Beyond the Uniform: What Military Veterans do in their Civilian Career

I was recently at birthday party that had in attendance several (albeit younger and still on active duty) fellow Naval Academy graduates. There I heard a refrain I had long since forgotten: what am I going to do when I get out? It struck me as a reminder of how little visibility active duty military officers have on what career possibilities await them. When I was serving onboard nuclear submarines, I faced a similar challenge. The veil separating me from civilian possibilities was intimidating. When I decided to resign my commission, my thought process was as simple as:

  1. I like managing people
  2. I imagine that if I want to manage people in the civilian sector it will have something to do with business
  3. Therefore, I’ll go to business school

At Stanford, I started to realize just how little I knew about my career possibilities. Veterans are exceptionally well qualified for a broad and diverse set of civilian career options. However, it pains me to see many veterans make a major career decision while not having access to information that might better inform their decision. This includes members of the Armed Forces who:

  • Make a hasty decision to leave the military, only to realize the depth of satisfaction and camaraderie they enjoyed while on active duty and miss as a civilian
  • Remain on active duty out of fear of the unknown
  • Depart from the military and settle in a career not well aligned with their personal interests due to a lack of knowledge of more suitable (though less known) career options

I believe that – while all veterans share a wealth of common experiences and values – we each have different desires, personal goals, and priorities. So, sadly, there is not one universal answer to the complex question of what to do with ones life and career. However, I also believe (as Master Chief Granito was fond of saying at each all-hands meeting on the USS Alaska) that “knowledge is power.” As a result, my intention is to delve into data, insight, and information that I wish I had known at the time of my separation from the military. It is my hope that this knowledge, I can in some way give back to a community that has given me so much.

If this topic resonates with you, I ask that you share this with anyone you believe would benefit from this knowledge. In the following weeks, I’ll be posting on topics including:

  • What Industries are most popular for veterans
  • What Functional Roles are most common for veterans
  • What size companies are most likely to employee veterans
  • What geographic locations are most typical for veterans post separation
  • How time in service affects each of these factors
  • How one’s branch of service affects each of these factors

To be updated as I release more information, you can follow me on LinkedIn, or request updates at Additionally, if you have ideas on what additional information would be valuable to the men and women who serve in our country’s military, please contact me here.