Your Story is Just Beginning…
The first job you get after leaving the military is not the end of your story by any stretch of the imagination. You can definitely change jobs a few times. In fact, today’s job market is driven by people who change jobs every couple of years in order to earn more money or chase promotions. There is no written rule that says you have to stay in your first post-military job for 20 years, though you certainly can make the decision to do so. If you want to work in a career field that requires additional education or training, but you are intent on leaving the military, you could consider “in the meantime” type jobs, or alternative job opportunities that allow you to leave the military, have income and pursue the education or training that is needed for your chosen career field. There are many things you can do “in the meantime”, but here are three options to think about.
Sales (Insurance, Car Sales and Real Estate)
Everyone needs insurance, right? Automobile insurance is required by law. Potential homeowners cannot buy a house without insurance on the home. This makes insurance sales a great choice. There is required licensing, but once this is attained, the sky is really the limit. Some insurance salespeople make well into the six-figure range. Another great choice in the sales arena is car sales. Most of the time, car salespeople are trained in-house at the dealership and have the potential to make very good money. Real Estate is a sales job that, like insurance sales, requires licensing. However, if you live in an area where the housing market is doing well, Real Estate sales may be the way to go.
The key thing about all of these sales options is that they are likely to be commission-only. Remember, the Post 9/11 GI Bill does offer a housing allowance if certain criteria are met. Add that to the potential for VA disability compensation and you can fill some of the pay gaps that can come with a commission-only job.
Retail is a good option for many reasons, especially for college students. Retail offers flexible work schedules, benefits and decent pay. In fact, many retailers are paying well above the federal minimum wage which, combined with the housing allowance from the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the potential for VA disability compensation, can add up to a decent living. Also, there is room for advancement in retail. Perhaps you start off as a cashier at a retailer and complete a degree in human resources. You could apply for and get a human resources job with the same retailer. Maybe you get a business degree while working for a wireless carrier. You may end up being promoted to store management with the same company. Believe it or not, this happens often.
Truck drivers are mandated by law to hold a commercial driver’s license, or CDL. This is acquired by conducting a driving test in an 18-wheeler truck. Nevertheless, once the license has been received, you can make a nice living, especially if you get hired by a large company. These companies love to hire Veterans because of our work ethic. There are even driving opportunities with large restaurant chains. Of course, you will be on the road for a considerable amount of time, but there may also be in-town driving opportunities that allow you to be home every night.
There is an abundance of other alternative job opportunities out there, from freelance writing to driving for a ride sharing company. The goal is to make some money while you go to school. Who knows? Your “in the meantime” job may open doors for you that you never considered. You may be able combine your degree and that “in the meantime” job experience to create a new path of success you did not think was possible.