Man, what does SFC Oxygen-thief do all day?

He just sits there in the S3 shop, got done with his platoon sergeant time a few years ago…

Been here ever since. The guy rarely shows up for PT, shows up just in time for the duty day, cannot be found anywhere between 1130-1300, promptly returns at 1300 with a fresh Burger King cup and disappears like a virgin on prom night by 1600 everyday – without fail.

But you know exactly what he is REALLY doing:

Biding his time until he has JUST enough time to drop that retirement and retire on the FIRST day possible.

He talks about his retirement “plans” frequently: Doing nothing! Just collecting that retirement pay baby!

He plans on staying near the base since his home is half way paid thanks to the six years of BAH he has been throwing at it since he bought the place when he PCS’d here… 6 years ago.

Sounds familiar right?

Do you blame him? More importantly, can you blame him?

This is a common sight since it was directly manifested by the “high 3” retirement system: all you have to do is get your 20 years in and BOOM you have got yourself a fully funded retirement.

Hell, you don’t even have to worry about healthcare to an extent.

People respond to incentives and when the system has incentivized this behavior (doing just enough for just long enough) these are the characters that you see.

Is that why less than one in four Fortune 500 companies still offer some sort of retirement plan?

Even so, some of those retirement plans are 401k’s where the individual must make a contribution and are not the same as full pension

Take it from the employer side, do you want to advertise to your employees that all they have to do is make it to specific, predetermined benchmark of time?

Doubtful.

Or would you rather have your employees hungry for success and willing to work for as long and as hard as they can in order to save enough to fund their retirements. 

Sounds more right to me, since in the private sector there isn’t equality of outcome with “equality of outcome”meaning that there is a predetermined end state that you will achieve regardless of what actions you take – as long as you are in the system.

Does that sound like how the free market operates?

Wall Street bailouts aside, the answer is a resounding no. If you start a company and hang around for a bit, does that mean you will eventually be on the Fortune 100? Or even the Fortune 1000?

No and the same applies to your military transition.

Everyone has heard of great military transitions and sometimes they come from people you don’t even expect:

  • Did you hear about Jones?!? Man he was always ate up, then he got out and makes over $100k a year!
  • Schultz couldn’t even qualify his M4 without help and now he runs his own successful business!
  • Developed an app…
  • Wrote a book and it sold BIG….

 On the flip side, we have all seen the results of the most poorly executed military transition:

  • Guys that move back in with their parents – unplanned
  • Said that they were going to go to college and it’s been four years since they ETS’d and they only have an associates degree to show for it
  • Or, the worst of all and the one that breaks my heart, have now become homeless veterans

Remember one very important thing about your transition = success is not guaranteed

With each of those scenarios, you can work backwards as to how they got there – both good and bad

That guy who was ate up and now makes well over $100k a year? Yeah he was ate up, acknowledged it, put on his man pants, and got to work. Maybe he studied for admission exams during his downtime while everyone else was playing Xbox and farting in fishbowls in the barracks. He got accepted to his first choice of school before he ETS’d and landed a part time job as soon as he got out. Just kept hustling.  

How did the homeless guy get to his current state? Did he get out without a plan, did not pay attention to his exit training, not seek support before he got out (professionally, medically,emotionally, spiritually, etc.) Do you think that was his desired outcome? What assumptions did he make about his transition?

Here are some faulty assumptions that will bite you in the ass in a hurry:

  1. Everyone wants to employ me because I am a veteran
  2. Every school will want to admit me because I am a veteran
  3. This is going to be easy

Avoid these assumptions at all costs. No one is just going to give you anything just because you are a veteran and by no means is this going to be easy,

Nothing is guaranteed, even if you plan and prepare as much as you can for any given scenario. Things go south.

Each decision we make in life further limits the opportunities for what we will become and what we will do later. And those decisions are not as big as you think. Something as small as paying attention in your “Soldier for Life” briefings could possibly make or break your transition.

Take the time to prepare. You cannot over prepare for your transition. Even if you think you are over preparing before your transition – afterwards you will wish you still prepared more.

There is no equality of outcome for your transition or for your retirement.

Even after you have transitioned there is no time to rest on your laurels like SFC Oxygen-thief. Do that and you are likely to end up unemployed.

It’s a grind and it starts now as you prepare for your transition. 

Welcome to the Real World.

And the world belongs to those who hustle.

Get off your ass. Get shit done.

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