Guest Post by Israel Kim
After completing the Quartermaster Basic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC) on October 25th, 2012, I started looking for a full time job in Boston. Since I have a college degree and also have some work experience in various fields, I was confident that I would find a job in a timely manner. I applied to various management positions, thinking I was well qualified. Unlike what I had expected, none of the companies were willing to hire me as a manager. The qualifications were generally for people who already had some management experiences in the related field. I thought, ‘how do they expect me to have a management experience if none of the companies are willing to hire me as a manager?’ Despite being turned down by several companies, I continued to apply for a management position, hoping that there would be at least one company that would hire me. But still, there were no answers. I was discouraged, and felt helpless.
I could not give up searching for jobs because my wife is a full time student and did not have time to work. I truly wanted her to focus on school as well, since her studies were very challenging. I started asking for advice from people that I trusted. I also started praying for guidance from God. Then I finally realized that not everyone starts their career as a manager. Of course, there are a few exceptions where some individuals are fortunate enough to find a job starting as a manager in their first job. However, in most cases, people tend to start from the bottom. It is only when you can prove yourself to be qualified for a higher position that you will be entrusted with more responsibilities and of course better compensation.
I shifted my gears and started looking for entry level positions. However, I had a thought in my mind. It was to look for a company that had a room to grow. To seek a company that has a vision and a clear mission to lead their employees forward. The Fedex Office became one of the companies that grabbed my attention. The Fedex Office was originally called Fedex Kinkos after Kinkos partnered with Fedex back in 2004. Several times in the past decade, Fedex has ranked in the Top 100 Companies to work for. Also, this company offers various employee benefits, such as 5% matching 401K, medical insurance, tuition assistance, paid holidays, and much more. The Fedex Office appreciates veterans and strives to hire more service members.
Currently, I am working at Fedex Office in Dedham, MA as a Center Consultant. A beauty of the Fedex Office promotional structure is that the company strives to promote from within. Whenever a management position becomes available, the company opens the position to the Fedex Office employees only for the first three days. After a thorough search of employees for the first three days, the company then opens the position to the public if they did not find a competitive candidate. I thought this company policy would give me a great advantage towards my short term goal, to become a Center Assistant Manager at any Fedex Office.
Here’s the moral of the story: if you want to have a successful civilian career you will have to start at the bottom and work your way to the top. No one starts at the top! To improve your odds of success, make sure you pick a reputable company that offers plenty of room for advancement. If you’re good at what you do, you will get promoted and advance through the corporate ranks in a reasonable amount of time.
If you are in my shoes and want a management position, but do not have much work experience, I challenge you to start from the bottom and work your way to the top. If you are a dedicated worker, it will truly pay off in the end. If you are interested in working for a Fedex Office, please feel free to ask me any questions. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to share my knowledge and benefits of working for this company in greater detail. One last thought of my article is, “Never settle for less. Always strive for improvements and excellence!”
2LT Kim, Israel was born in Seoul, South Korea in the year 1985. He moved to the United States when he was 13 years old, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the year of 2008. As he was contemplating how he can return the favor to this nation, he decided to join the Army National Guard. He first enlisted as an Infantryman in the VA ARNG, then signed a contract with the Liberty University Army ROTC as a SMP Cadet. He is now a commissioned officer in the MAARNG as a QM Officer. He is married to Chloe Chung, who is pursuing her Master’s Degree is Public Health at Boston University. LT Kim’s civilian job is working as a full time Center Consultant at Fedex Office in Dedham, MA.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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6 thoughts on “Job Searching Advice for Citizen Soldiers: One Soldier’s Story”
In today’s crappy economy getting a job is really tough to do. You need to be qualified for the position you seek, but I think it’s just as important to have connections with someone on the inside. That will definitely give you a cutting edge.
Hi Israel, it’s exciting to get a guest’s input into the goings on of the military. However, I do think it was a bit naive to expect a management position without previous experience. Perhaps if you had a leadership position within the military there would have been a better chance at gaining a management position. Having been an enlisted soldier doesn’t automatically gain leadership skills, though you would have an edge over someone who had no management experience or service experience. I’m glad things eventually worked out for you though! Thanks for the tips and the guest post!
“Not everyone starts their career as a manager.” So true, Israel. The attitude of many who have a management degree or have completed leadership courses is that they refuse to work their way up to manager. A person must get their hands dirty to understand how to manage in any given industry or company. In fact, if a business owner hires someone as manager who has the education but no experience, very likely … the “team” will balk, rebel, or at least passively resist. The best employees may leave. Anyone else have this experience on any of the sides? The owner or HR person, the new inexperienced manager or the “team.”
Another item to consider is … if more people would be willing to be hired in a level under management, unemployment would obviously decrease. First, we have to insist on ridding ourselves of that feeling of entitlement.
That is great advice for those seeking management positions. When an applicant is entering a new field, companies are going to make certain employees gain familiarity with the industry before offering any manager position. Even applicants with senior-level management experience will struggle to gain managerial work until they prove themselves knowledgeable of and capable in a new field. A good idea for soldiers entering new fields is to seek out related internships or even volunteer experience prior to applying for a manager position. Such experiences, which local colleges can help soldiers arrange, could help a job applicant gain relevant experience quicker.
It’s damn hard to find a job in any way right now, and I know it can be even more difficult for a service man or woman. It disturbs me how hard it is for veterans to get jobs in the current climate. I hope it gets better as soon as possible.
Thanks for the guest post, Israel. In today’s world, finding a job can be difficult to do. You have to have realistic expectations and be willing to start at the bottom. Most Americans want to start at the top, but few people ever do that. You have to pay your dues and prove yourself, even if you have a college education.
But if you are good at what you do, you can rise to the top! I think you made a wise choice to team up with a large and successful company like FED EX. You will find lots of opportunity for advancement with a company like that.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and thanks for your service.