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.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Submarine Networking

Every submariner knows that who you know is as important as how well you've done your job when it comes to getting your next set of orders; having an old shipmate as your detailer is better than being Sailor of the Year when it comes to getting that cushy shore duty job or sea duty in your desired homeport.

One thing I found after I retired is that the Submarine Brotherhood still exists when we go looking for our career after the Navy. Moving to the Boise area without a job lined up, I was lucky enough to find a retired submarine Admiral here in town who seemed to know everybody, and was willing to take time out of his schedule to introduce me to his network. It was through one of those connections that I got my current job.

While in the past most of the networking was probably done through digging through old E-mails and Christmas cards to figure out who you might contact when it came time to start looking for a new job (especially if you were planning to move to a non-Navy town), the 'net has made looking for network contacts a lot easier. For officers, one new source of information I've found is through the Gold Dolphin Network via LinkedIn; the website for this group is here. I'm sure there are plenty of other resources out there; which ones have you found that worked for you? What stories do those of you who've transitioned to CivUS have about fellow Submariners helping you find your next career?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Naval Submarine League is a key network.

5/20/2008 6:33 AM

Blogger Chap said...

Yeah, I didn't post on this because the proprietor indicated the blog was going private at the time--figured he didn't want the publicity yet. Sounds as though it's time, eh?

I'm still in so I can't say what would work for me. Reservists are also a key info source for JOs and DHs on shore duty getting out. LI is a good network too--just link to people you actually, you know, *know* instead of that guy with 836 'friends' like people do on Facebook.

It's pretty amazing who's doing what on the outside. I've often thought of taking the sailing or class list from somewhere in the past and looking up where everyone is, just to show the new kids what to expect fifteen or thirty years from now. When Kam decommed we managed to get a bunch of guys from the commissioning crew underway with us, and it was pretty entertaining to see the ET3 interact with the guy who was an ET3 back in 1963...

5/20/2008 7:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great...just what the world needs...more large and in charge 1120's gathering their collective egos!

What a bunch of snobs on that blog! Too bad many of those guys (gold dolphin wearers) actually believe they were great leaders as opposed to really being one.

5/20/2008 7:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the surprise mention, Joel.

There is also a U.S. Silver Dolphins Association on LinkedIn. It is only substantially smaller than the Gold Dolphins group because it is relatively newer. You can find the link to join this group by going to LinkedIn, searching for Gary Masters, and then adding the keyword "submarine."

We're now over 500 members in the U.S. Gold Dolphins Association on LinkedIn. It's been fun to help the group grow and see old shipmates reconnect. From a networking practicality standpoint, the group is quite helpful for finding members in one's own business/industry sector. The group's 'blog' -- really a prototype website -- has already helped some members find new positions.

As a caveat, LinkedIn has its limitations when it comes to group communications. It was designed from the get-go to be a point-to-point people connection network, not group-centric. We're in the process of creating a dedicated website to work around these limitations and encourage both camaraderie and the sharing of career info in a less restricted way.

I'd fully encourage all submariners to check out the Gold Dolphins and Silver Dolphins groups. They are free to join, and -- being both business-centric and focused on the present and future -- don't really have any equivalents in terms of other submariner groups.

Best regards to all,


5/20/2008 8:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just a sample of what is out there.
One very important thing to do, even if you don't plan on a job in the Federal sector. Go to your SSO, that's the guy that handles your SBI/SI/DBF . Tell him you are thinking about getting a job that might require these clearance"s. Usually he can extend the time up to two years.

I would also have a job lined up before I retired

P. O. Box 71445
Marietta, GA 30007-1445
o 877.838.5627 (877-Vet-Jobs)
o 770-993-5117 x222
c 678-777-8262
f 770-993-2875

Veterans make the best employees!
Freedom is not free! Support our armed forces!

Five year WEDDLE's User's Choice Award Recipient

Three year listing on Workforce Management's Job Board Hot List

VetJobs is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business

5/20/2008 8:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used two headhunters when I got out--Lucas & Orion. I also did some significant looking on my own, all in the Puget Sound region. I ended up with a position I interviewed with through Lucas. Turns out that both my boss AND his boss are both ex-navy (although neither is ex-submarines). Hugely satisfied with that experience.

5/20/2008 8:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When touring potential candidates for employment, try to avoid those with Unions unless you are hiring in as an hurly employee. If the company does have a Bargaining Unit, such as the UAW, ask to speak with supervisors and management and get them to release as much information as possible about the company's situation with the Union - specifically, who *really* makes things happen.
I swear, had I known I'd be paying a grievance settlement for 16 hours' pay just for telling a guy to "put down the newspaper and do your job", I would've looked for a different position or another company.

5/20/2008 9:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first interview with a fortune 500 company was with a Submariner off the USS Aspro SSN648. He was onboard 10 years before me but I got the job because he knew my work ethic and dedication as a Dolphin wearing candidate. I'm on my second fortune 500 job and I was hired by two Air Force guys that after we started swapping PI stories in the interview :)

Can silver join gold for the officer contacts I made over the years?

5/20/2008 4:14 PM

Blogger Mark Hughes said...

Can silver join gold for the officer contacts I made over the years?

Good question, bkt(ss)...hang with me while I wind around to the answer.

To keep the Gold Dolphins group reasonably manageable, we're limiting participation to just commissioned submarine officers. This is based largely on the good intention of keeping the communications both tight and relevant for all involved.

It's largely a numbers issue: even as it stands, there will likely be thousands of people in the group over time -- we grew to over 200 in just the first two weeks.

It's also a 'scope' issue. While the members' employment opportunities have largely followed that of the general economy (i.e., I.T., financial services, consulting services, nuclear power, etc.) and their education/experience, as Chap has alluded the group's current membership is all over the map in terms of what they're now doing for a day job. I'd also guess that about 80-90% are out of the Navy and have been for years. So the breadth of current job skills already stretches the ability to communicate in terms of common, current, shared business interests.

That said, on LinkedIn there's absolutely nothing stopping anyone from requesting to link in to an old shipmate's (including officer's) personal network -- with his permission, of course -- and I personally encourage that. Many of the guys in the group maintain contacts with their ex-shipmates, regardless of what color uniform they once wore.

Hope that helps, bkt(ss).

For anyone who otherwise might be tempted to get worked up in a lather over seeing a separate gold and silver dolphins groups, all I can say is (1) "check fire," (2) take a deep breath, and (3) first go look at LinkedIn to see how it's structured.

For example, Harvard Business School, Notre Dame, UCLA Haas School of Business, any number of other schools...each have their own group. Are they being elitist? No. With common experiences and lingo, it simply boils down to enabling efficient communications. In our world -- the 20+ years out-of-the-USN guys -- all that 'stuff' is way behind us.

Last but not least, the advice I'd offer anyone who is just starting to form their personal business network is to approach it first from the standpoint and attitude of what do you bring to the group...and not the other way around. As each member first looks out for the others, all -- including the individual joining the group -- benefit.

Good luck to all. If you're still in, first & foremost, from a fellow American citizen: thank you. Everyone eventually leaves the service. When you do, you will find that the paths you will be able to take in life are truly amazing. Maximize your expectations, and think big.



5/20/2008 5:22 PM

Blogger beebs said...

I'm an USNA grad.

I had a USMA grad hire me with about two interview questions. I was amazed.


5/20/2008 7:04 PM

Blogger reddog said...

When you're a Jet You're a Jet all the way. From your first cigarette, to your last dyin' day.

5/20/2008 8:20 PM

Blogger Jed Christiansen said...

"While in the past most of the networking was probably done through digging through old E-mails and Christmas cards to figure out who you might contact"

On that, I should probably get in touch with you! Two of my old shipmates worked with you on the Jimmy Carter; Roy Wilson and CAPT Kelso.

I'm a huge fan of LinkedIn, and groups like the Gold/Silver Dolphins help find/make connections that would otherwise have been totally unavailable.

"Networking" isn't some sleazy word. I think of networking as just keeping in touch with people you know. Personally, I wish LinkedIn had existed years ago and that I had used it throughout my Navy career. It would have made the transition that much more useful and interesting. I've lost track of so many shipmates over the years.

Regarding the transition, I know there are going to be new and better tools out there soon. I wrote a bit about it on my blog a while back. Check it out here:


5/21/2008 5:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do you work, Bubblehead? Or. at least. what field do you work in? Nuclear power?

5/21/2008 6:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubblehead-your network Admiral wouldn't happen to be a retired Fleet Commander?

5/21/2008 7:46 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Last two anonymous posters: I work in the semiconductor industry for the largest private employer in Idaho, and I love it. Yes, it's who you think it is -- PacFleet, to be specific.

5/21/2008 8:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on both sides of the house (silver/gold) and have now been in private industry for some time. I wouldn't be too in love with the idea that being a former officer ("gold dolphin network") makes you particularly special in the job market - I run into many former enlisted and officers in my field (I'm a senior IT executive) and there seems to be little difference in career direction or achievement between the two groups.

Two qualifiers, though - one, if you are enlisted, you had better get a degree to be marketable. Even better, get a couple (MBAs and MS's in engineering are nice). Second, the former enlisted I run into are 100% nucs, and I do not work in a field that is in any way associated with the nuclear industry.

So, I guess I side with the folks who see this as snobbery, and I won't be joining the gold dolphin group. I do suggest noting "Navy Nuclear Power School" in your Linkedin education section, though, and a BRIEF note on your last or most impressive navy position. Be general - "navy nuclear engineer", "submarine warfare office", or "Nuclear Reactor Operator" are much better than a more accurate but less jargony description. No one cares if you were E-Div LPO or DO. Omit your rank on Linkedin as well - if someone cares, they'll ask. Navy ranks can be confusing to many. Do not list your service schools beyond nuc school, unless it granted a degree (e.g. NPS or USNA).

5/21/2008 11:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found my first job out of the Navy by way of a couple of ex-submariner friends, both of them officers (one of them anonymous but in contact with HR, or at least according to them) who knew I was interviewing and were very supportive throughout.

The support was important, and likely sealed the deal. But I also knew the business, had the right background, and was apparently the right blend of confidence and honest humility. There really wasn't any more complexity to it than that.

Doors open when you have people's support because of past experiences. There's no real arguing with someone's experience. Whatever it was, if they witnessed it, it happened and that's that. So, I put more faith in keeping focused on the job at hand and doing the best you can, not the politics or resume wordsmithing. That's just me.

5/21/2008 4:11 PM

Blogger Mike said...

I'm in industry now, a degree is helpful for universal marketability. However, for many engineering positions the MS is not all that necessary - stick with the BS if your primary motivator is money. For many companies an MS will get you one step higher than a BS, but you would have achieved that same higher step in the same/less time that it would take to get an MS if you start full time immediately after getting the BS.

Would recommend the MBA though on all accounts, most companies will pay for you to get one if you're already on their "professional" payroll.

Any questions about transitioning from Navy enlisted to full time college though feel free to contact me at

5/21/2008 4:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is tough to go wrong with the MBA. The MS in engineering, though, is useful for midcareer types who want to stay technical, but get into management. Its also helpful if you got your undergrad in one area but end up working in another.

One other point on networking and Linkedin - don't be afraid to contact folks you don't know directly (the InMail feature). If you are a submariner (of any flavor), you will likely find other submarines, and Navy folks in general to be quite helpful.

5/21/2008 4:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone have any hints for skimmer pukes? Ones with MBA's that have been out a while... :-)

Send 'em my way:

5/21/2008 8:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never mind the call I got from NNS&DDCo that would have paid just above minimum wage to turn 24 years experience into a grunt electrician. Two experiences when I was getting close to retirement. Applied at one company in the Norfolk area that did work on subs. All of the employees were ex Navy and the owner was a retired O-6. Found out after the fact that because of their level of knowledge (they knew exactly what retired pay was for pay grade/years of service) they paid enough to return your total monthly income to pre retirement Base Pay level. The job I got was a three line classified in Navy Times. Doing Field Service work across N. Carolina, into VA and SC. Good pay and benefits, company car, significant company SEP contributions, annual bonus, plenty vacation, work from home so yes I'm living the dream in retirement.

5/21/2008 8:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them. -- George Bernard Shaw

5/22/2008 7:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BusinessWeek has an article out this week that focuses on major business campuses to discuss just how competitive and credential-driven the job markets are becoming.

5/22/2008 8:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Diesel Boats Forever. I would be ashamed if a fellow officer even thought about separating Gold and Silver.
The new Submarine Service doesn't get it. Gundecking Logs, Cheating on exams, Quals. You reap what you sow.
Even the crews are segregated. Coners/Eng.

2.I signed on to Linkedin in 2003. I regret it now. Way to much information to let out in the wild. Once it's out there you can't get it back in the bottle.

5/23/2008 4:30 PM

Blogger Mark Hughes said...

Anonymous DBF: Good news #1 -- You can modify anything you have on LinkedIn, or you can even have your profile entirely removed (if you believe that's to your best interest) just by asking them to do so.

Good news #2 -- With mutual agreement, anyone can link to anyone else on LinkedIn. Many officers and many enlisted share personal networks on LinkedIn. Separation or unity is an individual it should be.

Anonymous or not, I respect you and anyone who's served our nation as a diesel boater, especially this Memorial Day weekend. I'm happy to say that we now have diesel boaters in the U.S. Gold Dolphins Association, which has grown by 10% in the last week alone.

It doesn't do any shipmate a favor, officer or enlisted, if he doesn't get hired because a recruiter -- who has been tasked by a corporation with filling a job's specific, particular requirements -- simply can't find him amongst the now 20 million people on LinkedIn.

As someone else has already encouraged, don't be shy about asking any submariner to share networks or at least share ideas on how to best position yourself for employment and success in the business world.

I'm easy to find on LinkedIn. If you think my background is such that I may be able help you, contact me; I will do my I would for any submariner.

5/23/2008 5:46 PM


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