By Don Orlando
Among the most persistent bits of folklore about starting a new career says when people change occupations, they must start at the bottom. To use a familiar military technical term: BS! In today’s world, people get jobs by matching their expertise in a given career field to organizations’ needs in that same field. Said another way, an HR specialist does human resources things no matter where she’s employed. Of course, the details of the job will change, but the main thrust of the profession doesn’t.
Think back to your last PCS in your given rating, MOS, or AFSC. Yes, you were still a logistics person. And it took a little time to know the people and the unique culture of your new organization, but you were productive from day one. By the way, the situation is the similar in the civilian world. A sales professional is a sales professional, no matter which product or service he’s been selling. Why do some companies hint that you must “start at the bottom?” Most probably it’s because they want to pay you less than you are worth.
You’ve worked hard to build your military career. Chances are you can use much of your experience in the civilian world. If a company ever hints that you’ll have to “start at the bottom,” ask them why. If you don’t get a good answer, walk away.