Deymos Borgen: “What I Learned During My Transition From SOF to Working Civilian”
Interested in using your leadership skills that you learned while serving in the military? Can you transition into the commercial world only having military experience? Most companies will tell you that even with the numerous accolades and countless years of exercising leadership skills while serving, the answer will still be… NO. So how do we prepare ourselves better? Hopefully this helps you out a little.
A few years back, I decided to hang up my Army boots and end my 21 years of service. Starting all the way back in the infantry, I worked my way up to Special Forces and attended several assessment and Selection meetings. I was very fortunate to participate in some of the most physically demanding courses that the army offered and ultimately, I acquired a lot of truly valuable leadership skills that I planned on applying to my career down the road. This is in no way a “pounding my chest” moment and it should be said without question that even with these accomplishments, I still felt extremely unprepared when I started to transition into the workforce.
If you are approaching retirement, you might know the military implements programs to help you find your next career. I caution you not to limit yourself to just that. I had a veteran advocate tell me I would never land a job with the resume I provided her. All the accomplishments that I listed seemed as an easy way to show my ability to lead in difficult situations and that I was trainable. I had the usual Ranger School, and Special Forces training that included some “cool guy” courses like combat diver, military freefall, etc. But even with all these accolades, all she saw on my resume was “camouflage”. It was made clear to me that the skills learned over my career simply wouldn’t transition over to a successful civilian job. For someone who was completely new to the workforce, those words were immensely discouraging.
So, there I was. A recent retired veteran with no real guidance on what to do next. I was just told that my 21 years of serving as both a Special Forces Weapons sergeant and Team Sergeant, my skills would only limit me. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to have met a recruiter at a job fair who worked in Government contracting. He saw past the camouflage and invited me to a company social. It wasn’t too long after that I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to become a Program Manager. I didn’t need any past job experience because I already had it. I could finally apply all my years of SOF experience to manage complex programs for our Special Operations customers.
While I ended up finding my career path, it should be said without question it doesn’t always end up like that. I can honestly look back and say I was not as ready as I thought, and It took me a couple of years to truly understand what it takes to be a proficient Program Manager. Most SOF programs offered to retired veterans require a professional workforce that truly understand the intricacies of the task at hand, but there are still many business skills that usually need to be acquired first before one can fully conquer his/her job. At Spathe Systems, we do are very best to help fill in those weak areas to provide a solution for this ever-growing problem.
Spathe not only makes it easy to apply your military knowledge but also helps you learn additional, valuable skills to further help you with your transition into the workforce. Through our partnership with USSOCOM’s Warrior Care Internship Program, we provide an interactive engagement between you and our employees, giving you the opportunity to start your career with a bang. The internship benefits Service Members by exposing them to required commercial, technical, and business skills most necessary to understand how a Government Contract company works. You will learn how to support the customer while hopefully discovering new career options on the way. (Read more about Spathe’s sponsorship with the Warrior Care Program)
Spathe Systems provides the SOF community with a diverse and experienced workforce comprised of SOF, commercial, and academia professionals that currently provide Subject Matter Expertise in Mission Support efforts for USSOCOM, TSOCs, and components.