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Making It With a Defense "Prime" Thumbnail

Making It With a Defense "Prime"



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Speaker 1:                           Welcome to The Eagles 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.

Speaker 1:                           Now, here is your host, Curt Sheldon.

Curt Sheldon:                    Welcome to Episode Six of The Eagles Transition Podcast. Today I'll be talking with Mark Creasey. Mark is a retired Naval aviator who retired about three years ago. Mark works for a major defense contractor, which I'm sure you've heard of. He has been with them since he retired. He has some interesting insight into the informal hiring process he went through before he even applied for his current position. Make sure you pay attention to that. Also, listen for what he has to say about compensation negotiations.

Curt Sheldon:                    But before I talk with Mark, 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 you 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.

Curt Sheldon:                    Mark, welcome to the show.

Mark Creasey:                   Thanks for having me, Curt.

Curt Sheldon:                    I'm happy to have you today because today The Eagles Podcast becomes purple. You are the first guest I've had or have that is not in the Air Force or comes from the Air Force, so I'm happy to have a Naval officer with us here today. But before we talk about your Naval career, I want you to tell us real quickly what you're doing now.

Mark Creasey:                   So Curt, thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to bring a different perspective I think to your podcast and help folks out. I'm currently the Senior Manager for Government Affairs for Lockheed Martin. And I primarily focus on Naval and Coast Guard aviation.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, so working with Lockheed and government liaison. And based on the sea services side, which makes a lot of sense. What was your last position on active duty?

Mark Creasey:                   So I retired out of Colorado Springs about three years. I was the Deputy Chief of Staff at NORAD and NORTHCOM. And right before that job, I was the Director of the Commanders Initiatives Group for a Four Star Commander out at NORTHCOM.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. And prior to that, if you can, give us a summary of your military career.

Mark Creasey:                   Sure. I was a P-3 pilot in the Navy. So I spent the majority of my flying career doing that, deploying around the world. So several P-3 tours. Lot of instructor time. I did a tour in Norfolk on the USS George Washington as a catapult and arresting gear officer. Which is a fantastic job. I still miss it. I spent some time on the Joint Staff, which is where I met you, working government liaison with some of our three-letter agency partners. And I did a year at ICAF which, for the folks out there that might get the chance to go to the Eisenhower School, do it. It's a fantastic year. And spent a year doing operational major command out in Bahrain as Commander Task Force 57 working for NAVCENT and finished up my time at NORTHCOM.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay so very varied and interesting career. So, did you land in, I think from what I remember from our last couple discussions, you started with Lockheed Martin after you retired. Are you in the same position you started with? Or am I wrong? Did you start with somebody else? So, basically what has your flow been after you retired?

Mark Creasey:                   I'm still in that first post-retirement job that I got with Lockheed Martin. But I have to say, and we might talk about this more later, this was not my original intent with what I wanted to do with retirement. Everything has worked out fantastically. But this is not what I originally wanted to do. When I was getting ready to retire, we were out in Colorado Springs, and my wife and I talked about it, and we decided we didn't want to go back to D.C. we didn't want to be in the defense industry, and I was never going to sit in traffic on I-395 again. So, I'm doing all three of those right now, but it's worked out very well. And I honestly, I wouldn't change it for the world. So, part of my message today for folks out there is be flexible. The more criteria you set for yourself with your transition, the harder it is to actually find that "perfect job."

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, now that actually brings up something that I had thought about before we met today, and that, often I participate in employer panels at some ETAPS, and one of the questions or concerns that comes up often is the concept of networking into a job in northern Virginia when you live in Colorado Springs, et cetera. How did you end up in northern Virginia from Colorado Springs, especially if that wasn't what you were targeting?

Mark Creasey:                   So, I think people have a lot of different networks that they place. So, I have a network of I'll call them P3 guys. I have a network of folks that I work with on the joint staff. I have my Colorado Springs network. Those all form a person's entire network. I got a phone call one night from somebody, a peer of mine, in my what I call my P3 network, and he said that one of our mutual friends who worked at Lockheed Martin, was "looking for a guy." And this was my first job lead, and I knew that something like Lockheed Martin, one of the top primes, to take that seriously. I think some folks think, oh in my first ten or so leads or interviews, one will pop up. I knew from the get-go that this one had potential to be a really nice potential job.

Mark Creasey:                   So, I jumped in, contacted the guy, flew from Colorado Springs to D.C., had lunch with him. Turned out he was looking for his replacement, not just somebody to work for him, which in my mind made the deal even sweeter. So, we did a couple of informal interviews, if you will. Basically meeting the whole crowd. That was not part of the formal HR process. I think that was just for me, for them to get to know me a little. The folks that I interviewed with were retired Navy, retired Air Force who I had known of, and they had known me a little, but not terribly closely. So, I think at that first day of our meeting in D.C. was just for them to kind of do a quick check and say, "Hey, is this somebody I can work with for the next couple of years?"

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay yeah, I find that interesting. I kind of talked to MOAA for a while about potentially going there, and the interviewing, like you said, this was prior to the HR and I changed my mind prior to the HR side of it. But the interviews were pretty much, "Let's meet for lunch." And they didn't necessarily say it was an interview, but it was a, "Hey let's just get together and talk for lunch."

Mark Creasey:                   Right.

Curt Sheldon:                    And I think in a lot of cases that's the first screening that is done.

Mark Creasey:                   Yes.

Curt Sheldon:                    Now with that said, there is an official process. So, at Lockheed once there was kind of a, "Hey, why don't you go ahead and put in for this," or something like that, I assume you were told, how did that process work?

Mark Creasey:                   Right. So, every job at Lockheed Martin is posted on the web page. And I was informed by, I had been watching it of course, but the guy that I ended up relieving, the same person we're talking about, he told me, he said, "Hey, the job's going to be open on the website for five days. Make sure you get your information in." And in that case, that was a resume and a cover sheet. And I still track a lot of the transition of articles on LinkedIn and discussions, and I tell you people talk about, "Do I need a cover sheet or not?" I think you do. So, there are differing opinions out there, but the cover sheet is the way for the potential employer to get to know you. The resumes are great, but to be honest, they all look pretty much about the same. The cover sheet is the chance for you to show them your personality. And that gets you to the interview.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah, I've heard at least one person say, and it's not necessarily at the level that we're talking about, but I've heard at least one person say they ask for a cover letter, and that's their first screen, because if there isn't a cover letter, you can't pay attention to instructions. So, I've seen that again, maybe not at our level, but as my sons have gone through the job processes, there's just following instructions can separate you from the field occasionally.

Mark Creasey:                   Most definitely. And doing a cover letter shows that, and you have to take time to do that. You have to take time to put that together and make sure it's correct and send it to them. It's easy to shotgun a resume. Anybody can do that. And if you just send a resume, they don't know if you're shotgunning or not. So, take the time, it'll take you 15 minutes and do the cover letter.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, so cover letter went in. Resume went into the system.

Mark Creasey:                   Yeah.

Curt Sheldon:                    The phone rang. What happened next?

Mark Creasey:                   So, I got the phone call from HR to set up travel to D.C., and that was really great. Lockheed Martin does a fantastic job with potential job interviewees, so I came into Lockheed, and it was a little bit more formal than the previous time. I was meeting with the same people that I had talked to before, but they were loaded up with HR questions if you will. So, it wasn't just get to know you. There were some questions I had to answer that are the tell me about a time questions. Or tell me about your leadership style. Tell me how you solved problems in your previous job. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses. Those kinds of things.

Mark Creasey:                   And what I found out, I did three of those separately, and they were about an hour a piece, and each time the interviewer got more senior of course. But I would say that that's a tough job for an interviewer as well when they dot really know you. So, make it easy on them. There's going to be some dead time in the interview, and you want this to be a conversation. You want them to get to know you, because you may be working with them for a long time. Have a lot of questions ready, and try to personalize them if you can. If you know who the folks are that you're going to be interviewing with, read their bios. Find out where they've been, where you might have shared a common duty station, or you might have a common interest. And always, always have a question ready for that awkward pause in the conversation.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, so that was a little bit lead-up to my next question. You mentioned, I was going to ask how you prepared for the interviews, and one of them obviously was to know the person that you're going to interview with. I assume that involved probably LinkedIn, which by the way you can search anonymously and you don't have to tip your hand that you've been stalking the person that you're about to interview with. And maybe Facebook. And how else did you prep for your interviews?

Mark Creasey:                   So, what I did was I made sure I could back up every single thing that was on my resume with detail. What I've seen before is some folks will throw numbers on there and try and quantify their impacts from a certain tour in the military. But they can't tell you anything about how they "saved" let's say two million dollars, or reduced training time by 25%, the data things that we put on military fitness reports. No what you're talking about and be able to have a line or two of detail in case you get queried about anything that's in your resume. That's all they have before they see you is your resume and your cover letter. So, make sure you can speak to those in detail. So, I spent a lot of time on that. I spent a lot of time trying to answer the question of why Lockheed Martin, in my case.

Mark Creasey:                   So, do a lot of diligence on the company. Learn what their value are. Learn what the big business areas are in the company. But honestly, before I started I didn't know the difference between an F35 A, B, or C. I had to learn. Learn how big the company is, who the leadership is. That kind of stuff.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, so were those three interviews all the same day, or over a few days, or did you have to come back to D.C. a couple of times?

Mark Creasey:                   They were back-to-back. So, from walking in the door to walking out was about five hours.

Curt Sheldon:                    I'd think you were a little tired at the end of that.

Mark Creasey:                   Little bit. Yeah, but it was a good day.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah, I'll bet. Okay, so go through the three interviews. Fly back to Colorado Springs. What happens next and what was kind of the timeframe?

Mark Creasey:                   So, about four business days later I got a call from the hiring manager who turned out to be my boss, he's still my boss, who said that he wants to bring me on board and congratulations. And that was pretty much it for the phone call. He said to expect a call from HR. So, the next business day I got a call from a gal from HR, and basically what she told me was that, "Hey, we'd like to come with our best offer up front." And again, when you're in the military, you don't, you never negotiated for a salary. You may have negotiated for other things as part of your job, but you don't negotiate with your compensation. So, you're not really sure what levers you can pull. And one thing she said to me was, "But we do this a lot. We like to come forward with our best offer up front." And she laid down on offer. And the offer was not a number, per se, but the offer was your salary and a signing bonus.

Mark Creasey:                   So, and again, in my mind I'm thinking, "Hey, there are some other levers I can pull here." So, I went back and said, "Hey, well what about time off? Can I negotiate some extra time off?" And in the company's case, they don't negotiate that at all. So, it's a fixed amount of time based on years of service. One thing I was able to negotiate some was a bit of a relocation package. Because my moving back to, from Colorado to D.C., I had to move into temp housing for about four or five months, so, and the government paid for that move. So, moving from that temp housing into my own house, I had to cover that. So, I negotiated a small amount with Lockheed Martin to cover that part of the move. But yeah, I would say that, I did go back and say, "Well, what about a little bit more salary?" And she said, "It's not really how it works here."

Mark Creasey:                   So, I was happy. What I had done beforehand was in my mind, I had a couple of ranges of what's above my expectation, what meets my expectation, and what's below expectation? And they came in right in the middle of expectation to slightly above. So, I was fine with that.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah, your episode six on my database is pretty anecdotal. And not everyone has gone to large companies, but I suspect there might be a little less salary negotiation involved in what we're kind of led to believe in ETAPS. But again, my sample size is pretty small, but this is not the first time that I've heard that the offer is kind of the offer.

Mark Creasey:                   I agree Curt, and I tell you what. I think it's a supply and demand issue, which I think we're going to talk about a bit more later, but one thing I don't think folks appreciate when they're in the military and they're transitioning is that supply is usually going to far exceed demand for a transitioning Colonel or Captain. That's just how it is. There may be certain deviations based on time of year, but for the most part, there's always more folks looking for a job than there are available jobs. And one thing I didn't appreciate when I was still in uniform is that a transitioning  O-6 has a lot going for him or her. But we're not as special as we think we are. There are a lot of us out there, and we all kind of look alike. So, unless you bring some very, very unique skills or experiences to the table, for the most part, a transitioning 0-6 looks like the one next to him or her.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah, I think that's probably true. And again, you're not the first one that's said that. So, good point there. So, the offer comes in. Obviously you said yes. You put on your best suit. You go to your first day of work. One of the things we’re pretty good at in the military is taking somebody coming in off the plane or wherever, and spinning them up pretty quickly to get ready to go to work. How was the onboarding process for you?

Mark Creasey:                   So, I was a little surprised. I thought there would be more onboarding for somebody who's coming into the business world, if you will, cold. But there wasn't much. There was a, I had half of a day of administrative details that we went over at corporate, and then I was pretty much on my own. And what was unique as well was that I had a week of turnover with the previously in my job, with the incumbent. That is not the norm. Normally what you'll find is that somebody will leave a job either voluntarily or involuntarily, there's going to be a gap of one, two, three or more months. And when that new person shows up, basically they get the last person's binders and they get to figure out on their own. I had a week of face-to-face turnover, which allowed us to go out, meet a bunch of customers in the Navy, Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, and also get to meet some of the key players within Lockheed Martin. So, that was a real benefit to me, but that is not the norm.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah, again, that seems to be in my small sample size, a trend is that civilian, well, that's what we do in the military. Every three years, people are cycling, or every year a third is rotating out. And that's not the way it is in the civilian world, so they don't have the same processes and procedures in place that we do. And again, what you're saying is pretty similar to what I've heard from some of the others. So, one of the things, when I listen at ETAPS after I speak, or we participate. We hear about networking, networking, networking, and obviously your network was important for you ending up in the position that you're in. But, if you could talk to me a little bit more about how you engaged in your network when it was time to hang up your uniform. How did you let them know? How did that work for you?

Mark Creasey:                   Sure. So, what I did was I started working on my LinkedIn profile, and my resume pretty early. And I started kind of culling best practices, if you will, from different folks, from different things I saw online, and started building that to the point where I was comfortable socializing that within my network for feedback. But not necessarily to let folks know I was on the street, or going to be on the street soon and available, but mainly to get feedback. But it does serve that secondary purpose of letting folks know, "Hey, Mark Creasey's going to be available in four months." And those folks can keep an ear to the ground on what's going to be available. And those friends in your network can be very effective as far as knowing what's coming down the line. Because to be honest, folks who announce their intention to retire within the company and say, "Hey, I'm retiring next summer," or, "I'm only here two more years," that kind of thing, people in your network know about that.

Mark Creasey:                   And again, back to supply and demand. Supply far exceeds demand. You want to know when those jobs are coming open. So, again, I started with my network with the resume, sending it out to about eight to ten trusted agents, and asking for feedback. Some folks said, "Hell, this looks great. No problem. You're going to do great." The folks that were really, really helpful were the ones that took a hard turn on the resume and said, "Hey, you need to be doing this differently. Here's what to focus on. Here's what to say. Don't do this. Do this," kind of stuff. And that was very helpful.

Mark Creasey:                   So, what that does is A, it gets you a better resume. B, it lets the folks in your network know to kind of keep an ear to the ground and let you know what's coming up.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, so I know a lot of guys struggle with, "I don't want to be needy," I guess might be one way to say it. I don't want to bug people and ask for help. It sounds kind of sleazy. Was that an issue for you? Or if it was, how did you get over it? Or was it just not an issue?

Mark Creasey:                   Curt, it wasn't an issue. Again, to me networks are about trust, and folks find their jobs within their networks. Rarely do you get a job from submitting your name in the blind to a website, or something like that. You find it within your network. And it's because you've worked with these folks for so long, and they trust you, you trust them. You're a low-risk proposition to them if you have years of trusting relationships behind you. So, I didn't find that it was a problem at all. We all go through this, and I found that in my three years since retirement, I've really enjoyed being able to help folks out and kind of pay it forward myself.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah, when people ask me about that and I don't claim to be an expert on transition, but the one thing I always say is, "When you told somebody get in touch with me, if you need any help. Did you mean it?" And everybody always says yes. And well then, that person that you're about to reach to that said, "Get in touch with me if you ever need any help," probably meant it too.

Mark Creasey:                   Right.

Curt Sheldon:                    So, that might be a way to help get past that.

Mark Creasey:                   Yeah.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, so as I always say, I'm a money guy. And there are some money issues with transition. Without getting into any details obviously, anything that surprised you, either pleasantly or otherwise or that you wish you had known on the money side of the business before you made this step out?

Mark Creasey:                   Sure. I would say in general, for folks to be flexible with how you think your initial retirement is going to play out. Some folks are really hardcore and say, "I want to go to work right away." Or, "I'm taking 60 days and then I'll worry about getting a job." Just that's fine, but again, if you choose to either side of that equation, you may be limiting your options in the long run. And the long run is what's important. So, I cashed in 60 days of leave when I got out, and that slug of money was very helpful. Especially when you're moving across country, let's say you're moving back into your house which you had been renting out, and you need to repaint it and do the floors, and that kind of stuff, and do some minor repairs. Have a few thousand in your back pocket doesn't hurt while you're going through that initial transition.

Mark Creasey:                   I'd also say too that you don't want to be the guy that is late to getting your medical claims done. So, 12 to 18 months, probably closer to 18 months out. When you know you're going to retire, make sure you start getting your medical records in order. Because as a former pilot, you spent 20-something years making yourself look perfect to the flight surgeon every 12 months, and you really don't do a good job of documenting any issues that you have that might be service related. So, 12 to 18 months out. Not one month out. You don't dump this on the flight surgeon right as you're going out the door. Note: Start to be honest with the medical folks. Get things documented.

Mark Creasey:                   Start to work with a good Veterans Service Organization. In my case, it was Disabled American Veterans in Colorado Springs. They were absolutely fantastic. So, when they ask me for money, I just throw up a check now. Because that's, they're more than done their due diligence for me. And so I'm a huge fan of them. But again, I think that that also is location dependent as well as far as the strength of the DSOs in certain areas. So, that's the folks that live in that area.

Mark Creasey:                   I'd also say hat if you're going to get long-term care insurance, start working that before you go down the potential VA disability road. Because that can really throw a wrench in the rates that you'll get for long-term care insurance. As well as, if you're going to be the primary breadwinner in your house, you might need to consider a very high dollar term insurance product until you're done working, until your working years are over. So, I did both of those when I was out in Colorado Springs before I started working on the medical process. And I think that was a smart move.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah. And on that transition in the checklist that we offer in this podcast, the first thing is, build up a war chest. Your transition is a whole lot easier if you've got six to 12 months of living expenses. And again, you don't need to fund your entire, just the difference between your retirement and what you need to have to survive. If you've to six to 12 months worth of that, that makes the job hunt a whole lot less stressful. And you're going to need that afterwards anyways, because as I often tell people, there is no job security in the civilian sector. I have friends that have been very surprised by what companies do.

Mark Creasey:                   Sure.

Curt Sheldon:                    So, when I was on active duty, I played real loose with the emergency fund because I wasn't going to get laid off and the paycheck was going to come every month. That's not always the case on the civilian side. So, a war chest can be really valuable. So, what other, any particular resources that you found useful? You mentioned that you used LinkedIn, got your profile up-to-date on that. And you kind of looked for some best practices. But anything that really kind of stuck out for you?

Mark Creasey:                   So, I did the one-day seminar with MOAA. I thought that was really helpful. And MOAA's a really great organization. And the transition articles, what they put out online and via email are fantastic. So, I would make a recommendation to folks that, I don't know what the current price is for being a life member of MOAA, but trust me, it's worth it. While you can, I think it's like $550 or something like that. Again, it's a lot of money, but trust me, that money is very much worth it over the long-run. So, if you can, before transition or just after, take a couple of those days of leave you're cashing in, and become a lifetime member. It's well worth it.

Curt Sheldon:                    Yeah, I have been actually, a lifetime member since it was TROA, The Retired Officers Association. And it has more than paid for itself. And in fact, the only, when I was transitioning I wasn't 100% sure I was going to start the business right after I retired. The only person that contacted me was via an online resume was via the MOAA job bank. So, I'm a big fan of MOAA. I think they do a lot of good work. So, I would concur with that entirely.

Mark Creasey:                   Right.

Curt Sheldon:                    Anything that really surprised you in the whole process?

Mark Creasey:                   Well, this one will hit close to home with you, because I know you talked about it a lot on some of the info you provide but, and folks will tell you this, but it's hard to understand until it happens to you, but the tax man is coming for you. And he's coming for you more than you think. So, I remember Curt, you and I sitting down in Colorado Springs before I retired, and you were asking me questions like, "What do you want to do?" And I said, "Well, I don't know." And you, instead of asking me, "How much do you want to make," you asked me, "How much do you want to pay in taxes?"

Mark Creasey:                   And when I first got to Lockheed Martin, I thought I was doing my due diligence and setting aside enough money by going from married five to married four, three, two, one, zero, zero exemptions. But it wasn't enough. And I ended up despite my best efforts, again, like you said, stroking that check for 7,000 the first year.

Mark Creasey:                   So, that was hard to get used to. Paying state tax. Most of us in the military, once you hit Florida or Texas somewhere in your career, you stop paying state tax for a long time. Well, guess what? You get to start paying that again. And when you start adding up your different sources of income, if your spouse works as well, your marginal tax rate, it's in the high 30s. So, that's something you've really got to take into account right off the bat. Don't wait. Don't wait six months to figure it out.

Mark Creasey:                   I would also say that from a job perspective, in the civilian world, it's treated a bit different. In the military you move around every two or three years. While you're there. You're the new guy initially, but by the time you leave after three years, you've been there a while, you're the old salt. A lot of times if nothing's gone wrong, you get the great fitness report and you move on.

Mark Creasey:                   Well, it's not like that in the civilian world. I'm about at the three year point with Lockheed Martin. And there's so guaranteed movement. You don't get promoted for doing a good job. You just do a good job. If you want to get promoted, you have to go do something else. And I think that holds true across the business world. So, and again, some folks like doing the same thing for 15 years. But that's going to be a new feeling for you when you get to the three year point and you're expecting to go find a new challenge. And the reality is, unless you do something, you're just going to do the same work that you've been in for the last three years.

Mark Creasey:                   So, another thing that surprised me is that while you're out in the civilian world, you're competing with a whole lot of different groups you weren't competing before. So, you're competing with young folks in their 30s, old folks in their 60s and 70s. That's very different from the folks you competed with in the military. And as your year group or your peer group keeps getting smaller, you start to know who everybody is. You have to bring it every day on the civilian side, because not only are you competing with folks inside the company, but they hire externally for jobs too. But you're essentially competing with everyone for that next job. So, that's something new, a bit surprising to me, but something you get used to.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. Now, I know how it is in the Air Force, and that's that Colonels like to pontificate. And I assume it's probably not that different in the Navy and that Captains like to pontificate. So, I'm going to kind of just give you the open chance to pontificate on anything that you would like to talk about.

Mark Creasey:                   Sure. The reality is you're going to miss being in uniform. I still miss it. Initially, just the excitement of transitioning and getting a new job was great, but then like after a few weeks or a month, I really started to kind of miss what I used to do. And the first time I took a business trip and I would type in my information in on the kiosk that says, "Are you military?" And I had to click no. And that's the first time in my life I ever had to click no. So, for a lot of us, our identity, whether we want it to be or not, is very much wrapped up in what we do, in that life of service. So, you're going to have to let go of that to a large degree. You can still keep some of it. But again, you're a civilian. And a lot of us haven't been civilians since out late teens. That's a tough concept to get used to. It mellows over time, but I don't think it fully goes away.

Mark Creasey:                   Let's see. Initially, I haven't brought this up yet, I told you that I didn't want to be in the defense industry, was one of my things that I was trying to do when I was thinking about retiring. Really think hard about that, about where your strengths are. There are some folks that want to limit themselves to a certain geographic area, and that's fine. But keep in mind that that can be limiting a well. Everything's a balance. And if you say that you want to live in Tampa or Colorado Springs or San Diego, just keep in mind that you will be part of that job market with all of those other folks that want to wake up every day and see Pike's Peak or see the ocean or something like that. That can be limiting. So just be aware of that.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay, so if it's okay with you, I'll go ahead and put a link to your LinkedIn profile in the show notes for this.

Mark Creasey:                   Yeah.

Curt Sheldon:                    This will be episode six for in the blog. Any other ways that folks can get in touch with you for advice on transition, or want to learn more about Lockheed Martin?

Mark Creasey:                   Yeah. I think LinkedIn would be great as far as just establishing that connection. And I'm more than happy once we're connected on LinkedIn to send messages, emails, phone calls. More than happy to help out that way.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. And that will be a linked to your profile will be in the show notes. So now we come down to the question that I ask everybody at the end. Go back to six to 12 months before you retired. So, you said you retired about three years ago. So, three-and-a-half, four years ago, you're starting to think about retirement and making the transition to the civilian world. What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Mark Creasey:                   Okay. I would say that you have more say in your future than you think you do initially. I think a lot of folks only focus on getting that job. And to them, transition is about getting that job. When you're transitioning your whole life, and your family is transitioning as well, too. So, it's more than just a job. It's about transitioning your whole life. So, you don't have to grasp at the first thing that comes your way. It's okay for folks to not necessarily get picked up right off the bat. I've seen folks wait months until they get a decent offer and a job in a location that they want. But the reality is, when all is said and done, our skills and our experiences as retired O-6s are valued in different ways, and everybody tends to end up okay.

Mark Creasey:                   So, I would say, as you're going through the process, be humble, but again, it's about business. Try to differentiate yourself. It's okay to brag about yourself if you can back it up. We tend not to do that in the military. But companies don't hire you because you're a "good guy" or a good gal. They're hiring you because you can help influence their bottom line. Can you develop new business for them? Can you capture business? Can you keep sold current programs? Do you have the relationships and the network they're going to allow you to do that? It's all about the bottom line. There's plenty of good guys and good gals out there, you have to have a value proposition for that company as to why if they pay you X amount of dollars in a given year, they're going to make it over in spades just by the fact that they have you on board.

Mark Creasey:                   I'll also offer up too that transition's not a one and done. A lot of folks do change companies. And you realize that even the folks at the bigger companies, they're always looking once you get there. Everybody's always looking for the next great deal. And you're also going to meet people that are, once you're past that initial transition, there is a what's next. And you're going to meet folks and work with folks who are working on that final transition. "Hey, when do I retire?" Is it age 60, 63, 65? Do I keep on working? So, you're going to tart to have those thoughts and discussions once you get past this initial transition, the transition hoops. And that's an exciting time as well.

Curt Sheldon:                    Okay Mark, well thanks so much for coming on the podcast today. We really appreciate it. A lot of good information for folks. Hopefully they'll listen and learn. And again, I really do thank you for being here today.

Mark Creasey:                   Curt, thanks for having me. Just glad I can help pay it forward a little bit.

Curt Sheldon:                    All right, take care, Mark.

Mark Creasey:                   Thanks, Curt. You too.

Speaker 1:                           It's not easy balancing the demands of active duty and searching for your second career. That's why we put together a retirement financial checklist, tailored for senior military officers. With it, you'll organize your financial affairs and avoid mistakes when you retire. And the best part is, it's free. You can get it at www.clsheldon.com/eagles.

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