Military AuthorsMilitary Transition Lessons Learned

Transition Lessons Learned by: Master Chief Charles Logan

A few days Ago I had the pleasure to learn about Master Chief Charles Logans’s military transition story. My favorite part of the story was his interaction with head hunters and how he was able to choose leadership first and industry second. Great advice for those that just want to continue to lead. I was also impressed with hat even after all the networking “linkedinning” and resume writing Charles did he ended up getting his first job through a connection from a junior sailor who liked his work, respected him and recommended him. Good reminder for all that you never know where your next job lead will come from.

I also found out that we share the same favorite transition book. “What Color Is your Parashoot” is an absolute classic job hunting book which focuses both on HOW to get a Job and WHAT type of job is best suited for you.

I hope you enjoy Charles’ story.

When I was 15, my first boss and mentor taught me about mutual respect between a leader and their subordinates. I was originally hired to shovel snow off the roof of his company. We talked afterwards, and he asked if I would be interested in working a couple of hours after school each day. He brought me into his company and started teaching me how to perform maintenance on the production lines.  As he taught me how things worked he would always say, “Never ask your employees to do something that you haven’t done or wouldn’t do yourself” and “always listen to the employees”. I eventually became the production supervisor when I graduated from high school and worked for him full-time. I later joined the Navy for the better benefits. The lessons he taught me, stuck with me during my 29-year Navy career.  I always respected, listened to and took care of the sailors that were in my charge.

“Never ask your employees to do something that you haven’t done or wouldn’t do yourself”

I had some awesome mentors and worked for great leaders while in the Navy as well.  Their leadership style fostered growth and learning and taught me a lot about being a good leader.

I went through the Navy Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) about a year before my EAOS.  I received instruction on how to write a resume, interviewing techniques, and suggestions on how to dress for the interview.  It was recommended that I buy “What Color Is Your Parachute” to assist in my transition as well. I started writing resumes and getting my wife and friends to proofread them.  One of the biggest challenges was stating exactly what I was looking for in my career.

In speaking with professional head hunters, one of their first questions was “what field you want to work in”. I was a leader in the military, I wanted to continue leading people and managing programs or departments. I didn’t care in what field. Unfortunately, that was not the answer they were looking for.  They wanted to me to narrow it down to a field or two.

I also connected with professionals on LinkedIn that lived in the Charlotte area since I wanted to relocate there.  I sought out and joined professional groups in Charlotte related to the fields I was interested in. When I went to North Carolina to visit family, I would take a day and go to Charlotte to attend networking events put on by the LinkedIn groups I had joined.  

I started sending out resumes to companies approximately three months prior to last day in the Navy.  About one month before my retirement, one of my subordinate sailors aboard my last submarine, called to discuss his job and employer.  He told his boss about me, my leadership style and thought I would be a great fit. After introductions and a lunch meeting, I was set up with an interview.  I was offered a position a couple of days later. The only problem was the job was in Glastonbury, CT and not Charlotte, NC. Since my house had not yet sold, I decided to take job offer. After I had officially accepted, I learned they weren’t even planning on hiring at the time. I had a job lined up before my retirement ceremony and started my new career while on terminal leave. Everything fell into place because this young sailor remembered me and how I treated him and the department while serving as their Engineering Department Master Chief.   

Fast forward three and half years, my house sold (finally) and my employer allowed me to move to the Charlotte area and work from home.  All the networking I did on LinkedIn has paid off as well. I belong to a couple of great organizations in the Charlotte area as well as hold the position of board member for PMI-Metrolina.   

Waiting till you are about to transition out of the military is too late to start planning for it.  Always treat others as you wished to be treated is the best advice I can give to military members. Start early in your career treating your peers and your subordinates with respect, kindness and compassion. Listen to them. Mentor them. Teach and coach them. It not only helps your department, command, or branch of service; it could be beneficial during and after your transitioning. You never know when or how your paths will cross again. Also, it’s just a decent thing to do. If I wasn’t mentored and coached to be a successful leader who took care of his sailors, I would not have been offered that position when they weren’t even looking to hire.  

Master Chief Electronics Technician (Submarines) Charles S. Logan was born in Randolph, Vermont and grew up in the small town of Bethel, VT. and graduated Whitcomb High School in 1981.  In November 1985, he enlisted in the Navy as a Nuclear Electronics Technician.

Master Chief Logan served on six submarines including: USS DANIEL Boone (SSBN 629 GOLD; USS JACKSONVILLE (SSN 699); USS MAINE (SSBN 741 GOLD); PCU NORTH CAROLINA (SSN 777); USS TEXAS (SSN 775); and USS PROVIDENCE (SSN 719) as the Engineering Department Master Chief (EDMC).

He also served at the following shore commands: Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU); Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC); Naval Submarine Support Facility as the Repair Department Master Chief (RDMC); and finally, The Historic Ship Nautilus Museum (SSN 571) as the Command Master Chief (CMC) until he retired in March of 2014.

Master Chief Logan’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy Achievement Medal (9 awards), Navy Good Conduct Medal (8 awards), Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Expert Rifle and Pistol Medals and various unit commendations and service ribbons.

Master Chief Logan is married to the former Sandra Reilly.  They have 3 boys, Reilly, Austin and Preston as well as 1 girl, Peyton. They reside in Waxhaw, NC. Charles Logan can be contacted on Linkedin here.


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