convinced half of the reason I got hired was due to my military background. Then again, I found a very military friendly company.

Sounds like you have a lot of work to do.


What he said.

Simply being a veteran gives you access to a HUGE network that can open doors at places that would normally be impossible to break into without having access to an ivy league pedigree, political connections, or such. The catch is that you need to hustle aggressively to get those jobs. One of my best veteran mentors told me that I needed to be flying out to a certain major city every Friday if I could in order to meet people.

You have some of us here who know what to do, and I'm offering you time out of my personal schedule to help one on one. I'll just need to see that you actually have done some of those things after the first time we talk.



Scratch that. I just did get an investment banking offer yesterday.

Call me, PM me, whatever. A lot of the forum members think you're just bitching and your attitude isn't. They're right. I know because I was the same way and felt thoroughly disillusioned towards the end of my time in the military.....which was a horrible experience because of personal problems, a toxic leader, and a terrible unit all colliding right at the right moment to ruin a military career.

I felt and came across the exact same way that you are now.

Here's the good news: As George Carlin said, "America runs on bullshit". The ability to bullshit is a valuable skill in corporate America and I'm going to help you learn how to do it. All I need to see is that you put in the effort.

Right idea, WRONG approach. Your FIRST step should not be to apply at those links. It should be to hop on LinkedIN and look for anyone who is in those programs and then immediately email saying you're getting out, looking at the program, and would like to talk to someone in the program to learn what it's like to be in it before you apply. If you represent yourself well and seem like a good fit that should lead to them putting you in touch with other people or even recommending your resume.
Okay, I have three points to make:

1) My "life story" was long enough as it is. I left out many of the actions I took for sake of brevity. About 90% of the things everyone suggested are things I already tried - including re-joining the Reserves. The funny thing about that is now I work with other junior officers who are in similar situations. They tried some of the things I did not, and it didn't help them.

2) When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. A lot of you are used to telling self-entitled millennials to man-up. If I was entirely one of those, I wouldn't of joined a war in the first place. Yes, I would like to make more than $40k, because I have an education and work experience. Otherwise, what's the point in developing oneself in the first place? If I wanted to live in a society where everyone makes the same regardless of skills and experience, I'd move to North Korea.

3) That being said, I'm not perfect. I have missed opportunities out of laziness and cynicism. Hindsight's 20/20.

On that last note - I didn't lead with the right question. I want to hook up with a nurse because in all the successful couples I know, the woman is a nurse. But, I have little experience with women, and my income at the moment is far less than what an average nurse makes. Which course of action should I take?

1) Try to hook up right now, by playing the 'used to be a stud, and still have the same genes' angle.
2) Spend a few years rebuilding my career, then try to find a woman when I have more income.


You should make a separate post.

1) here's the thing: I've done a lot of those things you suggest and failed at them. The variable wasn't that those things were useless, but because I either didn't follow through sufficiently or hadn't worked on my sales skills enough.

2) That's nice in theory. In reality, to quote Goldman Sachs's Lloyd Blankfein (this was in-person at the VOWS conference in 2014, not something you can find online) he told us that "A lot of companies would love to hire veterans. However, it's typically a year long investment to retrain them and many companies aren't willing to take that risk". A military background can be worth a nice chunk of change IF and only if you can convince a prospective employer that you aren't clueless. That's why a veteran development program (e.g. Amazon, Goldman Sachs, etc) is useful as is attending a name brand MBA program. It's basically a rubber stamp that says you're competent.

Yes, corporations are that lazy and stupid to assume you're smarter than everyone else because you worked at Google, Amazon, GE, etc or attended HBS. That's why getting into one of those programs should be of a paramount concern to you if you want to make more than a 40-60 salary. Given your background I would highly recommend you look into the JOLP program at General Electric, as they strongly prefer officers with a STEM degree.

3) We know. Don't get pissed because we're being harsh. You're getting mostly good advice because, unless you have a "prestige" background like Special Forces, West Point, etc. you're going to have to bust your ass now to make things happen. You're also going to have to take a dramatically more proactive approach.

For starters....those programs I mentioned? Get on LinkedIN and cold-email some people in those programs.

Hell I even offered to work with you directly. You haven't contacted me, when you don't know where it could lead.


Gold Member
Ailius said:
1) Try to hook up right now, by playing the 'used to be a stud, and still have the same genes' angle.
2) Spend a few years rebuilding my career, then try to find a woman when I have more income.
Step 1: Talk to Easy_C. PM him now, dammnit!
Step 2: Keep in touch with Easy_C and this thread to keep yourself accountable.

Re: Girls

I'd not get too tangled up with any girl until you have your life sorted (or on the way there).

If I were you, I'd stick to casual relationships while you figure out where the wife material ones hang out, what kind of man they want. By the time you've got your life put together again, you'll know where they are and what they want and won't have your progress slowed down by a gal who drug you down with her.