Getting Out Of The Military Is Scary. . .
But it’s exciting. One of the first things that come to mind as your time nears and that DD214 slip is put in your hand is stability: Where is your next steady paycheck going to come from? How hard is it to hold a job in the civilian world? What about medical benefits and vacation? Will my pay be enough to sustain me since Uncle Sam is no longer paying for my roof? I know these were all questions that came to mind when I first got out of the Air Force in June 2012. I wound up going to school full-time and putting off my job search until a few years later when I separated from the California National Guard in August 2015.
One thing I will say; I wish I’d started the process sooner because I’d have even more experience now. There are so many opportunities for veterans it’s almost hard to remain without a job. As part of this series of blogs, I’ll be researching and interviewing veterans, the different jobs they have, and the routes they took to get those jobs. I’ll be interviewing single, married, divorced, and veterans with children to cover the different jobs and careers required for them to sustain themselves and/or their families. However, the jobs in this post are primarily for single veterans with no dependents, as the pay in these jobs is not enough to sustain a family. Here are some excellent jobs you can apply for once the shackles are off and you get your first taste of freedom!
1) Work For An Airline
Sometimes the thing you’ll miss the most when getting out of the military is the traveling. Whether you were Air Force, Army, Marine, or Navy, unless you CHOSE to stay close to home, Uncle Sam brought you somewhere you’d never been before. Many of us actually joined the military for the opportunity to travel. I know that was an excellent pitch by my recruiter when I enlisted in 2008.
This is why working for an airline is an excellent job and opportunity for the military travel bug at heart! I worked for Piedmont at American Airlines for about a year and a half, and I can honestly say it was the best job I’d ever held at that time. I was only part-time and didn’t qualify for the medical benefits or 401k, but the travel benefits were beyond amazing. You can travel on standby anywhere in the United States for free as long as seats are available. Furthermore, you can add a spouse OR domestic partner (girlfriend, roommate) to your travel list and they too travel for free! Well sort of. The seat is free, but the tax of their ticket comes out of your paycheck, which, by the way, is chunk change usually. I’m talking about like $20.
It should be noted that starting pay for a ramp or gate agent is usually minimum wage. When I first started at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, AZ, I started at minimum wage, which was $8.05/hr. Thankfully I was going to school and I was receiving my GI Bill money. In other words, this job is EXCELLENT if you are single and/or don’t have any children, or if you are with a spouse who makes a great deal of money doing. This way you can put your whole family on your travel benefits list and use the money you make from your hours at the job to spoil the fam bam!
You could always check for jobs and position availability here at www.jobs.aa.com. You can also check out other airlines, as many of them have very similar benefits and some start you off with more than minimum wage pay.
Sure, this may sound like a “demotion,” but I’m here to tell you there is no job not worthy of taking when it puts money, and therefore food, on the table. Now bear in mind that this particular list is geared primarily towards single individuals with no kids. If you’re getting out of the military after 4-6 years, you’re still young and have plenty of time to figure out exactly what you want to do. In the meantime, great jobs like security are all over the place. Think about it; everyone needs security. You could do in-house security or go for a company who’s outsourcing security via contracting. Hospitals, schools, retail and grocery stores, and apartments/condominiums are great places to start looking for security jobs locally. When I got out of the military completely in 2015, my Air Force experience got me instantly hired for IPSA Security at the Phoenix Convention Center. If you live in a city with heavy public transportation services such as light rails or trains, they’re always looking for veterans to hire.
The pay working as a security guard varies. First, you’ll have to get your security guard card (check your local government laws on working as a guard and how to obtain your card). I only had to sit through an eight-hour course, most of the material of which I already knew from my military training and background. It wound up costing me about $75, as I had to get my fingerprints and background check and all that good stuff. Once all of that was completed, I got my card (I was already hired at the time), and was put to work immediately the following day. I started out making about $10/hr before receiving a $1 raise for both time (six months) and performance.
Security is an excellent job to have when you get out of the military because it’s fairly easy to get and the job itself is not that stressful. Of course, this all depends on where you work and who you work for. As a single man with no kids and a GI Bill to take care of other bills, what I was making as security walking around the convention center asking transients to leave (my least favorite part of this job), securing doors, and performing simple routine tasks was more than enough to be thankful for!
3) Grub Hub Delivery
When I first got out of the military, there was no Uber or Lyft. I started from scratch on my job search, attending resume shops and driving around the city handing out hard copies of my resume. Now all you have to do is have a car.
Signing up for Uber and Lyft is excellent and you can really make good money on your own time and dime. Unfortunately, though, you can’t predict awful passengers. Enter Grub Hub, a contracting company that partners with restaurants that don’t normally deliver. The best part about Grub Hub is that you’re driving all alone and never have to pick up passengers. This means you can have your music up and cruise the city on your own time, enjoying life all while making money. It doesn’t get any better than that, right?
All you have to do to is sign up is have a vehicle, current insurance, a quick background check (mine was done in 24 hours), and fill out the online application. The pay varies, as times of the day, holidays, and weekends can all affect how many deliveries you make that day. Whenever I drive, usually for some extra money for a trip I’m planning, It’s for about six hours. On average I make between $75-$100 depending on tips. Now keep in mind that you’ll be driving around a lot, so take gas into consideration when adding up expenses. This is very handy money, especially when it’s just a few hours spent on the road in a day on your own time.
Plenty Of Opportunities Outside Of the Military
If you’re planning on getting out of the military or you’ve already gotten out and you’re just getting your feet wet in the civilian job world, hang in there! I know the mixture of worry, anxiety, and excitement can be overwhelming, but we have support, community, and plenty of resources to be successful outside of the military. Not to mention the skills gained in the military that transition to civilian jobs is unmatched.
The three excellent jobs I mentioned in this blog post are just a few of a slew of jobs I’ve been blessed to gain experience from. As I cull experience from other previous jobs and current jobs as well as gain more experience in my own business and services I’m growing, I will be writing more blog posts regarding this subject. What these three jobs all have in common is that they are perfect stop-gap jobs for the single person still finding out exactly what they want to do as a career. The pay is great, especially if you’re going to school, and all of these jobs offer some form of flexibility, especially Grub Hub. No matter what job you choose when you get out of the military, just remember that this is only the beginning of a wonderful experience. Most importantly, you have a support system and resources at your disposal if you’re willing to reach out and look for it!
For my Lifestyle Coaching services related to transitioning from military to civilian, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, look for more articles like this here on Anthonyjrichard.com!
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