Contractor Life

I just returned from almost 30 days at the National Training Center (NTC) observing Cyber, EW and Signal guys do their respective things.   You may ask why on earth would one voluntarily spend time there.  I can only say – it was a lot of fun.  Driving an air-conditioned Jeep Wrangler around the desert, wearing comfortable clothes and sleeping each night at the Landmark Inn sure beats the O/C life (I enjoyed that too when I had that job by the way).

If you are interested in my observations and have Intelink access take a look here.

I was painfully reminded that not much has changed since I was assigned there, observing brigades month after month. Take a look at Three Questions that Defined the US Army Signal Corps to see what I am talking about.

Overall, I am glad I took the contract.  The contract is ending and up for renewal at the end of this month so it was really a no-brainer in terms of long-term commitment.  I may stay with a new offer and keep on observing or not, I will wait to decide.  It was, however, enlightening to get back around military folks and do what I know.  It was and is such a different experience that my foray into project management at the University where I worked during terminal leave and the first few months of retirement.  The money is a lot better in contracting also – the University paid a fair wage but there is so much more to be made working as a contractor.

There is something simple and comfortable about working in your wheelhouse, with a culture you understand and appreciate.  Add to that the fact that as a contractor you have such freedom, freedom to speak your mind and do what you think is right.   Having your finances in order before retirement makes that so much smoother and more comfortable. There are many things to consider when looking at post-military retirement work, but my experience thus far with contracting has been rewarding.

The bottom line is, I am actually having fun going to work.  I like the people I am around, I like the work and I love the freedom.

I did not enjoy missing the wife and the dogs and all of my stuff.   I certainly cannot see myself doing this long-term.  Right now, however, it is a heck of a lot of fun!

Author: Barry

Southerner, father, husband, Christian and a retired Army field grade officer. Author of five books and of several papers and articles on ethics, culture, history, geopolitics and military affairs. He is the Executive Director of The Calhoun Institute and a partner at B&B Clark Consulting.

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