Career Coaching Success Story

Jenn “ATIS” Driesslein | Principle Project Manager PDM PIT, Joint STARS Program | Northrop Grumman | Aerospace Systems

In August of 2018, Jenn Driesslein was finishing her 10th and final year in the US Navy as an Instructor / Weapons System Officer.  She joined the military with the purpose to contribute and make a difference.
She reached out to me for guidance and support in transitioning out of the military and into a civilian career, one in which she could transfer the use of her background and strengths into the business world.

Jenn landed her Project Management position at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems on schedule and began her new position on March 1, 2019.

  1. What was the most difficult part of changing careers?

The most difficult part of changing careers was maintaining a positive and confident perspective. I think it’s very easy for people to get bogged down in the idea that they have somehow “failed” at their first career, and wrapped up in the fear of the unknown when in reality it is an opportunity to leverage all their experience and strengths into their next career.

  1. What helped you move forward through this?

I have always been a planner and a list maker, so having a structured and measurable approach to finding a new career by doing the work in your program specifically by identifying strengths, crafting a personal statement, envisioning my dream job.  All of these things really empowered me and made me feel like I was building towards something every day. It gave me a goal and a method to achieve it.

  1. What advice would you give to someone in a similar situation?

Leaving the military after 10 years is particularly daunting because suddenly you have so many choices where you never have before. What do you want to do? Where do you want to live? Even figuring out what you want to wear after putting on a uniform for so long can feel overwhelming. My advice to someone in this position is to take this opportunity to really look inward and find what you want to do, where you want to be in 5, 10 years, and use that as a North Star. You don’t have to find your dream job right out of the gate, but if you know what that dream job is, you can at least put yourself on a heading to get there someday.

  1. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

I wish I had been a little bolder in my networking. I applied to lots of jobs online, but I ultimately got the job I have now by face-to-face networking at a Naval Aviation convention. These great connections and networking opportunities had been under my nose the whole time, but I was too entrenched in the idea that networking was “awkward” to pursue them. It’s not as awkward as you think, trust me!

  1. Is anything much better than you could have imagined?

I was definitely concerned that my military specific skills would not transfer easily to my new job, and that I would struggle to adjust.  In reality, the adjustment has been much easier than I anticipated, and my “military specific” skills are actually a huge asset in my field!

Congratulations, Jenn!  Thank you for sharing your experience of working with me and successfully transitioning into your new civilian life.

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