Season 3 Episode 141: Military Transition Q&A with Nicholas Perez

On this episode, we bring you a Q&A session with Air Force transitioning service member, Nicholas Perez. Like most service members, Nicholas has held a variety of positions in the Air Force. In his current role as Director of Technical Training, Nick equips 1,300+ maintenance technicians with the most current knowledge and skills to meet their customer needs. With plans to retire from the Air Force in less than a year, Nick has found his focus and chosen to pursue roles in learning and development. He is actively researching SkillBridge opportunities and is available to start an internship as early as March of 2024. After researching job postings and contemplating his future, Nick is seeking answers to a couple of questions regarding the transition process.


1) How much of me should I be in an interview? Should I treat an interview like I’m dating? In other words, hide my true self until the 2nd or 3rd date?

It’s generally not advisable to change who you are for an interview. Embrace your unique value while being professional. Bring your personality to the interview and know that it won’t be a good fit for every organization, and that's okay. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. It’s important to find that balance of professionalism and personality.


2) What are some unique or awesome perks/benefits I should look for in a company when being hired?

After receiving the compensation package offer, don’t just negotiate salary. Be open to negotiating other things, like paid time off. If the role requires you to drive your own vehicle, inquire about a car allowance. If you have to travel, ask if you can keep the airline miles and hotel points. Ask what professional development opportunities exist. Is there a gym onsite or do they offer gym membership discounts? is a great resource to learn what current employees are experiencing.  


Nick recently made a comment on a LinkedIn post. He wrote about the importance of creating positive mental and physical health habits before retiring or separating. A few months ago, Nick realized he had conflicting thoughts about leaving the military. He was beginning to question if he had made a mistake by putting in his retirement papers. Realizing that he was burdening his spouse with his roller coaster of emotions, he sought professional counseling. His counselor made a profound statement to him, “It’s time for you to move on. You’ve served your country well, loyally and faithfully. You’ve outgrown it and are ready to grow into something new.” Through his transition process, he feels like he’s grown more self-aware. He constantly asks himself questions like, “Why do I react the way that I do?” or “Why am I thinking these things?” or “Why do I have these stressors?” or “How is my anxiety and stress affecting my spouse and kids?” Making time for physical fitness has also been important for Nick’s well-being.


When asked what his biggest challenge has been so far in his military transition, Nick admits it was finding his focus. Although he no longer finds fulfillment in the way the military approaches training and development, Nick knows that he is an instructor at heart. Many times, positions in the military are not approached in the same way as in the civilian sector. When finding your focus, it’s critical to research positions, conduct informational interviews and maybe even find a way to experience that role for a day.


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