This book challenges veterans to change their mind-set and understand just how different the 'wilderness' of civilian employment is from military experience. Down Range provides an appreciation for what's important to a business, helping you to become a valuable asset throughout your career.
Transition Your Mindset: It's a Brand New Mission
Who are the most influential people in your particular military community? Is it the chief of staff of your respective service or the leader of your military branch or community? Perhaps you closely follow the activities, blogs, broadcasts, or other messages of the senior enlisted member of your service, such as the sergeant major of the army or marine corps. These are individuals who you would recognize instantly if you were to meet them, but would you recognize a similar leader in the business world? Be honest with yourself. Can you name a single chief executive officer (CEO) from any one of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies?
If Jack Welch and Steve Jobs are the only names that come to mind, you need to develop a little more knowledge of current business topics. (Jack Welch is retired and Steve Jobs, sadly, passed away in 2011.) If neither of these names is familiar to you, and you can't at least recall what companies they led, then put this book down now, go to the Internet, and do a simple search to find out who, exactly, they are. You lack the most basic knowledge of business history. We could tell you who those two people are in this paragraph, but then we would be failing to communicate something far more important, which is that you must be committed to learning about this new world you are about to enter. You must be willing to research information related to every potential employer so that you are able to both answer and ask interview questions in an intelligent way that convinces a potential employer that you are a good fit for their company.
Take a look at the picture below ( Figure 1.1 ). Do you recognize this person? Do you know the company that he is associated with?
Figure 1.1 Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
If you do not recognize this person, know his name, or have any idea what company he leads, you are not the exception. In our veteran transition seminars less than 5 percent recognize this person, and, of those, we could count on one hand the number of individuals who could tell us this person's name.
His name is Jeff Bezos. If you are still thinking, "So what if I've never heard of him?" you're not alone. But his face has been on the cover of countless magazines since the last millennium! He was Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1999 and Forbes magazine's Business Person of the Year for 2012. He has been in the global spotlight for well over a decade.
Still not sure what company he runs? Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com , the world's largest online retailer.
We chose Mr. Bezos as an introductory brain teaser for a number of reasons. He's one of the most influential and famous business leaders in the United States today. We also chose him because his company, Amazon, is one of the most disruptive influences in the retail market today. Great companies that are as different from each other as Barnes and Noble Booksellers and the consumer electronics giant Best Buy are struggling mightily with the massive negative impact that Amazon has had upon their businesses. If your career takes you into the retail industry, you may find yourself struggling against the powerful changes wrought by Mr. Bezos's Amazon. If you are a consumer - and we all are - then you probably already recognize that Amazon can often provide a cheaper product and deliver it directly to your door.
There is one more important fact about Mr. Bezos and his company that we must point out. Amazon is one of the top employers of veterans. In 2011, 25 percent of Amazon's new hires at its fulfillment centers were veterans. That led G.I. Jobs magazine to rank Amazon at the top of its list of military-friendly employers. Amazon recognizes the outstanding skill sets that military veterans bring, particularly in i