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Leveraging a Third-Party Contractor to Land "The" Job

Transition


Resources


Connect with Darren on LinkedIn


Careers at USAA


Darren's Email = dkb8683@gmail.com


Read the Transcript

Speaker 1:                           Welcome to the Eagle's Transition podcast where your host, financial planner, speaker, and author Curt Sheldon talks to senior military officers who have made the retirement transition before you. You'll hear about different hiring processes, interview questions, salary negotiations, and how each one of them successfully settled into a rewarding second career. Now, here is your host, Curt Sheldon.

Curt Sheldon:                    Welcome to episode 13 of the Eagle's Transition podcast. Today I'll be talking with Darren Bishop. Darren started out his second act as a self-employed realtor, but the PCS bug bit him at the three year point, and he started looking elsewhere and ultimately landed at USAA. Darren has some unique insights into networking and was helped by his network even though he was trying to employ “reverse networking”, which is his term. He also did something I haven't seen before, using a job with a third party contractor to gain entry to the ultimate company he wanted to work for. Seems like a pretty good idea.

Curt Sheldon:                    But before I talk with Darren, I'd like to make a special offer for our podcast listeners. If you go to www.clsheldon.com/eagles, that's www.clsheldon.com/eagles, you can get a financial checklist to help with your transition from active duty to the civilian world. It is designed for you, and you can get it for free. Now on to the show. Darren, welcome to the show.

Darren Bishop:                  Hey, good afternoon, Curt. Thanks for having me on the podcast.

Curt Sheldon:                    I'm happy to have you on the show today. I should probably give you a little bit of warning. This is episode 13. I'm personally, since I was the commander of the 13th fighter squadron, and I don't see any problem with that number, but this is welcome to episode 13, and I'm excited to have you here today because you've had kind of an interesting career path since leaving the Air Force Don a couple of different things, and widely different. I'm real happy to have you on board today and be able to share some of that information. To get things started, why don't you tell us what you're doing right now?

Darren Bishop:                  Right now I work for USAA as a business analyst. That's kind of the generic term. Also, my specific title is an information solutions advisor. You can basically say I'm a staff officer at USAA, but more specifically I'm working in the regulatory compliance area, USAA being a large financial institution. As you know in your industry as well, there's a lot of government oversight, a lot of regulatory oversight, and so the computer models that they use, predictive models of any type, had to be very heavily documented and inventoried. That's kind of part of my business is making sure that all documentation is there in case the regulators want to look at what we're doing.

Curt Sheldon:                    Is that on the investment side or the bank side or all sides?

Darren Bishop:                  No, it's really all over the enterprise. We have predictive models that do anything from predicting what you're calling about based on your prior history with USAA to predicting what marketing opportunities people might respond to, to predicting how much call volume might come into the business. Just a wide array of predictive models that are used across the enterprise, and all of those have to be documented.

Curt Sheldon:                    I probably first met you... Time goes so darn fast. It's probably been five or six years since I first met you, maybe not quite that long ago. Why don't you tell us about your last position in the military and when you retired?

Darren Bishop:                  I was the missions support group commander out at Nellis of 99th MSG when I first retired. As you said time flies. That was the summer of 2013 when I retired, so it's going on six years now. Had a great time in my last two years in the Air Force there at Nellis got to be in the city manager so to speak for both Nellis and Creech Air Force Base.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. If you could, maybe tell us a little bit about your overall military career.

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah so I started out as an EWO or WSO back seater in F4Es and Gs, and did Desert Storm and the Wild Weasel. Great place to start. That kind of dates my age a little bit, talking about flying the F4. After that, went on to the F15E Strike Eagle in the backseat for a couple different tours, and then after that I was more of a generalist. I would say I'm a jack of all trades, master of none, as the old saying goes. I spent some time in the acquisition world at the F22 program office back when that program was pretty much in its infancy. I can't say the word. I'm sorry. Did a staff tour at STRATCOM as a joint staff officer, and then commanded a recruiting squadron and did my time at the Pentagon on the Air Staff. Each of those assignments was wildly different than the one before, so kind of had to get thrown into deep end of the pool each time and learn a new trade so to speak.

Darren Bishop:                  It gave me a good broad background, but not a lot of in depth experience in any given field which we'll come to later I'm sure in the interview. To me that kind of is a bit of a handicap or could be when it's time to transition because you can't really claim any deep expertise in any given field, like a civil engineer or like the medical profession or whatever. But nevertheless, it was a great career. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay now I think I'll go ahead and bring this up for you. I know your transition itself, the getting up and getting started was probably significantly different than it is for most of us. If you would, talk to us about kind of your last month or so in the Air Force and your first few months as a retiree.

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah Curt, you've heard my story many times as we've sat on some of the ETAP panels together so I won't go into the gory details too much with your listeners here to save time, but suffice it to say on my last month of active duty, just before my retirement, I was starting to get what I thought was the flu. It just kept getting worse and worse. Finally ended up going to the hospital to try to get a diagnosis and get some meds. They took one look at me and said we're not sure what you've got but it's not the flu and so they admitted me and started running tests. That was about the last thing I remember for after that because they ended up having to put me under and put a breathing tube in. Long story short, it took them a while to diagnose it but I had septicemia. I had a blood infection, which of course takes the infection to various organs or different parts of your body and starts shutting everything down. It took them awhile to figure out what was wrong with me and then start administering the correct drugs to get me over it.

Darren Bishop:                  They almost lost me, and I found later that it is fatal about 20% of the time and I was pretty close to being one of those 20% statistics. I'll always be lifelong thankful to the medical professionals out there at Nellis at the time, at the base hospital. They got me back on my feet but it took about a month. I was in the hospital for almost a full month. Then when I got out, my boss had to delay my retirement for another month to give me some recuperative leave time and give me time to physically recover. That obviously set my job search back quite a bit. My networking that I had kind of been trying to do before that kind of got put on hold for considerable amount of time while I recovered physically. That was kind of an unusual start to my transition.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah. I think for those listening, when you think your transition is going not perfect, it's probably a chance to say well maybe not as bad as it could be. Obviously kind of start out behind the power curve a little bit, basically stepping out of the service with two months where you really haven't been able to do anything other than get well. I know again since we've met before, I know from there you went to San Antonio. You landed in San Antonio but I know you did not land at USAA. How did that work going into San Antonio and into your first post retirement career?

Darren Bishop:                  As you said, that did set me back. It gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do next. Frankly, at that time I still wasn't sure. I mean I had done some networking. I tried to figure out what my skills would apply to. I already kind of knew I didn't really want to stay in the defense industry or anything like that or work on a base. I wanted to do something different but I didn't know what. But during that physical recovery time, I finally made the decision that I didn't want to work for anybody else, didn't want a 9:00 to 5:00 job, and so I decided to go into real estate. Once I kind of recovered enough to start getting started on that, I started taking real estate classes and got my real estate license and just became a residential realtor here in San Antonio. We already had a house here. We'd already made the decision we wanted to retire here and seek a job, whatever that job would be. When all things came together, I decided that was the right career move at the time to just get my license and start selling real estate.

Darren Bishop:                  It was a good career. I enjoyed it. I did it for about three and a half years, and it's pretty much always lean. Anybody that knows anything about that business, it's pretty lean the first year or two, just like starting any kind of small business. You're kind of starting from scratch, zero income on day one, and you've got to kind of build that client base. But I was successful at doing that and was enjoying it. Was on a pretty good career track, but I don't know after about three years I just kind of got itchy feet. You're probably like me and probably moved around every three years, give or take, throughout your entire career. I think at about that time, I said yeah you know this has been fun but I'm ready to go do something else.

Darren Bishop:                  I decided I wanted to pursue a job specifically at USAA here in San Antonio. They've obviously got a reputation as a premier employer here in town. I knew people that worked for the company and I thought I'm sure they've got something that I could do, so I decided to start kind of looking on their website, trying to figure out how to get my foot in the door here at USAA. But I didn't get directly here, as you said. That kind of led me to an interim step. Do you want me to go into that right now?

Curt Sheldon:                    Let me ask you a couple questions about the real estate thing there. I don't know a whole lot about the industry, but what I do know is you have to work for a broker or be a broker and I know you can't be a broker if you don't have some experience in the industry. How did you go about selecting a broker to work for?

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah it's probably as far as I know it's different in every state, but again I'm sure there's a lot of similarities. But here in Texas anyway, yeah you have to be a practicing real estate agent working under a broker for at least I believe it's four years before you can then take the additional classes and take the test to be a broker yourself if you want to, and to set up a brokerage and actually practice under your own name. Yeah I had to work under a real estate broker to start with. That's a little different than a regular job. Once you get your license, most real estate brokers in town, whether it's a large nationwide firm like a Caldwell Banker or a Better Homes and Gardens or something like that, or whether it's a smaller local mom and pop firm, it's pretty much the same. If you work for them, you sell a house, they're going to get a cut of the commission. Pretty much if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, there's no reason they wouldn't hire you. As long as you can sell some houses, they're going to get a cut of the business.

Darren Bishop:                  It's fairly easy to find a broker to work with. It's more of a two-way interview and it's as much about whether you're comfortable working with them and for their firm with their resources as much as it is about them hiring you. It's a two-way street. I just kind of interviewed with a couple of different ones. Really almost more of an informational interview to determine which one was the right match for me.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. So you went to work. The other thing you mentioned that the first year is pretty lean. I can confirm that that's the case in most business. I've heard an old ... I've had people ask me about this before but I always refer them to this old saw that I've heard that it's three years to survive, five years to thrive. If you're thinking about starting a business from scratch, that might be something that you consider. Take three years or so to become profitable, and another two to be really making it. Again, it's a rule of thumb. It's an old saw. But it's something to at least consider. Ultimately, you ended up at USAA but I also know that that's not exactly how you got there. You also got kind of an interesting story about networking and how you used networking to find that position or at least land the position that ultimately got you the job at USAA. Can you kind of talk to us about how that happened and how you ... I know you can't just network your way into USAA. There's a formal hiring process and you've got to work through that but also networking from what I understand was pretty critical for you. Why don't you talk about that a little bit?

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah it very much was. I'll just kind of tell you the story here. As I said, I'd sort of made that decision. I wanted to pursue a job at USAA but I'd also like I said I know people that worked here. I knew it's tough to get your foot in the door because it is a popular employer, and I've since found out that for basically every job that opens up at USAA there is usually dozens if not hundreds of applicants and typically for any of those jobs there's going to be some applicants that are very, very highly qualified specifically for that role. Unless you've got a lot of experience in the insurance industry or the banking industry or in tech that's specifically applicable for that job that's being advertised, you're kind of at a handicap if you're not a good match.

Darren Bishop:                  I knew it was going to take some time and I would have to be very persistent to make that happen. I told myself six months to a year, don't get discouraged. It's going to take a long time to find a job that will fit. But meanwhile I'm going on with my real estate career and I'm not worried about missing any house payments or any meals. I was working with a young couple at the time who had become good friends. I already worked with them on two or three earlier transactions. Ironically, he worked for USAA. They were a young couple in their mid-20s. New baby had just arrived. I had made the decision I was not going to mention to him that I'm kind of seeking employment at USAA because I did not want him to feel like I'm trying to take advantage of that relationship, either our working relationship as realtor and client or kind of personal friendship that we had developed. I specifically did not mention it to him and her.

Darren Bishop:                  But they were in the process of looking for 10 acres around town, and so we had a lot of windshield time there for a few weeks driving around the county looking for properties for them. Finally, with nothing else to talk about one day I kind of let it slip that I was thinking about transitioning careers and specifically USAA. He immediately said, “Hey send me your resume. I'll send it to my boss. I'll send to all the people I know. I'll do everything I can to help you.” And I immediately started backpedaling. No no no that's not what I meant. I didn't want you to do that for me. I appreciate the offer, but I really don't want to take advantage of that relationship. I kept telling him thanks but no thanks.

Darren Bishop:                  He persisted, after two three days, insisting send me your resume, send me your resume. Finally, I reluctantly went home and kind of recrafted my resume a little bit and send it to him. Basically I think it was two days later I got a call from a guy. Hey this is Bruce. I'm a friend of Andrew. He sent me your resume and said you're kind of looking at USAA. I was kind of shocked. I said well yes I am. That was about a half hour phone conversation, just a very friendly ... He was actually up in an Air Force veteran as well and said yeah I think I know somebody who is a contractor, a consulting firm that does some work with USAA and they might have a good fit for you. About a day or two after that, I got a call from another guy. Hey I got your resume from Bruce and he said you might be interested in employment.

Darren Bishop:                  Through those three different people over a period of about three or four or five days, I got the opportunity to work for this consulting firm that places a lot of people in consulting roles and kind of a staff augmentee so to speak at USAA and so that's where I got my first opportunity to get my foot in the door so to speak was with this third-party firm.

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah and I want to offer a disclaimer here too that I probably should have done right up front. You and I had talked about this a little bit before the interview started, but yeah I do want to make it clear that I'm not speaking for USAA in anything we say here today. I'm simply giving my own story and talking about my transition. I want to make clear that anything I say about USAA is not on behalf of USAA but on the other hand, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about USAA because I certainly love working there and it's turned out to be everything I thought it would and more.

Darren Bishop:                  But anyway, to your question yeah I was not aware at the time that large companies like that employ staff augmentees or it's very much like the military services do. I'm sure any of your listeners that have worked on a base know that there is the third party companies out there that have civilians that work right alongside the air force civilians or the Army civilians, the government civilians, and do a lot of work on the staff. The same thing applies on a lot of large corporations and that's something frankly I'd never thought about. I didn't even know it existed until I got this opportunity. 

Darren Bishop:                  Also just by the way the opportunity panned out very quickly. I mean from the time I got the first phone call to the second phone call which turned into about three or four phone calls in one week, not really interviews but more of a mentoring session to make sure that I was ready and had the right skillset to do the job before they actually put me in touch then with the USAA hiring manager that I would actually be working with on a day to day basis. That was a very very rapid process. From the time I got the first networking phone call to the time I was at work in the USAA building was about two weeks. That included drug screening and background checks and everything else. It happened very very rapidly. The one year time frame that I was anticipating turned into just a couple of weeks.

Darren Bishop:                  But yeah once I was employed with the third party contractor I was going to work right there in the building sitting beside USAA employees every day doing kind of the same thing they were doing. From there, it was I mean a great networking opportunity because you get the opportunity to kind of show off your skillset and get to know people around the building and so I was working for a USAA boss just like one of his full time employees but I just happened to be employed by a different company. Once you can get on the scene and kind of show what you got, from there it's pretty easy to find the openings and start ... People start letting you know hey we like what you do, we think you'd be a good fit for this role and that led to an opportunity to transition to a full time job at USAA.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay so you said one thing there that I want to make sure I heard correctly. Did USAA have an input into your hiring with the third party contractor? Did I hear that correctly?

Darren Bishop:                  Yes, yes. It's again I'm sure it's different in a lot of different cases but yeah they wanted ... In this particular case, they were looking for somebody with kind of an odd mix of skills which I brought to the table and they had kind of a hard time finding I guess. But so the third party contractor was willing to hire me onto their payroll but before they did so they wanted to make sure that the USAA manager that had the need would also agree that I had the right skillset. After a series of interviews with the contractor, and they said yep we think you're the right guy, they set up the interview with the USAA hiring manager. That turned out to be just a very simple 20-minute phone call, just kind of a get to know you chat and all he did was give the head nod. Yep, I think this guy will work out.

Darren Bishop:                  The beauty of this for the major companies, the larger employer, it's kind of an opportunity to try before you buy. They can get somebody like me in the door, work with them for a while, and if they think they like them, then there's an opportunity there to hire. If it's not a good fit, they haven't really invested anything in you as an employee. They can quickly turn off the contract and say we're through with this person. We don't have a need any more. And move on.

Curt Sheldon:                    Did you literally go from kind of the classic that we talk about in the military on Friday you're in the desk, in a uniform, and then Monday you're in the same desk in a suit? Did you literally on Friday you were working for the third party contractor and on Monday you were doing the same job but now you're a USAA employee? Or something along that line? Or was there a separate screening and hiring process for the USAA position?

Darren Bishop:                  Well both really. In my case, I did step into the role doing the exact same thing I was doing as a contractor. It doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes you might get hired into a different part of the organization doing something slightly different, but in my case yeah they basically just hired me from a contractor role into a full time employee role doing the exact same job. But I still did have to kind of go through the bureaucratic HR wickets just like anybody else would be. There wasn't really in an interview. I was working for the same boss. He knew my skills and he didn't need to interview me necessarily. But I still had to go through the salary and negotiations with the HR department and fill out all the paperwork and all that kind of stuff, go through the new employee orientation course about a week just like any other new employee. There just wasn't really much of an interview process beforehand since my boss already knew my skills.

Curt Sheldon:                    That's interesting because I would assume, and you may or may not know, I would assume going in directly into USAA I would expect there's a relatively extensive interview process. It sounds like there were several calls with the contractor, but perhaps, and again I'm speculating, but perhaps not quite as extensive as if you were going directly into USAA. Is that a fair assessment or do you think it turns out to be about the same?

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah I mean I think it was a pretty extensive interview process with the contractor. Although again it was more about the very specific role that they needed. Yeah that's kind of where that screening had taken place was with that interim step with the contractor.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay now you mentioned salary negotiations. I'm not going to ask you any specifics obviously, but were there much for salary negotiations or was it this is the offer and how did that play out? That's I think something a lot of people, one as military people we don't have any experience with it, and two there's a lot of different opinions out there. How does that work for you?

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah you're right. There are different opinions and mine doesn't necessarily line up with a lot of what I've heard, and that is you should know your worth and know your number and be willing to negotiate your number up front and all that kind of stuff. I mean I've heard all those opinions, and those are fine, but when I did get the phone call from that contracting company to begin with and realized that it looked like I was going to get the opportunity, I honestly couldn't care less about the salary and I almost as much as said that to the hiring manager that I was talking to. To his credit, he said yep I understand. I appreciate you being transparent about that. He said we'll start you out at a fair salary and we'll put you basically at the bottom of the pay band for what we're hiring you for because they kind of took a chance on me. Nobody was quite sure exactly what skills would fit for this job and whether I was a good fit or not. I think both the employer and myself were aware that they were kind of taking a leap of faith on me and so I made no salary demands whatsoever. They gave me what I thought was a fair offer and I didn't bat an eye at it.

Curt Sheldon:                    That was with the contract. How about with USAA?

Darren Bishop:                  It was almost the opposite approach because I had been working in the building there for quite some time doing the job. They knew my skills and my boss wanted me and he basically told HR hey hire this guy, give him whatever he wants. I'm sure it didn't quite go quite like that but they made a generous offer, more at the top of the pay band, and said hey we're offering you everything we can offer you. I said can you give me just a little bit more? They said sorry, no we can't. We're giving you everything we can for the job description and the level that we're hiring you at, and so that was that. Again I thought it was a very fair offer and was very happy with it, so there really wasn't any negotiation.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. Again, as I mentioned this is episode 13. Sample size is pretty small. I defer to the experts in transition but it seems like my more often than not the people that I talk to the offer is kind of the offer, but again that's a sample size of 13 and at least one or two of those are self-employed and we know what the salary offer is for that. It's interesting to hear. Since we're talking salary, let's bring up money. You kind of went through two, maybe three distinct phases of your transition in your career. Any money lessons learned that you think people might want to know about out there?

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah I think for me, my wife and I have always been fairly frugal and we've always been pretty careful to live within our means and we don't like debt. I mean I haven't made a car payment in I don't know, 20, 25 years. But I think that's important. It made us feel very secure going into retirement that we weren't going to starve because even before I had the illness, there were still a lot of lack of clarity about exactly what I was qualified to do or what I could find to do. We knew we wanted to come back to San Antonio specifically, so that kind of limits your options in a lot of ways. You're just not sure how long it's going to take you to make that transition, but knowing that we'd already done the math and we had the advantage also of already owning a house back here that we were coming to, so we knew what our mortgage payment would be. We'd already done the math and knew we could live on my retirement income alone fairly easily and wouldn't have to sweat it. I think that was a huge advantage knowing that you don't have to worry about getting a job in a month or six months or whatever. I would advise people just prepare financially for retirement and make sure you've got your budget figured out as closely as you can. That's one thing.

Darren Bishop:                  Then the second thing I think is just realizing now that I'm on the other end of it and I've got the job and I'm happy with my salary and I start looking at my income every month, sometimes I feel like I've hit the lottery because when you add that 06 retirement pay and disability pay if you've got any, and then you add it to a full time salary at a good company, and you go wow I've never dreamed I would make this amount of money. When you back up five years ago, man, think about what the opportunity cost would have been if I had not retired, if I had decided I was secure and be in an 06. I didn't want to transition yet. Didn't want to retire and I just wanted to take another staff job and then another staff job and stay in as long as possible. I look back and go man that would have cost me a lot of money when you really do the math. I would say think about that also if you're not quite sure and you're ready to make that transition yet, chances are there would be a big financial opportunity cost if you stay in longer just because you're not secure about what you might do on the outside.

Curt Sheldon:                    That's a good point. I tend to believe if it's purely a financial decision once you hit your time in grade, like you said the opportunity of cost of staying in is not insignificant. If you still love what you're doing and you want to keep doing that, that's one thing, but if you're doing it for the money or because of the money, yeah I think that's a good point. You're the first one that's brought that up. It is definitely ... There is an opportunity cost of staying in. Again, you've done a couple things. You've been self-employed and a business owner. Trust me, I know there's ups and downs with doing that, but any particular low points during the transition?

Darren Bishop:                  Well I wouldn't really call it a specific low point, but I think the whole process is longer and more stressful than what I thought it would be. I think I've seen that in other people too, other people I've been around or talked to, I think ... It depends. Everybody's story is unique. I think maybe if you're going from one deep expertise in the military to that same deep expertise in the civilian sector, say if you're a civil engineer in the military and that's all you've ever done and you want to do that same thing on the outside, then the transition may be very simple. It may be very quick. But in a case like mine and other people who are generalists like me, it can take a while to kind of figure out what it is you really are qualified for, and to be able to articulate that and understand in civilian terms how to sell yourself for that particular type of role, that took a lot longer. It's a tougher nut to crack than I expected it to be. Other people experience that same thing. It can be a longer, more stressful process than what I think most people expect.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. Thanks for that. I always like to give my guests the chance to pontificate about anything they would like to pontificate. So no question, open mic, what else would you like to bring up?

Darren Bishop:                  Well you know that's always dangerous to give an 06 an open mic because you may be here a while, a retired 06, but I already covered one of the things that I would always pontificate about, and that is just the financial aspect of being prepared. I just think it's very important to kind of know your budget, know your limitations, and know what you're comfortable with in the financial realm and to prepare yourself for what's coming. That's one thing I always hit whenever people ask me about my advice and things like this. Another thing is just we've covered it as well, and you know that anybody that sits through an ETAP presentation or anything like that, a transition course, you're going to hear networking, networking, networking, but as you heard in my story, that was the key to getting my job and I've seen that happen many other times. The longer I've been out of the military and transitioned, the more opportunities I see around me just due to that network. You just can't over emphasize that when it comes to finding your next opportunity.

Darren Bishop:                  Another thing that I learned is that leadership is not a job title. You see that on people's resume all the time, senior leaders transitioning, and it's all about leadership. Led a 5,000-person organization. Led a budget this big. That all sounds impressive and it kind of is, but when it comes to the civilian sector, most of those people they want to know do you have the understanding and the expertise of our industry and of this particular job and can you get this job done? They're not probably going to ask you to go out and lead 3,000 people on your first day. That's not that meaningful to them I think unless you're really hiring you're looking for a C-suite job, and that's a whole different story.

Darren Bishop:                  I think those are kind of the big things. Just think about that. Be able to articulate what it is you can bring to the table, and that's probably not going to be leading their organization on day one. It's probably going to be kind of demonstrating to them that you can learn quickly and that you can bring a lot of soft skills to the table.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. Thanks for that. How can folks get in touch with you? I'm pretty sure we're connected on LinkedIn. Is that an option? Or any other ways for them to get in touch with you?

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah I'm on LinkedIn. That's an easy way. I can give you my email address here as well, although it's not very easy to remember. It's D-K-B, delta kilo bravo, 8683 at gmail.com. Anybody can contact me there. We can hook up with a phone call or whatever, or like I say LinkedIn is always there as well.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. We'll put that email address written down in the show notes so people can see it. I always like to wrap up with one last question. Like we said, you retired in six years ago in 2013?

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah. 2013. Right.

Curt Sheldon:                    We're going back to 2013, maybe late 2012, you're thinking about retirement. What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Darren Bishop:                  That's a pretty easy one for me. Because I was a generalist as I've mentioned several times, I didn't know what to call myself. I was a project manager. If I had known that then, I could have gotten a big head start on making a more concise resume and selling myself if you will as a project manager, a program manager. I would have gotten my PMP designation, your project management professional, designation and so that you would have some certification and some background to show in that. I think that would have made a big difference once I decided to look for a job in a different industry. I could have been more prepared for that. I think that's probably the biggest thing I would do different. I would have sought that. I considered seeking that designation, and I would have made the effort to actually follow through and do that and understand that that's how I could articulate my value because the fact that I didn't have a deep career field to fall back on.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. Thanks. I get further and further removed from active duty benefits, but I think there are ways you can get a PMP on active duty and maybe get it funded, so at least check. That's good advice and it's certainly something that people should check into. With that Darren, we'll go ahead and wrap things up. I want to thank you for taking the time today. I know everyone's life is busy, and I appreciate you taking the time to share some thoughts with our listeners. With that, I hope you have a good weekend.

Darren Bishop:                  Yeah thanks Curt. I appreciate the opportunity and I hope this helps some of your listeners. I appreciate you providing this forum. I think it's very helpful. I listen to all these interviews that you've done with other folks because I really enjoy them even though I'm on the other side of that transition, so thanks for the service you're providing.

Curt Sheldon:                    You're welcome. Have a great day.

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