I find many retirees make the mistake of thinking that their having been successful in their military careers will make them an automatic pick in the civilian work place. Not necessarily so particularly in this tough job market.
Yes, businesses are seeking folks like you with leadership, organizational, and team working skills. And, yes, they like the fact that you may have supervised people, even hundreds or thousands. But, they also are looking for people who are experienced in business finances, have profit and loss (P&L) experience/savvy and, best case, have experience in the business the candidate.
The majority of retiring military members has no problem filling that first skill set, but the majority has little to no experience in finances and P&L responsibility. And virtually none have any prior experience in a certain job market. So, what is one to do?
First, be prepared to spend some time preparing to enter into the civilian job market. Put that GI Bill to work! Take some basic business finance classes. Learn to use Excel, Microsoft Project, SAP, and other business-related software that are so popular and in wide-spread use. Take those courses that will help set you apart from your other military competitors and place you on equal or better footing with your civilian counterpart.
Next, I STRONGLY recommend letting a professional write your resume. While a great majority of retiring military personnel write well, and believe they can construct a resume that will grab an employer's attention and help get them that new job, surveys of HR folks tell a different story. Most military folks tell their "story" with a military spin, to include abbreviations, acronyms, and the dreaded "military speak."
Then, while you can't do anything about not having worked in a particular position previously, you can learn all about the job. Google provides a wonderful venue to learn about what work positions entail. On-line forums, blogs, and groups make for a great place to learn the particulars of a position and to converse with those who are currently working in such jobs. There's a wealth of information out there.
Lastly, learn about the company you have decided you want to go work for. Again, the Web is an ideal place to learn. Websites such as "Glass Door allow an insiders viewpoint of a company through interviews and surveys of current and former company employees as to their "take." Good info.
I would suggest waiting to see if twenty is a good year to retire. Whats wrong with thirty? The percentage of retirement pay will be alot more then twenty. In the meantime take advantage of Thrifty Savings or some other plan to start pushing money into. Take advantage of education for the both of you. There are programs for wives that you can use to get your college paid for. My Husband loved the Army and is retiring at nearly 32 years. He is rolling straight into a DOD job. I am going back to college to finish up my degree. Remember the next generation of wives will be coming in to take your place as FRG Leader or whatever you do for the team so put yourself in a position to benefit your family. Make a ten year plan for your future and make it work. Time flys when your in and around other Military folk. Before you know it retirement is at knocking your door. Good Luck.
I know it was several months ago, that you posted, and I don't know if you will even see my response. But I felt compelled to say something after all that I have gone through. I'm not going to get into all of the nasty details, but maybe I can help with your delima. I wasn't a military spouse, so I'm not exactly sure what you are going through. But I was a woman, in the Army, whom they found out had lupus and put me out on disability because they "couldn't let me do PT anymore". Hogwash! Like you, I miss the people. I miss my fellow soldiers. I miss the routine. I loved everything about being in the military. The gentleman that told you to take advantage of what you know is right. His wife was sewing her own dresses, and now designs handbags for the disabled. When I was in the Army, I didn't get much chance to do much sewing or crocheting, or anything of the like. But now, in my retirement, I quilt and crochet for my own pleasure, but more importantly, I crochet and sew for the Disabled American Veteran's. The Veteran's Nursing Homes at the VA Hospital's are always looking for volunteers to collect things like soaps, deoderants and shampoos. My sewing group for the DAV also does that, and when we get a good batch of things sewn and some stuff gathered to donate, we take a trip to Murfreesboro (about 100 miles) and deliver our goodies to the volunteer office. There are also a few (very few) veteran's that reside in the private facility here in town and we get to bring stuff to them personally. You wouldn't believe how their faces light up, just by seeing us walk in their room doors. It has actually brought me to tears. Some of these men don't have anyone coming to see them. The husband of one of the ladies in my sewing group and I are the only veteran's involved in this sewing group,and it tears us up every time, but we wouldn't trade it for the world! These men served before we did. We HAVE to HONOR them! And we DO! Maybe, just maybe, if you like to sew, you could use some of your time doing something like that. There are other programs too. Like making blankets for children with cancer. The list goes on. I wish you luck in your endeavor to find something to do when your husband retires. I trust that you will. Let God lead you. You will never go wrong. God Bless!
You should not even THINK about retiring at 20 years!!!
The military is the best employer there is!! Plus, the jobs market is still going to be MISERABLE in a mere 7 more years.
When you stay past 20 years, you have 10 years to go before 30. You then have 10 years to plan, research and look for opportunities, not to mention gather experience and responsibility as either a senior enlisted or officer. You can then pick your time and opportunity to retire anytime and almost anywhere you want.
You know you are stressed out about this already. Don't be. Take the sure and steady course I describe. Just because you go past 20 does not mean you have to stay to 30; it just means you're smart enough to control your own detiny.
STAY IN AND LIVE THE DREAM!!
If you still need that interaction with a millitary base - move near one if possible. I agree there are many opportunities to volunteer at a VA - DAV location to help those that have returned. Keep in contact with those folks that were part of your cheerleading squad - you would be suprised how many will still be looking for you later on! Make a list of things you really want to do and see if you need to get further training. Finally - take a little time to become a part of the community you decide on - it may be more than 1 final move in your future! Don't be suprised!