I'm a Master Seargent in the US Air Force and me and my wife decided it would be best if I retire next year.  My wife would like us to retire to the UK so we could be close to her parents.  She's British and I love the UK so living there won't be a problem for either of us.  I'm only 39 and I want to find a decent management job when I get there.  My last two years as a manager have been the easiest though thanks to the O3 and feedback skills I learned here.  I really enjoy managing.  I have a few fears about making the leap to the civilian world though.

I'm afraid my work experience won't carry the same weight in the civilian sector and even less in a UK job hunt as it would in the US.  I don't want to go from being a military manager to an entry-level position.  I spent my first 10 years in the forces turning a wrench and the second ten learning to be an effective manager.  

Also, I'm curious if it will be harder to be seen as an approachable manager if I'm going to be looked at as a foreigner.

Does anyone hve any experience in either of these situations? Anyone know a good UK job placement service?

wendii's picture
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I think you're over-worrying. I do think that some ex-forces staff find it harder to find roles in the civilian world, sometimes because civilians have preconceptions about what the military person might be like. Your role in the job hunt is to persuade them that

a) you have transferable skills and accomplishments which will be useful to them
b) you are a personable, relaxed person who doesn't only follow orders and/or doesn't need to give them in order to accomplish something
c) you've thought about and will be able to adapt to the civilian company.

The first you do on your resume and the second two at an interview.

Like all job-seekers you need to think about where your skills will best fit and the industries which will a) excite you and b) appreciate your background. You might find that the defence industry is a good first step as it allows you to maximise your previous experience (and it is easier to demonstrate a) above). However, depending on what you've been doing in the military and where your interests lie, there may be others.

Being foreign isn't a disadvantage in my experience - being a novelty can sometimes help. But again, you need to be aware of our preconceptions about americans and be prepared to address them in an interview. (If you don't know, you're loud, arrogant, and completely unaware of anywhere outside the States!)

If you want to PM me with some details about what you want from your next step, I may be able to recommend some placement services.


scm2423's picture


The people walking down the hall wondering why I am laughing but you comment:

    If you don't know, you're loud, arrogant, and completely unaware of anywhere outside the States!

was too funny.