Thoughts on Transitions

Five Checklist Items to Get You Started

Think of your career progression as a series of transitions. In our careers we are constantly looking for what is next. Whether you plan to stay with your current organization long term or move in the near future, building your understanding of what it takes to transition is a worthwhile endeavor.

Here is the starting point I use with clients transitioning, whether it is a promotion, internal change, or jump to a new career field.

My Checklist:

  1. Timeline – how much time do you have until your next transition or progression step?
  2. Number – what is the minimum take home pay required to have the lifestyle you want?
  3. Resume – do you have a resume ready to hand to anyone who asks for it and confident they understand what you can do for them?
  4. LinkedIn – does your LinkedIn profile accurately portray what you have accomplished and where you are going?
  5. Networking – have you developed a systematic networking strategy to support your plan?

There are many facets to a career transition. This checklist provides the basics to get you started.  Let’s look at each item.


How much time do you have before you transition to the next position? Being specific about the timeframe is critical in initiating the process. It also puts you in the mindset of controlling the process.

Starting point: Set a target date for being in a new position. The date can be flexible but I recommend keeping it within a quarter.  A goal such as: I will be promoted or have taken an offer by second quarter next year. Why, because it commits you to action and establishes boundaries.

Take out a calendar and do the math

  • Choose a date or date window to be in the new position.
  • Back it up by vacation days and time off prior to starting.
  • What is the day you will walk out of your current position?

Result: You have identified the date you will leave your current position. You now have a timeline.


How much money do you need or want to live your desired lifestyle? Have you done the math?

Determine how your next position impacts the bottom line.

Starting point:

  • Assess your current pay, bonuses, and benefits–what is your take home pay?
  • Consider benefits such as health care, 401k matching, expense accounts, and commuter costs.
  • Construct a proposed budget for your new position taking location into account.

Result: You know your salary and benefit requirements based on location


How well does your resume represent you in the following two scenarios’?:

  • I meet you at a networking event next week and have no knowledge of your current position. I ask for your resume.
  • A director internal to your company was referred to you as a good candidate for an opening in their division. She asks you for a current resume.

If the above scenarios gave you anything other than complete confidence, your resume is not ready for prime time.

Starting point:

  • Write two resumes; chronological & functional.
  • Get professional resume assistance.
  • Give them to others to review who have experience in your areas of interest.

Result: You have a resume ready to give to anyone who requests it.


What message does your LinkedIn profile send? Does it accurately portray you and parallel your resume? After you have made a solid effort – get help. LinkedIn should be your professional social media platform of choice.

Starting Point:

  • Use a LinkedIn guide that instructs you how to build an All-Star LinkedIn Profile.
  • Start searching and connecting. Always connect by using a note to introduce yourself.

Result: Your LinkedIn profile will represent you well and potentially attract recruiters or other professionals.

Develop a Networking Strategy

Only 30% of the available job market is advertised, the rest is hidden. Your network is what is going to get you hired. Look to your network to educate you on organizations, people in the fields you are interested in, and the culture of organizations. There are a lot of individuals willing to assist you. Be deliberate and systematic in growing your network.

Starting Point:

  • Start with folks you know; colleagues, friends, and family.
  • Seek out and participate in networking events of all types; job fairs, conferences, virtual meetups, and industry or profession-based events.

Result: You will build a network familiar with you and capable of connecting you to credible contacts in career areas of interest.

This is Just the Beginning

How did you feel about each checklist item? If the list gave you some anxiety, it’s time to get started.

What would be the impact on your transition if today you had every checklist item fully under control? Getting a good start can remove a lot of frustration and build a solid foundation for your transition.

The checklist is just the starting point, there is much more work to be done in your transition.

Looking for a coach to assist you through the transition process? Contact me.

“My transition snuck up on me, I was not as prepared as I needed to be.”

“The opportunities available to me are incredible, I just needed a methodology to find them.”

“The Transition Assistance Program was valuable but I did it too late.”

“The difference my tax-free allowances made in my pay compared to the civilian world was eye-opening.”

“I put hours into my resume, I never thought I would need six resumes.”

“I have grown so much through the transition process.”

“Where is the one-stop guide to transitioning?”

“Getting all my medical issues documented took a lot of effort.”

Everyone transitions out of the military – everyone. It is a process not an event and it takes preparation. Just as you prepared for your transition into the service, you have to do the same getting out. When I coach veterans on a career transition this checklist is my starting point.

My Checklist:
1. Runway – how much time do you have until your active duty expires and you need to be generating income
2. Number – what is the minimum take-home pay required to have the lifestyle you want
3. Resume – do you have a resume to hand anyone not familiar with the military and be confident they understand what you can do for them
4. LinkedIn – does your LinkedIn profile accurately portray, parallel your resume, and send the message you want
5. Medical – are all your medical injuries accurately documented in your medical record
6. Veterans Administration Claim – are you connected with a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) representative to assist you with submitting your VA claim

Getting out can be overwhelming. If you are separating in 8 days or 18 months from today, you will address each item above in a very personal way. A proactive approach started months in advance will smooth out the process.

Let’s get started by focusing on the basics.

How much time do you have before you are separated from the service?

Takeoff is more than being out of the service, to me it also means generating income. I have seen the gamut. There are individuals wanting to “double dip” and be earning income while on terminal leave and others with no intention of pursuing a job. They choose to live off of their retirement and/or disability.

Starting point: What is your end of active service date and what is your target date for earning income? Take out a calendar and do the math for both.

  • Choose your end of service date
  • Back it up by the terminal leave you will be taking
  • Add the Permissive TAD you will take (different for retiring and separating members)
  • Add any internship Permissive TAD days.

The date you stop working in your current role could be 6-9 months prior to separation. It depends on the leave you have saved, whether you are retiring or separating, and if you participate in an internship.

How much money do you need to live? Have you done the math?

Are you happy with the lifestyle your current income provides? Do you know what that same income is worth in the outside world? There are significant tax advantages incorporated into your military allowances and specialty pay. Here are a couple of resources to start your research:

Starting point:

  • Assess your current pay, allowances, and specialty pay – what is your take home pay?
  • Convert your non-taxable income into taxable income – what is your take home pay?
  • Construct a budget for your current location and your proposed location.
  • What is the number your new budget tells you need to maintain your lifestyle?

Suppose I met you at a networking event and had no knowledge of the military. If I asked you for your resume, how well will it represent you? If that question gave you anything other than complete confidence, your resume is not ready for prime time.

Starting point:

  • Get professional resume assistance from at least one organization that assists veterans. Some are free and some charge.
  • Write a chronological listing of all the jobs you have had
  • Write a list of your top five skills and how you demonstrated them
  • Write a functional resume to show what you bring to your next organization
  • Give it to others with no military background for review
  • Give it to others with no military background for review
  • Give it to others with no military background for review

What is the message your LinkedIn profile sends? Does it accurately portray and parallel your resume? Just like your resume, it requires demilitarization which is very difficult for many of us. After you have made a solid effort – get help. LinkedIn should be your professional social media platform of choice.

Starting Point:

  • Use a LinkedIn guide that instructs you how to build an All-Star LinkedIn Profile
  • Confirm your profile parallels your resume
  • Have a professional “civilian” photo
  • Join LinkedIn Premium at zero cost for one year (veteran benefit)
  • Start searching and connecting. Always connect by using a note to introduce yourself

How accurate is your medical record? How well does it document all of your medical injuries or issues? This is the time to get your medical record in order. Ensure your record accurately documents your medical history. The medical process can be time consuming. Do not delay in getting this started.

Starting Point:

  • Review your record for completeness
  • Make appointments for those items you have pushed off
  • Schedule your final physical, usually 180 days prior to separation

Veterans Administration Claim
The medical item above flow right into your VA Claim. It is helpful to find a colleague who is 6-9 months ahead of you in the transition process. They will readily share their personal experiences with the process. A key area is how they worked with their Veteran Support Organization (VSO) representative.

Starting Point:

  • Seek out local VSO representatives
  • Have your medical record in good shape by 180 days prior to separation
  • Work with your VSO representative to complete your VA claim
  • Schedule your VA appointments as soon as possible

How did you feel about each checklist item? If the list gave you some anxiety, it’s time to get started.

What would be the impact on your transition if you had every checklist item fully under control at this point? I have seen veterans in transition move from near panic to being calm and deliberate – because the checklist gave them direction.

The checklist is just the starting point, there is much more work to be done in your transition.

Looking for a coach to assist you through the transitions process? Contact me.

Let’s start with three questions:

  1. Where do you want to be in your professional career one year from today?
  2. What is the greatest obstacle holding you back?
  3. What would the impact be on your life if you overcame that obstacle and attained your vision?

A coach assists you in answering those three questions. This equates to helping you play better, just as an athletic coach does for his or her players.

Let’s use the athletic coach analogy: Where do the coaches for an athlete such as Serena Williams in tennis or Michael Phelps in swimming start? Together with the athlete they build the vision of where they want to be in the future.

“I want to win gold at the World Championships.” “I want to win at Wimbledon.”

“Okay, let’s back up. That is a year away. How are you performing today? Let’s build a plan to get there.”

Your executive/leadership coach will help you create your vision, assess your current state, and build the path to attain that vision. They help you perform better every day through experimentation with new behaviors, skills, routines, education, and most importantly objective feedback. Two differences from an athletic coach, the relationship is co-equal not hierarchical and fully confidential.

Objective feedback may be the greatest gift of a coach. In the athletic arena the feedback is continuously received, while playing, practicing, and after events. In the business arena objective assessments, video, self-assessments, and assessments by others are all part of the equation and vital to your success, but can be hard to come by without a coach.

Why the focus on feedback? If you are going to make the desired progress, you need to know how you are performing from multiple perspectives.

Consider this: Who in your professional life are you completely open and honest with? Who is wholly focused on just you achieving your goals, overcoming the obstacles holding you back, so you can make the impact you want to make?

Your coach will be that person because that is what a professional coach does. Your coach helps you play better and reach your destination.

Curious to know more, sign-up for your complimentary coaching session here.


Invest in Yourself With Career Transition Coaching

If you could invest 8 hours and less than one day’s pay to set you on the path to your ideal career, would you do it?

Yes? Then you are ready to invest in career transition coaching. Transition coaching is not just for career changes. It helps you develop clarity in your current career and life.  It can help you to earn that promotion you deserve, define your path forward, establish better work/life balance, or make that change you are contemplating. 

Many professionals are following the career advice of others; family, friends, colleagues, or mentors. Why? Because they have not invested in themselves to create a clear vision of their future.

Differentiate yourself. Take the time to assess what is most important in your personal and professional life. Career Transition Coaching  provides the time and space to:

  • Develop clarity in defining your vision
  • Align your vision with what is most important to you
  • Embark on the journey to realize your vision

Contact me for a complementary consultation and get started on building your ideal future.



Career Change

What if you had clarity about where you are going with your next career transition and why? What would the impact on your life be if your home and work lives were in balance, your current position capitalized on your strengths, and your career path was fulfilling your values and life purpose? That is the goal of transition coaching, to assist you with your career change.

I want to help you get on that path by introducing you to transitions coaching. Your first question probably is: What does transition coaching look like? I will give you the general framework I use to guide my transition coaching. However, every engagement is unique and tailored to meet your specific needs.

My Transition Coaching Process

As a formally trained professional coach I provide support, encouragement, perspective, strategies and accountability to support you in achieving your desired results. I provide the coaching, and you do the work. My process is built on the well-researched scientific foundation of Intentional Change Theory. You will start by defining and discovering your “ideal self” and future situation. That definition will intentionally drive your transition to your new career or position. This process is not about resumes and networking, it is about you discovering what would be ideal for you based on your strengths, values, and what is important in your life.

For maximum growth the recommended engagement time is six months with coaching sessions every 2-3 weeks. Some engagements may be shorter, however shorter engagements may limit the overall success. My minimum engagement for transition coaching is four sessions. A typical six-month engagement for transition coaching looks like this:

Session 1

A two-hour session. We set the agreement for the engagement, establish the relationship, explore your strengths, focus areas, and overall goals. Generally sessions after the first are for one-hour unless you would like longer sessions

Session 2

We will focus on the vision you have for an ideal transition. Working through a process you will define your vision for an ideal transition. In this session values and life mission or purpose are explored.

Session 3

We build on session two and we will continue to gather more data. That data may be self-assessments or self-reflective exercises. The goal is for you to build your self-awareness and take inventory of your strengths and gaps compared to your ideal vision. Relationships that will provide support, help, and encouragement throughout the process will also be explored. Using the acquired data a learning agenda is built to set the path to pursue your vision.

Session 4 & Beyond

Consist of working through the learning agenda; setting goals, taking action, experimenting, developing new behaviors, evaluating successes and making adjustments as needed to achieve the vision. Values, strengths and progress towards your vision will be constantly revisited and assessed. Health, self-care, balance, and family life are integrated into the process.

The Final Session

This is where the engagement is extended or closed and plans for next steps are put into place to ensure continued growth towards your ultimate vision.

The Result

The result is clarity about where you are going with your transition and why. You will have also developed a plan to take charge of putting your home and work lives are in balance, finding a position that capitalizes on your strengths, and determine a career track with the potential to fulfill your values and life purpose.

Want to learn more? Contact Gary Slyman at Great Transitions Strategies at:

Millennials are rapidly filling leadership roles and responsibilities in many organizations. Here is a look at what millennials want to increase their leadership capacity and grow. .

Want to learn more?

Contact us to explore the benefits of leadership coaching

The best performers in every field have a coach to optimize their performance. Why don’t you?

If you want to accelerate your professional growth or the growth of your organization/startup/business stop by our office hours for a free 30 minutes coaching session. Explore any area of your life or business you want to improve or just experience what coaching is and what it can do for you.

Sign up at:…/1df3uzUvGzsJ58eKX7MAZsto3Id…/edit…

You will meet with Gary Slyman a professional coach, leadership educator, and trainer. His focus is to empower you to transition to the next level of performance by developing your leadership capacity. For more information go to: or contact him directly at:

Leadership Coaching Workshop: The Gift of You as A More Capable Leader for 2017

Wednesday, 11 January 2017, Dupont Circle, 10th Floor Conference Room 10I

1875 Connecticut Ave, Washington DC

If you could do ONE thing to make yourself stand out as a professional would you do it?

Come grab your morning coffee and join Professional Coach Gary Slyman for a free interactive workshop to begin accelerating your growth as a leader. The two goals of the workshop are:

  • To help you build the vision of the leader you want to be
  • To help you assess your current leadership capabilities

This workshop will bring the benefits of thoughtful introspection, increased self-awareness, and the foundation for your leadership development journey, for 2017.

Program Schedule   9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Check in and grab a cup of Joe

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM Presentation

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Q&A and Wrap up

If you could do just ONE thing to improve yourself at work and at home would you do it?

Well there is one thing you can do: invest in yourself by hiring a professional coach. You will benefit from a partner wholly focused on empowering you to be the person you want to be. Your coach will assist you in assessing and understanding your full capabilities and work with you to set and attain your goals.
To learn more go to and set up an appointment for a complementary coaching session to experience the power coaching can have on your life.
On December 6th Gary Slyman of Great Transitions Strategies will be co-hosting an event with Dvorah Graeser of KissPatent. The event is focused on how to make the transition from corporate employee to Startup Launch. It will held in Washington DC at WeWork Dupont Circle. For those who do not live in the area or who are unable to attend they will also host a live webinar, on Dec 8th. 
Get the details and sign up here:
WeWork Event:
Learn more about KissPatent and Great Transitions Strategies here: