Season 3 Episode 107: The Balance of Optimism and Reality with Dr. Vaughn Eason

After serving a successful career in the medical field for the US Navy, Dr. Vaughn Eason recently started a new chapter as the Director of Imaging and Cardiopulmonary Services at Madison Hospital in Alabama. From the outside, Dr. Eason’s transition looks seamless and effortless. After all, he started his new position before he officially retired. However, some struggles are less obvious than others. Vaughn not only discusses how he landed a great role but the invisible challenges beyond the J-O-B that he has encountered.

Despite the challenges of transitioning while stationed overseas, Vaughn landed a position early during his transition. The organization was so impressed with the skills he would bring to the workplace that they held the position for him for 8 months. After the interview, he was told that he was being hired for his soft skills and his proven ability to build teams and communicate effectively. Today, you will find Vaughn leading by example just like he did while serving in the US Navy. He makes an effort to be seen and available. Each Friday, he sends out a snapshot of the week’s accomplishments and provides communication on the next week’s plan.

Vaughn believes soft skills can set a candidate apart from the rest. Most everyone applying for a position will meet the basic requirements. The soft skills developed in the military are what organizations need. While hard skills are important, it’s crucial to integrate the soft skills into a resume, interview and LinkedIn profile.

Before Vaughn accepted his current position, he had received other offers for employment. He admits that he faced choice paralysis. He began to experience anxiety because he had options and froze for fear of making the wrong decision. Emails and phone calls went unanswered. Ultimately, he burned bridges with other organizations for his failure to act. When you are faced with choices, assess your situation and values. Remember you are making a decision for you and your family and that choice needs to work for all involved. One of the best perks of being in the civilian world is the ability to reset. If you make a choice and it’s not right, you can pivot and try something else. You are not locked in.

Recently, Vaughn wrote a LinkedIn post about how he felt like he’d walked off a cliff the day he left active duty. There is more to transitioning than landing a job. Once you start the separation or retirement process, you are on your own. That teamwork that once existed, it goes away. That feeling that you belong, disappears. The military will move on without you. They have to move forward with the people who are invested in making their mission happen and that doesn’t include you anymore because you’re going in a different direction. It’s important to find a mentor to guide you through this process.

To end the episode, Vaughn shares a realization that will help others in their own transition. While he was applying for positions, he noticed it was only after he tailored his resume and made it less about him and more about the employer when he started receiving interview requests. Remember the resume isn’t about you or for you. It’s about the needs of the potential employer.

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