A Message of Hope and a Word of Warning to Incoming Veterans

Please read before becoming a civilian

Jameel Matin
7 min readNov 14, 2017
Life up until transition

I’m going to haze you with knowledge.

Do you know who won the world series in 1942?

What about the unemployment rate in the United States in 1968?



Did you know in 1942 the United States Government was engaged in WW2?

Did you know that in 1968 the United States was deeply engaged in Vietnam?

We all know these facts,

and we also know, there was a generation of veterans who came home from WW2 and literally built this country.

They served in senior leadership positions in academia, corporate world, and in government.

People who went back into their communities and built their hometowns.

And we also know, there was another generation of veterans, who came home from Vietnam and struggled to find their place.

And many of them still today continue to struggle to find their place.

When the history of this generation is written,

When the history of OUR generation is written,

People are going to forget about the Astros and Dodgers.

People are going to forget about the current unemployment rate.

But when the history of this generation is written

Everyone is going to remember that this is a decade during which our generation was engaged in war.

But the history that is yet to be written,

and still hasn’t been written,

is the history we’re living.

And that’s going to be the history of how this generation of veterans came home to become part of American society again.

In case you haven’t heard, the veterans community today as a whole isn’t doing so well.

Every day we have about 20+ of our own taking their lives.

That’s 8,030 of us a year.

That’s 80,300 of us a decade.

That’s an epidemic.

That’s unsat.

Despite these tragedies, I feel we have the opportunity right now to write this part of the history of our generation.

WWhen I was active duty in the military, I didn’t put enough effort into planning life in the civilian sector. I felt that a post-military career in private security, law enforcement, or a government agency to be a no-brainer. Probably due to a combination of jingoism, my career surrounded by security/intelligence and moreover, I was not exposed to the different civilian career paths while I was in. Security was all I knew. It’s what I wanted really badly after high school. I even lost over 165 lbs to be in the institution! I served every day for five years and I should have started my transition from day one.

I gaffed off high school. Like bad. Like, I shouldn’t have graduated bad. Thus, any career related to math or science was something out of reach for me.

I thought to myself, even if I did pursue a career in something other than security/intelligence, I’d be throwing away my knowledge and most importantly experience I had gained from serving as an infantryman.

I knew I wanted to get out and go to college. I have a love / hate relationship with being in The Marines. I felt like there was literally no freedom. No liberty. No volition. So much boredom it’ll make you sick. But at the Same time, I miss the camaraderie and missions. Let that juxtaposition simmer for a minute. It’s a weird love-hate relationship I have with the institution/fraternity. Therefore, while in the military, I was looking into degrees surrounding security like Criminal Justice, and noticed heavy recruitment from for-profit schools such as the University of Phoenix.

Luckily, I read something similar to this.

I was looking into degree programs particularly to become a clandestine officer/analyst for a three-letter security agency or an ambassador for the State Department. I know five tactical languages including Arabic and Urdu and come from an Islamic background. So I wanted to couple my language background, college education, and military experience into a meaningful government career. It was only after getting my degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution and doing the research I found going back to government work wasn’t the life for me.

Especially after falling in love with the civilian world and considering I want to build a durable family and have money in life. I was conditioned in a government ecosystem from my teens to mid-twenties, and I was looking for a new career I could organically transition to. In hindsight, I had a fixed mindset vs a growth mindset. Nowadays I work in the STEM field and even though it seems like something totally opposite of what ground troops do in the military, I think every incoming veteran should look into it. It’s pretty dope.

Here’s a two-minute video and an article about “Why STEM”.

STEM Is At A Disadvantage For Attracting Service Members.

But, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017 gives an extra boost to students in STEM programs.

Getting into tech was hard. But, having served in the Marines, things that are hard, get me hard…

I’m getting sidetracked. The title of this post is warning incoming veterans.

I’m in no authority to issue such a warning, but folks such as Steven Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates are.

“The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.” — Stephen Hawking

“What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better [than a human]. These are not things that I wish will happen. These are simply things that I think probably will happen.” — Elon Musk

Jobs are disappearing much faster than anyone ever imagined. According to Forbes, Automation Will Eliminate 9% of US Jobs In 2018.

The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates

Automation is inevitable in retail, warehousing, transportation, and restaurants. Today’s engineers have built some incredible robots.

But we still have time to take action and help displaced incoming veterans.

I strongly encourage you to do 3 things:


“Money is not everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen”

When I was getting out, I remember programs such as Troops-to-Truckers and thinking to myself, how come we don’t have Troops-to-Doctors or Troops-to-Enginers, or Troops-to-Lawyers?

I also remember my fellow ambitious Marines wanting to be successful businessmen.

They also read and wrote at the 10th-grade level.

If you want to be a successful civilian

Learn how to learn.

Get addicted to it.

Develop a relationship with it

And then fall in love with it.

Don’t be casual in learning.

Don’t JUST compete with your enlisted fellows in physical fitness,

compete with officers in the realm of intellectualism.

Be 10x more serious about your first name than your rank and last name. i.e like officers.

Reach out to professionals at Veterati and schedule a session at least once a week. Ask them for help with anything and everything.

Reach out to officers at Marine for life and establish a mentor/mentee relationship. Ask them to help with your LinkedIn and resumes.

Reach out to free professional tutors as often as humanly possible.

Reach out to Bunker Labs if you’re interested in starting a business.

Reach out to The Leadership Scholar Program (LSP) and Service2School to gain admission to a top-tier college.

Free up your time so you can work on your personal development.

Reach out to this when you struggle with making a schedule and staying disciplined.

To showcase my seriousness, reach out to me if you have any questions about leveling up. (424) 291-2737


Get smart about your life so you don’t have to move back in with your parents or friends when you exit.

Don’t live paycheck to paycheck while in the military. Learn how to budget, spend and invest.

Get smart about developing new skills and refreshing old skills such as writing.

This journey will require you to work harder than anything you’ve ever done.

“working at a hot tech company isn’t for a lot of people. “I would only recommend the startup world to veterans who are hell-bent on success. You need to recognize that the world owes you nothing. And you need to be even more committed to achievement now than when you were in the military.”


If we act now, we can still rise to the automation challenge and save millions of veterans from hardship.

The average age of a recruit is 18 years old. Let’s imagine you get out after four years. If you plan and manage your time right, you can:

Save 90 days of terminal leave and attend a coding bootcamp, work really fucking hard and potentially earn 0–2 officer pay at 22 years old or HIGHER.

Get a top tier degree from a top-tier college during your time in service and four years after getting out become a Doctor at 26 years old.

Get a top tier degree from a top tier college during time in service and three years after getting out become a Lawyer at 25 years old.

“Back in the Saybrook courtyard in Yale on the last night of the course, a muscular former Army policeman with extensive combat experience in Iraq gets in the face of one of the tutors.

He, too, had previously disregarded applying to top-tier schools, and jokes that he was in elementary school the last time he wrote a paper.

Now, his renewed sense of self-confidence is starting to show, as he broaches subjects previously considered out of reach.

“Wait a minute,” the former soldier says sharply. “If that’s true, wouldn’t the photon be going faster than the speed of light?”