Episode 305 Marty Strong Navigating the Transition Transcript

This transcript is from episode 305 with guest Marty Strong.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Marty Strong. Marty is a retired Navy SEAL officer and combat veteran who successfully made the transi transition from military to civilian life. And he’s here today to talk about that trans transition and what it takes to succeed in life after the military.

So welcome to the show, Marty. I’m glad to have you here.

Marty Strong: Hi Scott. Thanks for having me. Hi.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. Um, for the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with you and your, your background, uh, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Marty Strong: Sure. So I started in the, uh, [00:01:00] square states, um, specifically Nebraska.

And, uh, escape velocity for me was to join the Navy at the age of 17 to, uh, go out and see the world as they say, and. So at 17 I joined the Navy, became a, um, radar and air traffic controller by education. Went through a 17 week course. At the end of that, instead of getting orders to a ship, which I was expecting, I got orders to underwater demolition SEAL training in California.

So once I got there, they talked me into, uh, volunteering and uh, I ended up doing 20 years in the SEAL teams. After that, I managed money for United Bank of Switzerland and then got into, um, Government contracting is in a, is a business development executive. I’m an author and some other things. So that, that’s kind of it in a nutshell.

Scott DeLuzio: So it kinda interesting, and I, I wasn’t in the Navy, so I don’t know exactly how, how that works as far as getting into the, the SEAL teams. I know obviously you go through the, you know, buds and [00:02:00] you go through that type of training. Um, but, uh, from what I understand, and, and obviously based on what you’re saying, this, my understanding is not a hundred percent correct here, but, um, my understanding it’s, it’s, um, you know, Rather, um, you know, intensive process even just to get to Bud s But you’re saying that they kind of just sent you off to that, that training and you kind of fell into that, it seems like almost right?


Marty Strong: so it was a while ago and, and back in those days it wasn’t sophisticated. There were, when I showed up at SEAL Team too, there was 350 seals total, and that was about 3,500. Uh, we didn’t have any admin support people, so, and the Navy, you know, wasn’t concerned about the SEAL community. So it’s very easy, I think, in, uh, in hindsight to see that they could have made a mistake.

I took a test in bootcamp that I thought was a swim and kind of PT test, but I thought it was for a sports event. We were doing that that weekend and uh, they got my name and social security number and that I figured that out years later when I went [00:03:00] back as an instructor. And found my records. I kind of patched it all together, but yeah.

Um, it was a mistake.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s, it’s so interesting how all that, that works out and, um, you know, it, it works out. And in this case it worked out for the best, right? You, you, you ended up having a 20 year career. You, you know, you don’t have a 20 year career doing something that you absolutely are miserable and absolutely hate doing.

Uh, you know, that doesn’t work out always that, that way. But, um, you know, it seems like you got into something that you, uh, were, were good at, uh, enjoy doing at least, and, uh, you know, had some fun along the way. I’m imagining right.

Marty Strong: I, I believe so. I taught a class a long time ago in a nonprofit for, um, single mothers that were trying to.

Learned how to get jobs and all those things. And, and my class was called Non-Linear Success. And it was essentially, I, I write books on strategy and I was having, you know, those days I was confessing that I, everything I thought I was gonna do, [00:04:00] I ended up doing something completely different, but it worked out so.

In this case, the seal, the seal teams is one of those examples.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And, and it’s always interesting to hear people’s career paths and how they, they get to where they’re going and they, it’s not always like the, the path that they started off on, um, you know, even they, they go to school to study one thing and then they end doing something completely different, uh, with their life later on.

Um, you know, it’s just, you know, finding yourself along the way and taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. And I think that’s a probably a, a. Maybe a, a key point that we might touch on a little bit later in this episode, but I want to take a quick second here to, uh, cut to a quick commercial break.

Uh, when we get back, we’ll get more into this and your journey to, um, through the, the seals and later on into your civilian career. So stay tuned. So Marty, um, One of the things that I found, uh, that veterans have trouble with is how to apply their military service, the things that they did while they were serving to [00:05:00] the civilian job market when they get out.

Um, and I want to take a little bit of time today to discuss how you’re able to identify and leverage some of the, uh, Transferable skills, some of the things that you did, uh, while you’re serving in the military, that, um, you know, those skills that you acquired, uh, during that time period and how you were able to apply that to what you’re doing, uh, after you got out of the military and, and were looking for that first job or whatever, whatever it was that you were doing after you first got out.

Marty Strong: So I’ve, I’ve found it over time, giving classes and talking to people, individuals trying to transition, not just from the SEAL teams, but from the military in general. That it’s a much, much more complex psychological situation than I initially, um, appreciated both in myself, but definitely in in, in people in general.

And that’s because when you join the military, fill in the blank for whatever reason. It may not be for the reasons that [00:06:00] you would go do something new once you leave the military. So if you did it to get away, like in my case, to get away from kinda a boring state and, and a bad home life and all that, uh, okay, so if you’re 10 years, eight years, 20 years later, do you still have a bad home life?

No. You know, your parents aren’t the problem anymore or your, where you grew up isn’t the problem anymore. So it’s not like you can run away from the thing that got you into the military cuz you, you’ve achieved whatever you’re trying to do by joining the military. If you were trying to get a degree in the military, if you were trying to see the world, if you were trying to get a particular vocational skill and you’ve achieved it all right, you’ve achieved it.

So it’s kind of like being at your end of your junior year and everybody’s asking you What are you gonna do? Where are you gonna go to college? Whatever. Or at the end of college, where, where are you gonna get, where’s your job? Do you have any offers or whatever. Those are threshold events for, you know, for early adult and maturing adults that are terrified.

Cuz pretty much everybody I’ve talked to is like this of what’s gonna [00:07:00] happen and whether the path they pick and, and the, and the, uh, the fork in the road that they take is gonna be all the things it’s supposed to be, which is. You know, Uber success, security, financial, you know, rewards upward mobility, uh, constantly growing, intellectually, blah, blah, blah.

And of course, that’s not the way the world or the universe is structured. It’s, it’s not that way. It’s not a movie. So, you know, the answer to your question more specifically, what I’ve kind of come down to is you have to decide what you want to do in your next life. You have to kind of think, what do I wanna be?

What do I wanna do? What would I love to do? What do I like to do? Not cuz I’m running away from something, but what would make me happy and what would really kind of float my boat? Do I wanna run a a fishing lodge? Do I want to, you know, become a forest ranger? Do I wanna start a restaurant? All these things.

Now this is kind of counterintuitive because, and nobody said this to us when I was in the Navy in the early days. Basically your jobs were to go out and be a cop [00:08:00] or, you know, go work for your family. I mean, there were a whole lot of transferable skills from being a seal uh, operator to anything else in the universe.

So, and nobody was giving us any hints. So you have to kind of decide, you know, and I, I suggest to everybody do this, you know, a year to 18 months before you think you might be getting out. What do I wanna do next? Now, if you were sitting there as a high school junior and you said, I want to do, I wanna be a doctor, I wanna be an engineer, you could go find that path, you could find the certifications, the educational requirements, et cetera, and you could actually lay out the milestones and start as a, as a, um, as a junior and plot your way, you know, from the colleges that might have the, the, uh, programs you wanna get into all the way through certifications, et cetera.

You better treat it like that. So, First figure out what you, what you think you wanna do next. It’s not what you wanna do forever. And I’m, I’ve been around long enough to tell you, you can be in three or four [00:09:00] professions, you know, easy and be successful, happy in all of ’em. And then it’s time to move on because you’ve done what you wanted to do.

Sure. In a comp. So that, and then building a battle plan. If you wanna get into a restaurant business, you don’t know anything about restaurants. Maybe it is you apprentice yourself and you go out and you get a job in a restaurant on the weekends, even while you’re in the military. And you watch and you take notes and you create a journal and you ask the owner if you’d be willing to answer questions, and you learn how the money side works and supply chain food, all that kind of stuff.

You know, you gotta immerse yourself and start out as an apprentice, just like you did at the first day in the military.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I think that’s a, a key point there is that, uh, when you’re in the military, you, if you’re coming in straight outta high school, you really don’t have very many skills going into it.

You, you learn everything as you go along and, uh, which means that you’re. You’re coachable or trainable. Uh, you, you, you have the [00:10:00] ability to learn new things. And so just because, you know, I I was an infantryman, you were a seal. Uh, probably similar career paths were, were provided to us. Um, you know, as far as, you know, you can be a cop and, you know, there’s not much else outside of that where, you know, kicking in doors is really gonna be applicable and, um, you know, You have to kinda look at it like, okay, maybe those particular sets of skills, um, you know, kicking indoors, marksmanship, that type of stuff is not gonna be applicable in a conference room.

Actually, I hope it’s not applicable in the conference room that you find yourself in, but, um, You know, it, it may be that you need to go and find what is that next path? How do I get to where I need to be, um, and take the right classes or, uh, talk to the right people, uh, get that job like you said, uh, you know, uh, get a job at a restaurant and, and kind of learn the ropes [00:11:00] from the ground floor up.

Um, so that way you can do those things going forward. Um, You know, so I, I think that’s, that’s a key point there is that we, we are trainable and, uh, you know, like we were saying earlier, you may not end up in the place where you thought you were, but you k kind of take advantage of those opportunities as they come along.

Um, you know, in your case, becoming a Navy SEAL wasn’t on the radar when you first enlisted, but. Here you are all these years later and you had, uh, you know, that under your belt. So, um, you know that that is something I think that that’s important as well. Just kind of keep your eye out to those potential opportunities that, that are out there.


Marty Strong: right. And you’re not gonna have the vocational technical skills in most cases. But what you will have, and this goes to the second part of your, your original question, is you’re gonna have attributes and characteristics and behavior traits, habits, disciplines. That a lot of people outside of uniform do not have.

[00:12:00] So sure, you know, you’re gonna show up on, you know, show up on time, you’re gonna show up prepared. You’re going to have a certain sense of personal pride and also mission focus and, and mission team pride. You’re gonna affiliate yourself and associate yourself with, with the greater good of the, of the organization you’re with automatically day one.

Uh, and as you said, you’re trainable, but as you start to get into, okay, so you’re, you know, if you were an 11 Bravo infantry man, And you learned how to do basic planning, contingency planning, stress management, and you said, you know, kick doors. Well, basically what I said before is you’re kicking doors in when you decide I’m gonna go down a path that I’m not specifically trained in or certified to do.

Every single one of those threshold, milestone prerequisites is a door you gotta kick in. And metaphorically, it’s the same mindset. You don’t just run down the street and just throw yourself at a door. You prep, you stage, you have, you get other people to help you with it. You plan, you time it, and you do it right.

It’s the same exact thing, [00:13:00] but you have to learn how to bake the bread a little bit before you can start applying all these other base characteristics that you have. Because once you learn how to bake the bread, once you learn. A little bit about the thing you’re going into, especially if you go into a company, you’ll become a force multiplier like, like you wouldn’t believe because you will shine.

But you have to be able to contribute. And if you don’t know where widget one goes and where widget three goes, nobody really cares how, what your leadership skills are. Once you understand all that stuff and there’s a problem, your leadership skills kick in and everybody looks at you and goes, oh look, somebody’s actually trying to solve the problem, instead of just brief me on the problem.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Yeah. And, and that, that’s a good point, um, that, that being able to, uh, you know, kinda, uh, apply some of those, those characteristics, some of those things that, um, you know, Like you said, kicking in doors is not going to be applicable, but the planning, the, the resources, everything that that goes into it, uh, it [00:14:00] is the thing that, that is applicable and, um, you know, if you can use those skills going forward.

Um, you know, how, how do you think that your military background in, in the seals, uh, kind of shaped your leadership style and, and your, your approach to, uh, that type of stuff in the business world now that you’re, you’re in that area.

Marty Strong: Well, I’ve touched on a couple of the, the behavior traits that I certainly didn’t have them when I was 17 and I was showing up in Coronado wondering what the heck was going on.

Some of them were, were developed as a foundational personality trait. A lot of them, most of them were developed by people teaching and showing and, and training and mentoring and coaching because a lot of them, the things like making decisions and. Being able to, uh, think, you know, kind of zoom out and also zoom in to be able to change direction, but do it in a very contingent, methodical way.

[00:15:00] Just cuz you have 60 seconds to change the plan doesn’t mean you just go, you know, oh, how the hell let’s just go? You still think, okay, I’ve got, what’s the three step, you know, what’s my three step plan? I gotta tell 10 guys what we’re gonna do. Right? So you’re able to compress, expand thinking, decision making.

Judgment behaviors, uh, planning and all those things for the seals are definitely in spades. So that stuff has really, really held, held its value for me in the, uh, in the commercial world. I mean, an incredible, an incredible leg up or an advantage if you, if you will.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And just like in the military plans, you may have a perfectly planned mission in the military.

Uh, but then this one thing happens and it kind of blows the whole plan up. Um, that happens in the business world. It happens in, you know, any. Organization you might be in, uh, where things happen. You know, it could be, [00:16:00] could be a weather related thing, it could just be a supplier, you know, doesn’t deliver stuff on time or to the right place or whatever.

And you have to kind of adapt to the situation. And, um, you know, having that practice, uh, having planned for contingencies and things like that in, uh, the military I think gives you that, that leg up over the people who maybe didn’t have that. Experience and who might otherwise, just, like you said, just kind of throw their hands up and be like, I don’t know what to do anymore.

And they just panic and they, they, they freak out on, on that type of situation. So yeah, definitely having that experience I think is, uh, certainly, um, certainly beneficial. Um, we’re gonna take, uh, another quick commercial break here. Uh, when we get back, we’re gonna, uh, talk about some advice for people who might be struggling during this, uh, transition period, uh, coming out of the military.

So stay tuned, Marty. I wanna talk a little bit about that transition period where, um, you know, people may [00:17:00] have, you know, already gone through some of the planning steps that we talked about before, kind of identifying that, uh, the, the next opportunity for them after the leaving the military. Um, but they may just.

Be struggling to find something that is meaningful. Obviously, military services is very meaningful. You’re serving your country. You’re, you know, like you said, there’s other reasons that people join the military, getting out away from bad situations or traveling to see the world, getting, you know, all, all those types of things, uh, under their belt.

But, um, they may just be struggling to find that meaningful employment or, um, Even just struggling to bridge the gap between the military and civilian careers, um, altogether, do you have any advice for those people who, who just might be struggling in that, that sense?

Marty Strong: Well, the advice I gave my, my oldest son who was getting ready to join the Air Force at the moment of this, of this discussion, he [00:18:00] wanted to be a race car driver.

And I said, trying to become a race car like nascar, trying to become a NASCAR driver, you know, all the years, all this other stuff he was doing, track racing and. It was in his blood. I said, but he wanted to join the Air Force. He wanted to join the service. So I said, oh, well think about it this way. Have, just have a binary set of objectives here.

Join the Air Force, get into satellite communications. All things he wanted to do. Have that pay for you to race as a hobby. So you love to do, but really, you know, makes you happy. It’ll be funded by something that’s actually paying the bills, but also teaching you other skill sets. And so that’s what he did.

And you know, he was, he was stationed out in Utah and he was racing his office and he could, and so that’s one way of looking at it. If you know, and I get what you’re saying, I know with, especially in the special ops community, there’s a lot of, a lot of PTSD and suicides and one of the things we all talk about amongst ourselves is.

The loss of a sense [00:19:00] of brotherhood, but really what it comes down to is also the loss of a sense of purpose, because that’s, that’s a really intense purpose and, and the purpose is the brotherhood and the brotherhood kind of is the purpose. When you get into it, and it’s cliche, but when you get into it, you’re really more concerned about, you’re showing your peers, the people that are with you and your unit, that you’ll do your job, you’ll contribute, and then if something goes wrong, You’ll step up, you’ll, you’ll, you’ll cover everybody’s six and you know everybody that’s gonna cover yours.

And that intense kind of bond and expectation is a psychological thing that, um, and it’s heavily emotional. It’s all wrapped up. A lot of people don’t get to that level in a regular job, and it would make no sense if they would. You’re not gonna find it in a regular job. You’re not gonna go work in a Ford plant and suddenly find everybody ready to, you know, throw, throw themselves on a grenade to, you know, they’re just not gonna happen.

It just isn’t gonna happen. So the first thing you have to do is just face that reality. Now there are some jobs, uh, [00:20:00] law enforcement’s one of them, and there’s kinetic parts of law enforcement that are a little bit more. Adventurous and, and, and violent in nature. And you can evolve into that. Um, you can learn how to be a helicopter pilot, be a medevac pilot.

You can learn to be an E em t you can be an e emt, volunteering on the weekends while you have a regular job, if that’s what you wanna do. You can get into a nonprofit with veterans and help other veterans to do transitioning while you’re, while you have a day job. I think the fallacy that sets everybody up for a sense of either failure or.

Kind of fatigue of of, of trying to, to achieve something that they think they’re supposed to achieve is happiness isn’t, isn’t a dollar number. Happiness is doing something that gives you a sense of purpose. And if you can’t get paid enough to pay your bills, doing something that gives you that sense of purpose.

Get a job to pay your bills and then take the rest of your time and focus on that sense of purpose. If it is doing things for other people, if it’s moving the [00:21:00] needle to help others, if it’s helping veterans, if it’s, if it’s helping your family, whatever it is, don’t see life as black and white. It’s, it’s both blended and it’s the same thing if you wanted to become, you know, if you wanna apprentice and say you wanna do own a restaurant and you can go out and you can get a job as uh, an IT specialist, cuz that’s what you did in the military, but you really wanna own a restaurant, fine.

On the weekends, have a restaurant job study, talk to people that own restaurants, learn everything about the restaurant business, get a degree, you know, or, or a program that you can get in to teach you about restaurants while you’re working the IT job. Use the one as the funding mechanism and platform to give you enough time to accomplish all those things we talked about in the earlier segment.

You know, the, the goal setting and then the targeting of the, of the various milestones and metrics, little baby steps all the way to the end. And then once you get there and you’re happy, Six, seven years later, you may say, you know what? I wanna be an astronaut. Okay, so now you got a whole [00:22:00] new plan.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

And that’s a, that’s a good point because those plans will likely change over time. They may not, you know, you, you may find that one thing and you just stick with it for the rest of your career or the rest of your life, whatever, uh, time period we’re we’re talking about. But, um, You know, a lot of times people, their, their interests change the, the sense of purpose.

Their, you know, they may find a, a, a bigger sense of purpose doing something else, and they may wanna switch gears to doing whatever that that thing may be. But, um, but yeah, it, it makes sense. Like it may very well be that, you know, like your son, you, you gave that example that he, he likes racing cars, but if, if he’s not, You know, NASCAR level, uh, you know, abilities in, in racing and I don’t, I don’t know his skill level and, and whatnot, but if he’s not at that level, then it may be, you know, very well that, uh, there’s not a funding opportunity there for him.

Uh, you know, it may just be a hobby [00:23:00] type thing. And so yeah, you, you have to find some other way to pay the bills, to put the food on the table and keep a roof over your head. Um, and yeah, look at that as. The thing that you do to fund the thing that you enjoy or that gives you that sense of purpose and meaning and, um, you know, just makes you, makes you happy.

So yeah, you’re get, you’re getting outta bed every morning to go fund that, that passion or that dream or whatever it is that you wanna call it. Right. Um,

Marty Strong: yeah. So it’s either the parallel track like you just described, or it’s the one-two step that I described earlier. That one is prepping you and giving you the, the breathing room.

To explore and get smarter and get whatever you need under your belt to make that next jump. And, and I tell people the same thing with jobs. I tell, I have five kids, I say the same thing. If you’re miserable where you are, first off, any place where you work is a learning laboratory. You should be writing down a journal.

You should be taking notes. Every bad boss, why is he bad? Why is she bad? [00:24:00] Every good boss, why are they good or bad? Take notes because in your twenties and then your thirties, You’re gonna forget all that stuff. And you actually were sitting there in either a crucible or a learning laboratory of whatever your profession was in.

You’re learning about human nature. You’re learning about communications, you’re learning about law, you’re learning about all kinds of things, right? The way money works. You, even if you’re, you don’t like the job and you’re looking for something else, squeeze every single bit of learning that you can out of every single thing you do, because it all becomes applicable.

Down the road maybe in some other thing. You remember thinking about 20 years from now, you’re gonna go, well, I’m glad I learned about that.

Scott DeLuzio: Right? Yeah, absolutely. Um, the, that, and that happens all the time. You, you, you get these, pick up, these little nuggets and little piece of information. It’s just general life lessons.

You, and you, you pick those up along the way. But if you go into whatever it is that you’re doing that maybe you hate it, maybe it, it’s just miserable for [00:25:00] you. You don’t wanna go to this job or you don’t wanna go to school, you don’t wanna do this stuff cuz it’s just, you know. Kicking your ass and you, you just don’t want to do it.

Um, but you learn things a along the way, and even there’s something to learn about yourself in doing those things that are difficult. And, you know, talking to a Navy seal, I mean, that’s, uh, probably one of the things that you learn just going through buds and, and all that training. It’s not easy, but you probably learn some stuff about yourself.

Doing that kind of stuff. And, um, I can’t imagine that you woke up every morning, uh, telling yourself, man, this is going to be a great, lovely day. You know, it, it’s, it’s a hard thing, you know, that you, that you’re doing and, um, But you, you know, you’re better off for it having gone through all of that. Um, now in, in talking about, you know, military service and some of the, the principles and the values that were instilled in you during your time in the military, um, and then.

Transferring out to the corporate environment or the, you know, the civilian world [00:26:00] in general. Uh, very often the civilian world doesn’t share the same sets of values or principles that, that were instilled in us. Um, any advice for people who might be struggling to find that balance? Um, you know, between the, maybe more collective.

Group, uh, you know, supporting the group, the, the team, whatever it is that you, you were a part of versus a more probably individualistic mindset that, that you find in the, the civilian world.

Marty Strong: Well, first thing I’d say is lower your expectations because it’s a rare thing to find a commercial organization.

You can find it in nonprofits and a lot of nonprofits that are very mission focused. You know, they’re sacrificing and maybe they’re not getting paid very much, but they want to do this, and so they don’t care, but they’re getting paid. But in general, that’s, that’s not the way the world is gonna be, you know, set up for you when you come out.

Be happy that you’ve got these other traits, these, these are values that are, they’re, they’re very important and they’re [00:27:00] critical and applicable in almost any situation. And I’d say a lot of, a lot of non-military people have very strong values around lots of things, but it isn’t necessarily the workplace environment.

They may, they may, they may be willing to jump on a grenade for their family. Right. But they’re not willing to do that for their coworker. Right. And, and that’s, so that doesn’t mean as an individual, that people in general don’t have values that are as strong or nearly as strong as anything you’d see in the military.

It’s just that their, their goal, their mindset, their objectives are more focused on things that they understand. Like their family and their health, or if they’re deeply into politics or deeply into religion or something like that, that’s what they, you know, they’ll fight to the death over those issues.

They’re just not gonna fight to the death over the parking lot. You know, what’s, which, what space they get in the parking lot or, you know, there’s, there’s not going to, and if you think about it, it, it’s kind of ridiculous to expect anybody to do [00:28:00] that. You know, they’re not coming in to fight for God and country.

They’re coming in to work, you know, a nine to five job and pay the bills. So that their family’s healthy, healthy and happy. Not, not, not. So. Everybody in the business is healthy and happy. So once you kind of think it through, it makes a lot of sense.

Scott DeLuzio: It does actually. And, and going back to what we were talking about before, how, you know, you can use whatever the, the career is, whatever your job is to, uh, to fund the thing that sparks your passion.

Uh, it’s the same thing for, you know, anybody else in the civilian world. They, um, they may have their own passions, whether it’s, you know, fishing or. You know, whatever. Um, and these are the things that they want to go do, and they wanna go spend their time, they wanna go take these trips and you know what?

Whatever it happens to be that they enjoy doing, um, they’re there to basically fund that stuff. Whatever their, their interest is. Maybe it’s their family, maybe it’s something else in their community, whatever it is. Um, and that’s, that’s what they’re there to [00:29:00] do. Um, and. Yeah, they’re not, they’re maybe not gonna jump on the grenade for the job, you know, the metaphorical, uh, grenade here.

But, um, But they would for their family or whatever that that passion is. So, um, yeah, I guess lowering your expectations, I think is a, a good way to look at it. Uh, we’re gonna take another quick commercial break here. Uh, when we get back, we’re gonna talk about some, uh, strategies to, uh, navigate the job search and, uh, other insights and lessons that that might be applicable here.

So stay tuned. So, uh, Marty, I wanna talk a little bit about. You know, as you’re getting out or in that six to 18 month window, uh, before getting out of the military, um, were there any resources that were available to you or that you know of that are available now, uh, that you found helpful in navigating the job search or the, um, the whole career transition process as, as people are getting out?[00:30:00]

Marty Strong: There were very few. When I retired, uh, the Navy had something that they called tuition, excuse me, transition assistance program called taps. Basically, you know, how to wear a tie, how to put a suit on, how to, how to, uh, fill out a resume, that kind of stuff. It was very, very short. They, the Navy in general, has improved.

I think all the militaries have improved that. And the, the problem again is that if it’s the psychology of, if you don’t know what you want to do, you’re sitting there in these, these. Service sponsored preparation clinics. And if you haven’t been thinking about this for 18 months, you don’t even know what questions to ask and you’re not sure how half the stuff that they’re telling you is relevant cuz you don’t really know how to, how to match it up against anything and you haven’t been living on the outside.

Right? So it’s kinda like somebody telling you about what it’s gonna be like running around in the jungles of Borneo and why it’s really important to do this, this, and that. You, you hear the words. But you’ve [00:31:00] never been in the jungle of Borneo. You don’t realize how critical those words are. I mean, they’re, they’re either life and death, you know, uh, pieces of information.

Um, and, and, or you’ll get, you’ll get hurt and you, or you won’t finish whatever you gonna do in Borneo. So that’s what I see. You guy, everybody comes out of the military and they get something like that. So the next step is, is there anything outside of the military? The, there’s no one single organization.

But I will tell you there are probably 2000 veterans organizations out there right now. And the easiest way to, you know, cuz we have the ability to look it up in the internet, is to think of, uh, an association associated with what you did in the military. You can do it in a general way. So if you were in the Air Force, you were in the Marine Corps, you can look up the Marine Corps Association, air Force Association, contact them.

They have all kinds of, uh, what do you call it, the alliances with all kinds of smaller or [00:32:00] what organizations, what they do. These big associations, they act as integrators. That means that what they do is they, they collect up all these different capabilities. A group that works with veterans that are, you know, paraplegics or something, another group that works, ’em with a vocational education, another group that helps ’em with entrepreneurial startup, you know, capital even.

And they have these guys in this network. You ask, and once you’ve hit that kind of the mother load of that service oriented association, they can start pointing where you already need to go again though. The first thing you’re gonna say is, well, what do you wanna do?

You know, and if, what’s it, uh, Yogi Berra said If, if, uh, any, any, any direction as good as any other direction, then take it kind of thing. It’s just if you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a plan, and everybody’s gonna wanna help you, and they’re gonna say, what do you wanna do? If you specifically said, I wanna learn how to scuba dive.

Then I want to go down to the [00:33:00] keys and I want to eventually get to where I’m taking people out on scuba trips. That’s pretty specific. Right? Sounds like an aspirational goal. It’s not just a money goal. They can link you up with, with veterans that do free scuba training, we’ll set you up with that. They may know veterans in Florida that are doing scuba deals with, with, um, disabled veterans.

There’s a ton of them all through the Gulf and, uh, the Florida Keys and everything. Next thing you know, you’ve got a contact with them. You’re down there working after you get scuba qualified and now you’re making contacts on other boats. Now you’re working on a boat as a scuba instructor and you know, see where, you see where I’m going with this?

Sure. You have to have some kind of an idea. So if you, if you start 18 months early, you can be calling these people 18 months early. You could be test driving all kinds of different things. And you can be establishing your own networks and your own Rolodex essentially of. Points of contact and organizations that are 2, 3, 4, [00:34:00] 5 levels down because they start getting smaller and smaller, but more specific.

And most of ’em are funded. There’s lots of grant money out there, so they will do a lot of things you wouldn’t expect them to do to help veterans. So that’s, that’s the easiest way to, to tap in.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So I, I think, yeah, that, that’s a good point. Is. Contacting these organizations, um, because, uh, from the conversations I’ve had with, with other people who gone through the, the similar TAPS program or other programs like that, um, it sometimes it’s like drinking from a fire hose.

There’s just so much information coming at you and like you said, it’s, it’s not relevant until you’ve started thinking about what it is that you actually need to know and, and why you need to know it. And when, um, when you’re. Just sitting there in a classroom and they’re, they’re telling you this information, you’re not connecting the dots necessarily as to why are they even telling me this [00:35:00] stuff?

Why do I need to know this? And, and it’s just not sinking in. Um, and you know, Once a, you’re out and you’re, you’re in the thick of it, then that’s when tho those questions start coming up and then the relevancy starts coming up. But then you’re, you’re thinking back to six months, a year ago when you were sitting in that classroom and you’re like, okay, what did they say about this?

And, you know, so yeah, finding that these organizations that can help you, uh, make those connections or. You know, even, even just help you in, in other ways afterwards. Uh, I think is, um, is, is definitely a good point that you, that you made there. Um, lemme,

Marty Strong: lemme add one more thing if Yeah, sure. If this, you didn’t miss, you didn’t miss the, the train.

If you didn’t start 18 months early, you start when you start. And if, you know, 20 days before you get out, you suddenly realize you’re getting out and you step out. Get that job. Do the same process. Get whatever you’re gonna do out there. Work at a shoe store, work at a gas station, whatever you’re gonna do, and start [00:36:00] that process of contacting all those associations and everything.

Don’t think that you’re missing something by not. Starting early. You can do this. If I, I had a session with a bunch of Naval Academy graduates and I, I asked a bunch of them. I said, well, how long does it take to become a, how many years does it take to become an engineer? Four years? How many years does it take to become a doctor?

How many years it take to be a lawyer? How many years does it take to do this? And how, how, how old does everybody, they were like 38, th 41, 42. They’re all getting ready to get out. And I said, okay. So you’re 42. How old are you gonna be when you finish your engineering degree and become an engineer? Well, 46.

Okay, I get it. There’s the age is nothing. Yeah. Age is nothing you gotta put in the time, but you gotta think about what you wanna do. And most of these qualifications and certifications are 24 months. I mean, it’s, it’s, they’re very, very short. I think it’s like 24 months if you wanna become a, a computer programmer and you can do that at any age.

And it pays real well,

Scott DeLuzio: right? Yeah. And that’s true. Um, [00:37:00] yeah, I think that there’s a saying, you know, when, when’s, you know, the best time to. Plant a tree and, and it’s like, well, you know, two years ago was the best time, but the next best time is right now. And so similar to what you’re saying is, you know, maybe you didn’t start planting 18 months out.

And some people don’t even have that luxury and maybe they’re getting medically retired from the military and it, this is unexpected and, and something happens and, you know, next month you’re, you’re no longer in the military. It, it just, it’s over. Um, and now you have to figure out what you’re doing next.

Well, Now is the time to, to start thinking about it, whatever. As a matter of fact, whatever stage you’re in now is the time to, to just start thinking about it. And even if you’re getting out tomorrow, um, you know, figure that out. You know, get a job, get something. Uh, now it may not be perfect. It may not be where you wanna be.

Five, 10 years from now, but get something just to pay the bills for [00:38:00] now and start working on those connections and making those, um, uh, those steps towards whatever the end goal is for you. Um, and, and the end goal, I think it’s also important to, to think about as, uh, sort of a, a moving target because you may achieve something, you know, becoming a, a doctor or becoming a, an engineer or some other, uh, career.

Uh, and you may, may find out. Five, 10 years later, that’s not where I wanna be anymore. Um, and I, I want to switch gears and, and move to something else. Um, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Uh, but, but again, I think you, you need to have that plan to get to whatever that next thing is. Um, so that way you’re not, you’re not just, uh, you know, struggling to, uh, you know, Figure out how do I get there?

And then you, you haven’t done anything to make any progress towards that. So yeah, you need to sort of plan that out. Um, just, just as if you were a junior in high school, uh, you know, mm-hmm. What are you gonna do [00:39:00] next? You, you gonna go to college? Are you gonna, you know, get an internship, an apprenticeship or, or whatever And, and learn whatever it is that you need to do.

Um, you know, All of those things are, are equally as important to a 17, 18 year old kid as it is to a 45 year old adult. You know?

Marty Strong: Yeah. Add one thing, just to give you an idea, just how many resources are out there. So I do work with the Navy, uh, for the Seal Veterans Foundation. Uh, all of my novel proceeds go to the, go to them as a donation.

So I’m in there talking to ’em all the time. And one day they were talking about grants and market share, so, And I go, well, what do you mean you guys have, you guys are fighting for grants? Well, yeah. There’s over 250 nonprofit veteran organizations that have been started by seals or are focused on seals, 250 separate organizations.

And they’re all fighting for the same money basically. They’re all fighting for the same focus. Yeah. So yeah. [00:40:00] I mean, there’s probably five times that many for the Marines. You know, that’s just cuz they’re the Marines. They do stuff like that all the time.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Yeah. And, and that, that’s true too. There’s so many, uh, you know, different things out there.

Um, you know, different resources, different, you know, uh, areas to, to kind of, kind of look at. Um, you mentioned your, your novel and the, the sales of that. Um, And I, I want to give you a chance to kind of talk a little bit about that and, uh, you know, maybe, maybe give some, uh, information on that for the listeners who, who might be interested in, in learning a little bit more about, uh, what you’ve, what you’ve written about and, and what you do

Marty Strong: there too.

Sure. So I’ve got, uh, nine novels, uh, a four book set that’s a time travel series called The Time Warrior Sagas. And the other is a five novel series. It’s, uh, the seal Strike series. It’s it’s seal missions and things like that. Uh, all the proceeds go to the SEAL Veterans Foundation specifically for a [00:41:00] program that that deals with P T S D and traumatic brain injury.

So, When I wrote the first book, I, I thought, well, this would be really a nice thing. I’ll just give the proceeds. I had no idea I was gonna write eight more. But, uh, but yeah, so, you know, I like, I like doing that. And, um, and it does, you know, does give a lot of, a lot of funding support to that one program.

The other, the other two books that I have out are business books, and they’re related to my. My consulting and things like that. And I, and I keep all the proceeds for myself cuz I’m a veteran too. I need some money at some time.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s true. And, and writing that many books is a lot of work. You, you do deserve to get a paycheck for those, uh, you know, every, uh, you know, every once in a while.

And, and it, it, the way you describe that, you know, You, you wrote the one book had no idea that there were gonna be that many more to follow. It’s, it sounds like, uh, you know, when I talk to people who, who get tattoos, it’s almost like, uh, you know, they, they get the one tattoo and then it’s like, I, you, you, [00:42:00] a blink of an eye, you have, you know, five more tattoos and it’s like, I didn’t think I was gonna have that any after all this.


Marty Strong: Well, it was kinda my version of being a NASCAR driver. I didn’t realize how much I was gonna enjoy it and then they were really, well re the first one was really well received and sold real well. And I’m like, wow, okay, I think I’ll try this again. Uh, by about the third or fourth ones when my wife said, So do, do all the proceeds from all these books.

They go, yeah, I’m on record. I can’t, I can’t say, you know, every other one. Or, you know, even, uh, even Yeah, right. Or odd number books are gonna be for this. And that’s funny. So I enjoy, I enjoy doing that and, and it keeps me connected with the foundation, but um, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. No, that’s awesome. Well, we, we are going to, uh, take a, another quick break.

Um, so stay tuned. Marty. It’s been really great having you on the show and chatting about, uh, just. Your point of view on this career [00:43:00] transition period that basically everybody getting outta the military is, is going to face at, at one point or another, whether they’ve already gone through it or they are, uh, you know, going to be going through it in the near future.

Um, Uh, do you have any other advice or any other, uh, information for the listeners that might be, uh, in that process right now, transitioning out of the military? Uh, or, or even, um, you know, have been in that process but you know, just are looking to shake things up a little bit.

Marty Strong: Reach out to your own personal network.

Find people that have been in the service and have loved the service. Doesn’t have to be in the last month or last year. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the, in the same service you were in. I talk to people from all the services and it just, what happens is once you kind of talk to one, people know that you’re gonna talk, you’re willing to talk, and everyone’s got a different life story.

Everybody’s got a different reason for getting in. Everybody’s got a different reason for getting out, and I have the same conversation, pretty much the dialogue that we’ve been going through in the show [00:44:00] here. And sometimes it clicks, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I find out a year later they went a different path and then they realized that’s not really where they wanted to be.

So, That’s one thing, you know, trust the process, but reach out to everybody you can and get all the insights you can cuz you’re an apprentice in this process too, let alone whatever new vocation or profession you’re gonna jump into. The other thing is you, you’ve left the military with something that most people don’t have unless they’ve had a really hard life.

That’s both intellectual and psychological resiliency. You have been taught, trained to go without sleep, to sleep in crappy places, to not get enough food. I. To, to move under your own, uh, physical strength, vast distances to be really, really cold, really, really hot, and, uh, in some cases be shot at. And you are, you’ve been forged into a different kind of human being and there are others out there that weren’t in the military like you, but not in the same [00:45:00] concentration.

So, Trust those, trust those behaviors that you learn, trust those traits that you’ve, that you’ve absorbed over the time in the service, they, they’re gonna get you across the finish line over and over and over again. As long as you just trusted that

Scott DeLuzio: great advice. I think that that’s a really, uh, you know, a good way to look at it.

Uh, good, good, uh, point of view there. Um, for the listeners who maybe wanna find out a little bit more about your. Your books or, or the foundation that you were talking about earlier. Uh, where can people go to get in touch, get a copy of your books, uh, things like that.

Marty Strong: So you can go to my website, Marty Strong, be nimble.com, and there’s links at the bottom of the homepage to both my business books and those novels I was talking about earlier.

I’m also like on the first 13 pages or something when you just Google Marty Strong, it’s got. All my interviews and access to the same kind of information, books, things like that. [00:46:00] So, uh, that’s the easiest way, Marty Strong being able.com.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay, awesome. And so I’ll have links to that in the show notes, um, for anyone who’s, uh, looking to get in touch or to, um, uh, check out those books, things along those lines.

Wanna wanna find out a little bit more about you. Um, again, uh, Marty, it’s been a pleasure having you on, um, you know, chatting about this, uh, this topic I think is, uh, super important. Um, a lot of people struggle with that transition, um, and you clearly have, uh, transitioned and, um, you know, done it successfully.

So, you know, hearing your point of view, um, I think is going to definitely be, be helpful and beneficial to the listeners out there who are in a similar situation. So thank you again for, for taking the time to come on.

Marty Strong: I have thoroughly enjoyed it, Scott. Thank you.

Scott DeLuzio: You bet. Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast.

If you want to support the show, [00:47:00] please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

Leave a Comment