Season 3 Episode 109: Figuring Out Who You Are with Bob Newlin

We welcome back to the microphone, Robert "Bob" Newlin, who joins us on this episode to reflect on his transition after hanging up the uniform 18 months ago. Bob’s diverse career in the United States Air Force included time in the USAF band and as a defense attaché, most recently to Ukraine. His transition wasn’t smooth, especially with the added challenge of transitioning from overseas. However, his transition has been successful. Today, Bob works in quality assurance at Bristol Myers Squibb. For those of you who may be wondering how a former musician and defense attaché successfully landed a role in a different career field, you’ll want to download this podcast!

Bob started his transition planning about 8 months from his retirement date, although he took TAP for the first time 2 years prior. When stationed in Ukraine, Bob took advantage of taking TAP again, this time online, during the COVID-19 pandemic. While overseas, he began his PMP certification. Although that’s not the direction he pursued, learning the language of project management has helped him in his current position. Bob created a profile on Recruit Military and was contacted by Bristol Myers Squibb for a position at a new facility in Massachusetts. After tailoring his resume for the position and researching the company to verify the culture fit his values, he applied and was hired 48 hours after the interview.

His position at Bristol Myers Squibb is centered around a brand-new technology, cell therapy. After reflecting on his time in the military, he understands that his new job provides him the same sense of fulfillment and service to others. He encourages others to take the time and understand what matters to them in a job after the military. If you are looking to pivot in your career, Bob highly recommends setting up profiles on Recruit Military, Bradley-Morris, Hiring Heroes and Hire Military. Seek out veteran hiring events, research attending companies and come prepared to market your skills.

Bob took the initiative to find his authentic self after he left the military. Asking himself the following questions helped to guide him into the next chapter. How do I want to present myself? How do I want to appear as a veteran? How do I want to participate in the veteran community? The average age of military entry is 18-25. Bob states, “You were shaped by the military and now you have the opportunity to explore your persona, beyond the uniform.” For one example of how Bob is discovering his self, check out the new hairstyle. That is some impressive growth since his retirement!

Bob used the model of three concentric circles to guide him toward a new career path. He reflected on what he is good at, what he is passionate about and what he can get paid for. Where these intersect was the starting point for his journey into quality assurance. Herb Thompson said, “You have to own your own journey.” For Bob, being successful doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges or bumps in the road. Success is finding a fulfilling role.

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Listen to Bob Newlin on Season 1, Episode 27 by clicking here.

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