Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Post-Navy Careers

A reader passed along an E-mail announcing a job opening for the End Of The World Coordinator at SUBASE San Diego (which mentioned that a similar job in Yokosuka for CSG7 would be posted soon), and this got me thinking about post-submarine careers.

On Monday, I got to tour a new hire around at work, and I was happy to find out that he was also a Submariner, having finished his SSBN JO tour and subsequent IA assignment to Afghanistan last year. After the Navy, he went to work for a nuke plant in Georgia that's being built, but wanted to find a job closer to his hometown, so that's how he ended up coming to Idaho.

When I went job-hunting for a post-Navy job, I did it the exact wrong way -- I selected a town first without having any contacts in the area. It worked out OK (I love my job and new town) but I know I could have made a lot more money by finding a job first. By coming to the Boise area, I pretty much locked myself out of a nuclear job -- this was especially true because the only nuclear jobs in Idaho are at the Idaho National Laboratory (currently ran by John Grossenbacher, former COMSUBLANT), and while they might have some positions in Boise, they were going through a management change at the time and had a hiring freeze on. I ended up taking a $12/hr temp job at Albertsons about three weeks after my official retirement date, and didn't get hired to my current job until almost five months after I retired. During that time, I did think seriously about going somewhere else for work and living away from my family, which would have sucked.

What's your story? Did you, or are you planning on, look(ing) at location or career field first when getting a post-Navy job?


Anonymous Sparky WT said...

I left the Navy after 27 years; 13 as a sub nuke MM and 14 as a 1630 intel officer. With 3 tours in the Mid East I figured I'd work at CENTCOM HQ (I live in Tampa). I ended up as the local Boeing rep to CENTCOM & SOUTHCOM, turning down several offers from DIA and Lockheed. Looking back, I can remember when I thought a shipyard QA job was the cat's ass. Now ...
Best thing I can offer is to not be afraid to take a chance and get away from your comfort zone.

2/17/2011 3:39 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

After my 6 as a nuke MM, I got away from the nuke field although I had been offered a job at Indian Point in NY. I worked for Alcoa for a couple of years as a maintenance supervisor before moving to a cogeneration plant (MCV) in MI for 6 years. I started going to school part time during those 6 and my wife and I made the decision that I should quit and go full time. Packed the fam up and moved to Utah to attend BYU where I got my BSME in 2.5 yrs. From there back to CT to work for Pratt & Whitney working on aircraft engines - the F22/F119 is an awesome engine. When you see it with the augmentor pushing it through the skies - that was me. Finishing up a Masters now at Renneslaer.

My advice - bite the bullet and go get yourself educated if you haven't already. Life is better when you work regular hours with weekends and holidays off and no shift work!

2/17/2011 4:28 PM

Blogger kwicslvr said...

Applied to three nuke plants when I got out. Only three because those were the places I wanted to live. Only one was hiring and I got a job at that one. Worked there for about 3 years until one of the other two had an opening. Since it was 2100 miles closer to home I put in for it and got the position. Now all is good. I've doubled my pay from my last year in the Navy 8 years ago. Sometimes more depending on how we do each year. When you break it down I make 2 to 2 1/2 as much for 1/4-1/2 the work load from my Navy days working only 160-170 days out of the year.

2/17/2011 4:30 PM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

Oops, my daughter was logged in...

Delaney = Bearpaw!

2/17/2011 4:30 PM

Blogger John Byron said...


1. There are plenty of gouges on getting a job and classic ways to go about it. What Color Is My Parachute is a good starting place. Pay attention to what these guides say. Follow the yellow brick road.

2. Resumé: its purpose is to get you an interview, nothing more, nothing less. Keep it simple, honest, tailored to the job at hand. Toughest trick is translating your military job experience into terms civilians understand and, more importantly, care about.

3. Network your ass off.

4. Once you get hired, if it's a for-profit business, work hard to understand the numbers: how does the business make money?

5. Don't ignore the non-profit sector. Submariners bring real skills in working with people and caring about others. In my community a retired submarine O-6 took over a nearly dead Alzheimers Association and turned it into the best in the state. I have a meeting with next week with the head of catholic Charities in Central Florida - he's a retired O-6 helo pilot. The sharing center in the north part of our county is run by a retired Coasty O-5, the Habitat for Humanity chapter by a retired E-9 SeaBee. Give it a look.

6. Got an interview? Get a tie. If the job has any executive or admin responsibilities, over-dress.

7. Consider teaching. My old XO, ex-nuke O-5, teaches high school in his original home town in coastal Georgia. Happy as a clam.

8. Enjoy the freedom. You can do anything you want if you can weenie your way into the job.

2/17/2011 5:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a lot of ways, its easier for folks who get out younger/more junior. Jobs for ex-O6's seem to be a bit rarer than jobs for ex-O3's and E-6s.

First, make sure you are educated. Enlisted guys, get your BS in Engineering with that spiffy GI Bill. You - Must - Do - This. Trust me, you will find the curriculum to be pretty easy. BTW, if you are still in, get EWS before you get out, or you will be looked at poorly.

There are a couple of fast growing areas with opportunities for ex-nukes. The datacenter world is red-hot and I know many guys who have gone into this area, and its pretty cool as it involved both construction and operation, without being a backroom facility kind of job. A-gangers should also find some good opportunities here.

Linkedin is your friend. Recruiters trolling the various nuke groups like mad.

2/17/2011 5:40 PM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

First off; unless you are in complete denial, you know when it's when. So, given you have that sorted out then you have to decide the priorities; location or job. If lucky-both in one.
As has been said, the trick is getting to the interview. Submariners bring a skill set (if civlant/pac translated)that will get you hired if you can demilitarize your career.
The best book I have seen for the the interview is "Knock 'em Dead" by Martin Yate. Puts the right spin on all the trap questions.
However it shakes out, all of us will be looking for the career transition at some point.
Good luck!

2/17/2011 5:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

JOs: Skip shore tour and go to a top-10 Business School. End of Story.

2/17/2011 6:03 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

have thought seriously about teaching in the future--we'll see.

As to the SD job in your post--there isn't enough money to make me even think I'd take that god forsaken job. OMG. What a frakkin nightmare.

2/17/2011 6:34 PM

Anonymous ShoreJO said...

Don't forget about government opportunities:
-Veteran's hiring preference
-Active duty time directly translates to calculating vacation time and other benefits
-You can buy into the GS retirement system
-President Obama has directed all federal agencies to increase their percentage of veterans

2/17/2011 6:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the incredibly obvious tips from job hunters 101.

The question asked by BH is "What have you done since you got out" not "Please tell me how to find a job because you are so much smarter than me".

Your ego is enormous.

So, what have YOU done?

2/17/2011 7:47 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Just like anything else. Sit down, do a bit of brainstorming about what's important to you, what you want to do and/or where you want to go, and then work out how to do it. Don't hesitate to stay out of work for awhile or to take a job that just pays the basic bills. Above all else, find out what really makes you happy and do that. Life is too short to try and make other people happy...unless that's what makes you the happiest.

2/17/2011 8:49 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

(Knowing someone already there is the BEST.)

Ran a brand-new radcon program as first post Nav job, learned enough there (plus the fundamentals from nucdom) to get engineer jobs w/o the degree at other places.

2/17/2011 9:35 PM

Anonymous Hamptonplankowner said...

MM1(SS) 8 years in, 1 year before i got out had my resume perfected began mailing at least one a week lined up headhunters located around norfolk, had a job offer with 6 months to go and they could not wait,interviewed 3 weeks before i got out and one week before our ORSE, i took the job in ohio a week after i was out after 2 years there, i have since moved to wisconsin and worked for IBM, 2 heating contractors and other thing all as a direct result of my navy training. and most of the time you will at least get a interview because of im self employed and love it, and i second the recommendation of martin yates book on interviews best of luck to all its hard to see what the future will hold

2/17/2011 10:00 PM

Blogger Gospace said...

I rejected the idea of going into teaching for the same reason almost everyone else I know who considered it did.

Entering the teaching profession as a middle aged male is downright dangerous to one's freedom and reputation. One unsubstantiated charge of sexual misconduct because you actually failed the cute young thing because she didn't finish her project or homework or actually answer any questions correctly on the final, and your life is over.

After all, no teenage girl would lie about something like that.

Our local school just lost a teacher who was cleared of all charges after being removed from the classroom during the witchhunt, oops, investigation. He said "I'm retiring." He was a teacher who actually taught. My kids had him and loved him.

BTW, after retiring, I became a stationary engineer. Lucked out and walked into a boiler house with an opening that nobody's brother-in-law or cousin was slated to fill. Very little movement in the field. Almost everywhere I looked the HR office could tell me how many years, months, and days it was until there would be an opening due to retirement.

2/17/2011 10:10 PM

Blogger etc_ss_ret said...

Started posting resumes and doing interviews about a year out. Figured it was to early but thought practice at interviews is a good thing.

At the 6 month out point I had received multiple offers but had declined all but 3. I was in nuclear power and paid the most, the other two were more ET oriented. I took the lowest paying one. Why? Because of the schedule - anyone who has the chance to work compressed work week should jump on it!

12 hour days suck...but only half as bad as duty days and every weekend is a 3 days every other weekend is 4. On top of that regular vacation, holidays and a sweet thing called Personal Absence time (otherwise known as calling in well).

Been with the company for 11 years this June, have had my salary and responsibility more than double. Would I be making more if I had taken the other jobs - who knows and I don't care. Having the time and money to travel, and a great job to keep 40% of my year occupied is enough for me.

2/18/2011 12:43 AM

Anonymous analee said...

Thanks for the ideas and tips.

brilliant post.

2/18/2011 2:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The week my seagoing time ended I decided that going on beyond O-3, despite excellent military career prospects, probably wasn't it for me and I applied to a Business School where I subsequently got my MBA as a second master's degree despite being in a highly challenging joint posting with deployment preparations and ongoing support for places sandy.

About two years before my end-of-service date my Army mates from my first masters studies connected me to a highly specialized headhunter who found me the ideal civilian job with six months to spare. Besides that headhunter and his other job offers there were two more lining up with their job offers in adition to other personal contacts.

Network! Your reputation amongst your comrades counts. It's not just superiors and former flag officers that help but your contacts in the same age/rank group can actually do more for you. Army guys helped me to the contact that led to my current job and I did the same for an Air Force mate.

Educate! Especially if you're doing it "above and beyond" a challenging posting additional degrees are a very good signal to HR people, almost regardless of the actual context of the qualification with the job at hand.

Leverage! your naval and military training and experience. I'm currently in a position where the training and experience for/in my favourite ship posting is a key to my success. My naval experience and the attendant reputation is very helpful in the industry. If you have specific expertise use it. That counts double if it's somewhat unique to the military.

2/18/2011 3:23 AM

Anonymous Great Mistakes said...

Seems I'm in the minority, but not sure why. I retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 2008 with 22 years, 8 months. Submitted my disability claim, and six months later was rated at 70% (60% for pay purposes). Since then, I haven't worked a single day. Between my monthly income and my wife's part-time pay, we live comfortably. It's great to wake up each morning knowing I don't have to work ever again.

God bless you working stiffs....

2/18/2011 4:07 AM

Anonymous EX COB/ANAV said...

I spent 30 years, 2 months and 29 days in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club, loved every minute of it. The majority of the time in I was a QM/ANAV/COB/CMC and retired as a CWO4. If they were to ever crew up an old guy sub, I will be inline. Out of the 30+ I spent 27 years at sea, floating, long and black and don't come back and haze gray and underway. I am one of the dinosaurs who did not get a degree, however, I have a great job thtat I wouldn't trade for anything. When I retired (you QUIT at 20, retire at 30) my intentions were to take a year off and play with my wife. Couldn't take the pace and HAD to go to work. Spent 5 years in the Human Servcies field assisting individuals with barriers to employment. The only drawback was the attitude of co-workers who could care less if they worked or worked to expected standards. An opportunity to work with a military orginazation became available and I jumped on the opportunity. Been here for 2 years and have no intention of leaving. I have enteratined the thoughts of finishing my degree (only 16 hrs away), but then I wonder why. At my age, I do not need a piece of paper to tell myself I have common sense and that I am trainable. Different story for younger folks. In todays day and age, you need that piece of paper.

2/18/2011 4:42 AM

Anonymous Bernie said...

I got lucky. I retired right as Southern Company started hiring for the brand new plants in Georgia. I love the area, I love the job (training) and I'm getting to play with the newest toys. The retirement makes a big difference in my spending money, especially in a low cost of living area next to an Army base. All 21 years in the Navy sucked but now it was worth it. The nuclear world looks like a good place to be right now. IF all goes well the NRC will start licencing the new plants within the next year and there are a lot of utilities looking to build them.

2/18/2011 4:57 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Retired ANAV's have kind of found a niche in the ECDIS-N / VMS program, especially the sector wirking with the surface community.

I took a few months off after I retired...mainly to finish up all of the requirements for my 1600-ton Master's license, but also because I knew that NOBODY is really interested in hiring anyone over the holidays.

Got a few offers after the first of the year and had even accepted one when the posting for my current job literally dropped into my lap. It was as if the posting had been cut and pasted from my resume, rather than the other way around!
Long story short, I'm now a contract-instructor teaching Navigation to the skimmers in Mayport. I don't consider that "Work" by any stretch of the imagination! Oh, you want to PAY me, too? Sure, why not!
One skill-set that needs further development when working with skimmers, however....PATIENCE!! Lots. And. Lots. Of. Patience!

@GreatMistakes: Some of us still work because we WANT to...not because we HAVE to.

2/18/2011 5:35 AM

Anonymous STS2 said...

Fate smiled upon me as my boat was a test platform for the Q-10 sonar system. We took a Lockheed Martin rep on westpac and when we pulled in he offered me a job there developing, installing and training on that system. I worked at LM for about a year when a chief I had served with called me with a job offer with the weather service, and here I am...

2/18/2011 6:43 AM

Anonymous OldCOB said...

My wife was still in government service when I retired so we didn't get to pick where we lived. When she transferred I found something wherever we landed. We ended up in the DFW area and she's finally retired from the government (NRC). She's now at Lockheed and I'm the Corporate Quality Director for a pair of aerospace component manufacturers.

I concur with Ducky on the resume, networking and interview tips. Having just cycled through several hundred resumes looking for a new Quality Manager I can verify that a good resume can get you that interview. I will add that if you're going to attach a picture don't send one of you dressed as a groom at a Chinese wedding. Particularly if you're a westerner.

2/18/2011 6:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT: Anybody catch "Extreme Machines: Nuclear Submarines" on the Military Channel? Mostly focused on the 739 Nebraska. Excellent boomer footage. Looks like it was filmed in the late 90s because she was still stationed at Kings Bay and CDR D.M. Volonino was the CO. The XO looked like his twin.

2/18/2011 7:14 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I found a website that saved me:

Turns out, ex-ELT's can pretty much always find a temporary per diem based job.

I'm sure glad I didn't end up at Quad Cities in IA. Imagine the 24 year old RO, with more money than sense, and nothing to spend it on.

I've also quadrupled my last year in the Navy's pay by the 8-year out point. There is definitely more money on the outside than on the inside, even with the $100K+ bonuses.

2/18/2011 7:34 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

@STS2: You and I probably have (had) the same boss in VB. Different contract, but he handles all the -Q10, ARCI, etc.

2/18/2011 8:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2/18/2011 7:34 AM,

I had the privilege of serving with DMV (the nickname we had for CAPT Volonino) on the Emory S. Land. Awesome Skipper with a funny chain smoking quirk :)

The crew loved him and since his first command was the "Big Red" and he was known for saying Go Big Red on the 1MC, when he came to the Land it morphed into "Go Big Land" and we all laughed. He also had an author/reporter make a patrol with him on the 739 which resulted in the book Big Red. Funny, his first official act as CO of the “Big Land” the night of Change of Command, when the battle tender was in Souda Bay, Crete, was to give the CHOP $500 to go buy as much "CAB" (Cheap ass beer) as the 500 would buy and he worked the tap all night filling his new crews' beer glasses. Awesome ship driver, awesome leader! Wish he hadn’t retired but I know for a fact he is a success in whatever he’s doing! (Rumor is he earned his unlimited tonnage master license so he might be driving something really big on the ocean these days)
Thanks for bringing back the fond memories of days gone by!


2/18/2011 9:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will transition this summer after completing a JO Tour and shore duty. Made the decision based on wanting to actually be home to help my wife raise our kids.

So far already have two offers, two other firm interviews scheduled as well as two upcoming hiring conferences with Lucas Group and Bradley Morris.

Anyone JO who tells you they stayed in because of the economy is really just saying they stayed in out of fear/stupidity. There are plenty of companies out there hiring right now.

2/18/2011 9:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left after the first and only sea tour. Being in the nuke navy taught me a lot, especially what I did NOT want to do for a civilian career....why repeat the nonsense on the civilian side of nuke land?

Anyway, ended up taking a job in biotech manufacturing. Biotech mfg jobs were and still are plentiful in the northeast. You have to translate your skills from the sub to the civilian job market but after your first job you easily pick up on what makes the civilian folks happy.

Get your masters. I had my company pay for my MBA. Best decision to make to set yourself apart from everyone else. And compared to the training in nuke land, school is a breeze...

It is scary contemplating leaving the Navy...for most of us we worked our asses off to get into the program and be successful there. Now you are wondering what happens now? Well the skills and abilities that set you apart as a submariner will also set you apart in the civilian world,especially if you are not competing against other submariners!

2/18/2011 10:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got out of the sub service after 8 due to diabetes and went directly to work for Boeing - networking via daddy-in-law paid off big. I started on the B-1B program in software analysis - now I work on E-4B's nuclear hardening program.

PB Sterling ET1/SS Nuke

2/18/2011 11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did 8 & out in '78.

Went to work at a Green Giant cannery as a maint electrician. Decided after 6 months that there was more to life than bending pipe and pulling wire.

Went to the U of Minnesota and earned a Bach of Electrical Eng (didn't have to cheap on any of my exams) :).

Went to work for the nuclear power plant in Iowa and had enough after three years.

Worked for three different manufacturing companies in Iowa.

Currently work for a small electrical engineering company in Minneapolis area, and we are turning away work in this recession.

Curiously, my college education was a minor factor in me being hired each time. My service in the Navy was always the deciding factor. Real experience pays big time.


BTW It used to be "The United States Navy", now its "America's Navy". Why the rebranding?

2/18/2011 12:24 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Engineer tour (697) didn't go so well so I went to work for Space Systems Loral. Within two months of that was directing all the in-orbit testing of the Sirius Satellite Radio Flight Model 2,3. I got that job because I volunteered and the submarine force gives you the tools to do anything. I don't know why we don't see more submariners in aerospace because it is a natural fit and we bring a level of rigor and discipline that is very valued.
CDR Jeff Radwick USN (RET)

2/18/2011 12:41 PM

Anonymous subguy said...

I retired fully. I fish. I hunt. I enjoy...

2/18/2011 2:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left the Navy as an E6 nuke. Went straight into commercial nuclear power, got my BS while working, blah, blah, blah. While I sometimes looked with envy at guys collecting "retirement" checks after 20 years in the Navy, I quickly realized they didn't get that good of a deal.

While guys were in the Navy 14 years longer than me, they were going to sea, standing duty, etc. I was (and am) making six figures a year. They entered the industry 14+ years after me and are 14 years behind in earnings and position. Probably more importantly, I've bumped into some of the guys I served with who stayed in - talk about aging. I know I'm 20 years older than when I got out, but these guys all appear to have aged at twice that rate.

I'm glad we have guys willing to stay for 20, but doing the nuke thing in the Navy wasn't something I wanted to continue. It was a great experience, and I'd do it again, but I still wouldn't stay more than one term.

2/18/2011 3:58 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

Wow! What a question. I started sending resumes six months before release from active duty after 28 years. I knew for sure that I was good at pushing papers for people, so that was the focus of my resume, that and human resources management. Negative or no replies at all.

About two weeks into my separation leave I received a call from the Technical Documentation honcho of one of the companies my resume went to. He told me that they had just hired a personnel manager, but also said that he was aware of the kind of things I should have been exposed to in the Navy. I went to see him and was hired as a Senior Engineering Technician, working for a government contractor whose customer was none other than the Undersea Warfare Center at Keyport, and PSNS. Wrote revisions to SIB's and other stuff for three years.

Moved on to work for the State Patrol pushing evidence in a crime laboratory for the Forensic Scientists to look at. Learned a lot about preservation and management; think chain of custody for highly classified stuff (same rules.) After six years moved to field operations. No pay raise, but the autonomy made an incredible difference, besides which I taught a class at the Academy twice a year.

My almost ten years as a field operations evidence guy for the Patrol was without a doubt the best ten years of my three careers.

What I noticed my first class at the academy was the number of retired military commissioned officers; mainly Marine Corps and Navy. Over the years on the job though I encountered many more. Lots of those folks are National Guard and Reserve Officers and NCO's as well. Yuh hold your breath when they go away to Iraq or other hot spots for six or eight months.

After my retirement from the Navy I never did work human resources or any other regular administrative office function. Strictly technical. You just never know where your experiences will lead you.

Retired moved to Utah in late 2006.

Took the long way around the barn, didn't I?

2/18/2011 4:17 PM

Anonymous Adcap said...

Our retirement checks can't get laid off. And if you really do feel sorry for those who retired, you might want to seek counseling.

I've met many Sailors over the years that regret getting out, but I have never met a Sailor who regrets retiring...

2/18/2011 4:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if you really do feel sorry for those who retired, you might want to seek counseling.

Reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, eh? Reread the post, I never said I felt sorry for anyone, just that I felt I had the better deal. Why so bitter?

2/18/2011 4:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Retired after 26, last duty station in Europe. As a USNA grad had access to the Service Academy Business Resource Directory (the title is close enough). This gem of a book has thousands of ex academy grads (all of the academies) listed first by industry and also by location. Using an intro email, I had an active network of 250 people after just two weeks. A few weeks later I flew back to the states and had 9 interviews across the country (only one dod related). Accepted an offer and started a couple of days after my terminal leave began. Have been happy ever since.
I learned that there are plenty of jobs, interesting too, out here. Spread your wings a bit, you might be surprised.

2/18/2011 6:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laid back for a year after 20. Restored a '66 convertible during my year hiatus. Plenty of opportunities. Played it safe (I thought) and took a job in engineering with small oil and gas exploration firm. BP and the Boy Wonder put the skids to that idea. Might consider teaching in Minnesota.

2/18/2011 7:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Took two years off after retirement to finish my AA in Environmental Technology and Hazardous Waste Management only to find out that the starting pay sucked. Went to work at Defense Contractors and continued at school to complete my MBA only to find out that I was laid off at a company who had three manager positions open and I didn’t have the qualifications of being a Academy Grad, retired or not, with breasts. As long as I stay in the Defense Industry, my MBA does not mean anything. Unless you are a degreed engineer or a retired office, you’ll never move up into a management position. I tried getting out of the Defense Industry and into a starting position with a financial or business firm and all they see is a 50 year old person who will take their job in two years or have only 12 years of company use. I’m not bitter, just realistic. I didn’t want to turn wrenches for a living so I got a degree that’s useless in the industry I’m working in. That being said, the pays good, work’s only 4 miles from home and I go home every day at 4.

2/18/2011 8:47 PM

Blogger Jpete001 said...

Things have worked out well but I did everything wrong when I got out in 98 after 6 years as a fast attack RM-ET. School was my priority so I left Hawaii for Kansas without even looking for work. I even had a site manager for a large contractor seek me out and offer me work and warn me about trying to go home when I was out processing. He said it never works and I think he was mostly right. I tried being a student/waiter for a few weeks before realizing having a wife and newborn without a real job or insurance was stupid. Luckily, I was able to quickly get an ET job in aerospace. I've been doing that in progressively better jobs ever since. I'm now a field service engineer. I did finish my bachelors and, just last December, an MBA but I feel like I took the hard road. I wasted good contacts and started over. I'm glad I became educated but it was kind of a waste economically. I went back into fixing electronics to pay for school but now make too much to change careers. Also, aviation is extremely cyclical with no job security. I should have at least kept my options open and tested the job market. I'd love to have stayed doing something submarine or military related.

2/19/2011 2:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

not a submariner. 21 year mustang.
in the 13 years since "retiring", have worked as follows:

-government contractor helping the National Institutes of Health prepare for Y2K (remember Y2K).

-government agency #1. left after a mission re-org would have resulted in a four hours of daily commute time.

-private sector start-up. left after the the third round of layoffs (two where announced...the third was covert). The final layoff event included a 10 to 20 per cent salary "adjustment" for the survivors. Even though I was one, I'd had enough of the lack of transparency. The company is still around. The promised IPO still hasn't happened 11 years later. It wasn't no facebook or google:-)

-government contractor supporting a big department of defense client. Great company. Deathly boring work within the confines of a narrow task order.

-big government agency employee, going into year 10 (someplace between 2 and 9 years left...many variables). They still want to train me, still want to educate me, still trust me with the professional health of young employees (and we have MANY of them), and still offer travel opportunities to many places...some nice, some not.

-on the side, used my Montgomery GI bill bennies to complete two masters degrees (knocked off my BS three months before leaving the service on a non-traditional 23-year plan)) during all of the above. One in something I thought would be attractive to employers, the second in an area of my own passion. These parlayed into adjunct teaching years at a local community college, the last two years at a local, private liberal arts college. One or two classes a term. Love the contact with young people, and the extra income helps finance a gadget habit and nice stuff for the S/O:-). On the whole, I probably enjoy this more than other thing I've done.

Spent some time in a recent organization as a hiring manager. Others have touched on these, but they're worth saying again:
--Get all the education you can. It won't get you a job, but will separate you from the otherwise similarly qualified. Even with strong subject matter expertise, degrees make a difference in many things. For those in the government contracting domain, it can mean a difference in how much your firm charges the government...and therefore how much they pay you.

-invest time (not MONEY...don't pay anybody for help!) in a good resume. tailor it for every position you will give it to somebody for. don't expect it to get you anything other than an interview...which is why you want to demilitarize it. Only about 10% of the civilian population has military experience...including the HR screeners and hiring managers that will evaluate your resume...sometimes in a matter of seconds.

-don't be afraid to venture from your comfort zone. don't be afraid to change jobs. take advantage of transition services offered by the navy and schools you're attending, and especially be prepared always for the questions you will hear in almost any interview.

2/19/2011 3:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Retired ANAV after 24 years. Started my civil service job at NUWC Keyport while on terminal leave (a paycheck a week for 6 weeks). I happen to have the best job in the world as a Range Officer. I get to play with ships, planes, subs, torpedo's, UUV's, etc. Take a helicopter to work on a lot of mornings. Can't beat it. Started as a GS-11 and now a 13 after 4.5 years.

As people have said, network, resumes, network. And do something you like. Education is important for the younger guys (I have 7 classes to go in a CJ degree but am not really interested anymore).

Navy retirement benefits are nice, especially our medical but if you are not enjoying life anymore, get out. Nobody will miss you and there is always somebody to fill your spot.

Anyway, down to the marina to play with my boat...enjoy the long weekend!

2/19/2011 10:59 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Fortunately, my last duty station before getting out was in the Los Angeles area, so I had nearly 3 years to network and develop some contacts with the utilities. Ended up as a relay tech with SCE, and from there when I got tired of the SoCal rat race, knew enough people to where I could pick and choose where I wanted to go, and ended up here in New Hampshire. Even as a newly married ET1 drawing BAQ/VHA for Los Angeles, I made nearly double my first full year out, and haven't looked back since.

I take a chunk of what I would have made had I stayed in until 20 as a CPO and invested it. Even with the market taking a crap in 2001 and 2008, the interest alone is more than E-7 @ 20 retirement pay, plus as the earlier poster said, I'm that many years ahead of guys who are just now retired.

The keys--EDUCATION--even if it's just that degree from Thomas Edison, and network, network, network. When I was looking to switch jobs and get out of CA in 2006 I had guys from TVA calling me, not the other way around, when they found out I wanted to leave SCE. Fortunately, the field I'm in is 1--very small, 2--very in demand.

All the other tools companies are looking for, nukes have in spades--drive, knowledge, willingness to learn and adapt. I don't miss the Navy, but I certainly don't regret it, and the tools I gained during my time in are invaluable.

2/19/2011 11:36 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

There has certainly been some very excellent advice offered here.

I was almost as shocked to see how long it took before the USNA (et al) network was mentioned as glad to see that advertising pop-up, last-resort has not been.

Good luck to all ex-military job seekers, and a tremendous thanks for your service!

Ex-submariners in particular cannot, after Jimmy Carter, be surprised to learn the limitless power of their career aspirations.

Of all the men with whom I ever served in subs, what surprised most was uncertainties in predicting who would later go on to the highest level in his career, military or civilian.

Privileged information has largely been the reason.

2/19/2011 12:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea what I'm doing when I get out. It will depend mostly on
a) How far I go past what my pension is

b) How old my kids are when I'm done....I want to relocate to the midwest but don't want to move if the kids are in middle/high school.

I've often thought I might want to open a restaurant someday, but the failure rate is high and I don't know if I have the nerve to dump in the startup capital. If I can hang in there until 24-26 and retire I may never have to work again.


2/19/2011 7:08 PM

Anonymous Dire Straits said...

I just don't see the logic in voluntarily subjecting oneself to work for another man solely for money that may not even be truly needed.
I am not criticizing those who do this, but merely inquiring about the thought process or rationalization behind the decision.
Lastly, would bringing greed into the discussion be fair, and knowing the position you hold could help an unemployed person that doesn't get monthly retirement check support their family?

2/19/2011 7:24 PM

Anonymous SparkyWT said...

Dire straits; ???
$ not truly needed? What utopian commie fantasy life are you living in. I work to ...
1. Support my family well. Not adequately - well. I hope to make even more money soon.
2. Save $ to live well when I retire-retire, enjoy the prospective grand kids and see more of this nation.
So I don't "see" your logic but can understand you'd be happy taking $ from the public trough while you rationalize how you deserve it.
You'd make a good panhandler, your sign could say; "too socially concious to subject myself to the pursuit of capitalistic goals."

2/19/2011 10:22 PM

Blogger rick said...

Interesting note about the REP position. I used to be one, albeit not as a DOD Civilian but rather a DOE contractor (Bettis guy). In fact, the guy who relieved me in 2005 left less than 2 years later to take the position in Japan.

I prioritized career vice location. Living in the nicest area will still suck if you don't like your job.

2/19/2011 10:50 PM

Blogger nucwarrant said...

I retired after 20 as a CWO3. Did 3 years as an instructor at a nuke plant near hometown. Left that when the industry looked like it was heading toward notihng but decommissioning. Did 5 years as a manager in a private company in avaiation technologies to see if I could do something besides nuclear (didn't want to be a one-trick pony). Left when VP and I did not see eye to eye on how to manage people/company (board of directors booted VP less than a year later). Planned on taking six months off to relax but put my resume out and was fielding offers and going on interviews two weeks later. Now working as an operations supervisor at a dual-unit boiling water reactor site. Have my NRC senior license and BS (college diploma's in a box in the basement, commissioning certificate is hanging in my den). Made $200K last year and getting job offers for more money but promised 14 year old daughter wouldn't move again until she finised high school. Starting my masters in engineering this summer at the age of 51.

2/20/2011 7:27 AM

Anonymous Scout706 said...

Good Thread
Hope you don’t mind a 1320’s post. I was VS, back when we did ASW.

This could be the example of NFO- No Future Outside

After 9 ½ years AD, left the Navy

Sold used cars
Returned to school for 2nd undergraduate degree (Engineering)
Divorced, FOCUSED ON LOCATION to be near offspring.

Combustion Engineer (laid off)
3rd shift Convenience store clerk
Manufacturing worker-5 different companies, 2 different industries. Left most, fired once.
Worked in a regional warehouse for a grocery company-freezer section (D**N cold)
Worked 2 censuses (Censi?)
Inventory (remember Y2K?)

After 9 years out, enlisted in the National Guard.
Infantry NCO
Intel NCO Infantry unit, Aviation unit.
Deployed to Bosnia once-
pretty much full time ADSW post 9/11
OIF once, only got as far as Kuwait.

Back to school (another GI Bill) to study what I WANTED to do – drafting.

After school, one more temp manufacturing job, then landed the drafting job.
The 21 year old engineering degree did help land this job, Engineers here draft, this drafter could engineer. . .

When I turn 60, and start drawing the Reserve retirement, I could quit working, don’t know if I’ll want to.

2/21/2011 12:50 PM

Blogger surferman said...

The grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it. I was also going to get out after 8 years as a nuke ET (yes the shiftwork was not fun). Detailer gave me an offer I couldn't refuse, finished my degree while on active duty, got my commission and here I am with almost 30 yrs in looking at that 100K+ yearly retirement check. Rough life - 2 tours in Europe (spent over 120 days of leave traveling Europe with my family), 1 tour in Asia (again 70 days of leave traveling/diving/surfing Thailand, Australia, Fiji, etc.), 2 tours Hawaii (surfing almost every afternoon), now enjoying my twilight tour in San Diego (yep still surfing every afternoon). Not sure what civilian job would have given me the chance to enjoy the world with my family - while paying me well (sub and nuke pay throughout). Always keep looking for the best opportunity, make sure you make it work for you.

2/21/2011 2:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not sure how you calculate your retirement, but I have a family member who whose retired as an O6 after 31 years and he certainly doesn't take home 100K+ in retirement...

Don't get me wrong, it's a fat check for doing absolutely nothing, but not 100K+ (closer to 80K). The value might be there with medical and I guess exchange benefits, if you want to try value that somehow.

Is there something I'm not taking into account to calculate retiree pay?

2/21/2011 8:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Rear Admiral w/31 years makes just over 100k. Maybe we got ourselves a real live admiral in our midst?

2/21/2011 8:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe sub life was that good when surferman was in (doubt it), but it certainly wasn't like that in the early 2000s...

2/21/2011 10:43 PM

Anonymous cheme09 said...

Scout706: I thought once you earned a commission, you couldn't enlist anymore?

Surferman: Now that sounds like the life. I've only had the "pleasure" of surfing Virginia Beach and NC. What I would give to be able to surf everyday and be an 1120 (either together or independent of each other).

2/22/2011 9:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure what civilian job would have given me the chance to enjoy the world with my family - while paying me well (sub and nuke pay throughout).

Other than the rare Tiger Cruise, I don't seem to recall anyone's family going to sea with us on deployment. Guess surferman wasn't on my boat.

2/22/2011 4:55 PM

Blogger SJV said...

The 100K retirement is Radcon Math.

2/22/2011 5:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{Scout706: I thought once you earned a commission, you couldn't enlist anymore?}

Technically true, but I've heard that the NG is pretty loose about that stuff (and many other things).

2/23/2011 8:28 PM

Blogger surferman said...

Not sure about the comments to my comment, but closing in on 30 commissioned my retirement will actually be well north of $100K, the only "Radcon math" involved is the size of my TSP and other securities purchased by annual nuke bonuses. My travels/living around the world had nothing to do with deployments or tiger cruises, everything to do with proper career management, you don't get those overseas duty stations if you don't ask for them. And yes, lots of "fun"/overseas jobs available to nukes ... just need know how to ask for them.

2/24/2011 2:07 AM

Anonymous Very Well said...

"Surferman" is likely a malefactor at best, or most probable a fourberie, who enjoys the attention a typical greedy, self-centered, transgressor receives when sharing pronominal fortunes with a group of peers.

2/24/2011 2:22 AM

Anonymous Scout706 said...

Hey cheme09- A prior commission gets you in as an E-5, and can credit toward some Leadership schools required for further promotion. The max age is waived by # of years service. I first learned this as a dependent, one of my father’s subordinates was RIFFED from the USAF, and continued as enlisted due to a dependent with severe disability. I digress. We had a few prior O’s, (Army, USMC, and Navy) even one other NFO (Same state, different unit). Some were passed over 2x, some we just don’t know. I had fun, and that’s what counts. I left when I could no longer meet body fat-passed PT tests, just got heavier and older. And I had 20+. And it was time for another 14 month deployment, been there, done that.

2/24/2011 3:10 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I was lucky. After my shore tour on the MTS-626 ended in 1997 and my 10 year Navy career came to a close, the semiconductor industry was in the full throws of a technology revolution. They could not make enough chips to keep up with the demand. Nucs were in high demand because of our training and leadership skills. Had a job two months prior to my seperation date and started work less than a month after that. Have changed jobs 3 time since and every time for a promotion and better pay. My experience as a Nuke and subsequent enginnering degree have given my family and I a great life. So good that I am a prime target for the President's tax increase. I have come a long way from port and starboard watches in ERLL.

3/07/2011 12:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK way to this party but JUST in case some enlisted guy comes along and reads this, you need to hear the truth.

I got out as an EM nuke and found a job at a civilian coal plant in mid 90s. Pay was OK (around 45k plus gobs of OT)but 12 hr rotating shifts, nights, holidays. Felt like I was still in the Navy and felt like I was wasting my life away in a dead end job.

Waited and looked around for nuke plant openings (would have required relocation). Then hit me that all operations jobs are the same deal, especially for a new hire.

You can make money but the quality of life in operations is not that good.

I sucked it up and went back to school full-time at a "real" ABET accrediated university and got my BSEE. Wow did the doors open.

Reality is as a nuke you don't have much more than an applied education. If you think that you can do design or real engineering work you are sadly mistaken. You just don't have the education and training to do it.

I live near a sub shipyard and bump into former nukes I know from time to time. They are stuck in the same job knowing that if they leave the yard or get laid off that their skillsets are limited.

My position has moved from hardcore engineering work in the semiconductor industry and now in management at the same company. Tough road to get here with the Navy side tracking my life but I survived.

I hired a conventional ET as a tech and after one year he pretty much expected to be compensated at the same level as a degreed BSEE/MSEE. I tried to reason with him and he quit, went to another semi company and I heard through the grapevine that he got laid off during a down-turn. I've got a soft spot for ex Navy guys to help them out, especially guys where I can see "me" but it's 50/50. Some great successes and some real duds.

Of the enlisted nukes I know that have really excelled are the ones that went to school and got a legit degree. ChemE, EE, ME, CE, etc. I had a college classmate who was ex-nuke who went through the EE program together with me. He worked for civilian company for couple years, they closed shop. He got a job at PSNY as a manager over other ex-nukes who had been on the yard for years. Again, the degree matters.

If anyone tells you otherwise, they are one of the fortunate ones. I have staff that are in their 40s and 50s all lamenting about not ever going or finishing their college degree. It's life changing.

I am making low 6 figures with 12 years post BSEE. Add in the stock options and bonus on good years and I'm pushing mid six figures.

Without your degree, you are relegated to government jobs or traveling. If you are an enlisted nuke thinking you are going to cash in right out of the Navy you better get recalibrated. Operating a civilian plant and getting hired isn't automatic. And after a couple years the money won't seem worth it with the rotating shifts or travel. Shipyards are hiring but you already know what the work is like.

The civilian world gives 2 shits about nuke school. "That's great, but how can that help me"

Get that freakin degree, TRUST ME.

6/05/2012 6:58 PM

Anonymous Lynnette said...

This can't work in reality, that's what I think.

8/30/2012 10:37 PM

Anonymous Loreen said...

This cannot have effect as a matter of fact, that is what I suppose.

9/12/2012 3:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with Anonymous about the value of the degree. I don't believe I increased my intelligence any by obtaining an engineering degree, but unfortunately in the real world that piece of paper matters. Most if not all people in management went to college and obtained their degrees, so there is this perception that people that will greatly add value to an organization should go the same route. Not necessarily true, but that's the world we live in. Don't hate the player, hate the game. So go to school, work as hard as possible (which you know how to do if you're an ex-nuke) and get your degree in as short a time as possible. Your opportunities will greatly expand. The only exception to this rule, in my opinion, is if you are going to start your own business and do your own thing (ex: Bill Gates). But for the vast majority of us we will usually work for some organization/company. Good luck.

BTY, I manage a maintenance organization for a private company in Lincoln, Nebraska. It's a great company to work for in my opinion. I am looking for a maintenance supervisor to work 3rd shift, M-F, 11:30 pm to 8:00 am. The good deal is that we have a great tuition assistance program and we're just down the street from the University of Nebraska, and they have a great engineering school. Pay is $50-55K/yr. So you could earn a decent wage and go to school to get your degree with the company helping to pay for it. Just a thought. If interested go to and look at careers. Good luck.

11/26/2013 7:29 AM

Anonymous WickedGoodOutdoors said...

JOBS for Submariners.
Post any and all employment positions that would be applicable to Ex NAVY Submariners. This is a Networking site for posting available jobs and people seeking employment.
Pass the word to all your shipmates to join, like and post.
We need volunteers to be administrators.

Pease POST YOUR JOBS in the FOLDERS under the picture Icons with different job types. If you find an ICON that looks like it would work for new categories not already listed let one of the Admins know and we can add it to the pictures folder.
Your all also welcome to join and post on Veterans Trading Post ( Buy, Sell Trade)


3/23/2014 11:42 AM


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