In this episode, Tim and Brock talk with Austin Lieberman.
Austin served as a Tactical Air Control Party Officer in the Air Force from 2011 to 2018, joining through ROTC. While in the National Guard, Austin leveraged the time and skills learned while active to land a consulting job at Slalom. Since then, Austin has worked as a career coach at Lambda School, a lead advisor at 7Investing, and now manages money professionally at Social Capital.
Austin walks us through how being public about your hobbies and interests leads to interesting opportunities. His focus on producing high quality content online has led him to connect with people and opportunities he never thought possible. We also discuss how to transform your resume from military titles to real world titles that businesses want to hire.
You can follow Austin on Substack and on Twitter @LiebermanAustin.
The Scuttlebutt Podcast - The podcast for service members and veterans building a life outside the military.
The Scuttlebutt Podcast features discussions on lifestyle, careers, business, and resources for service members. Show host, Brock Briggs, talks with a special guest from the community committed to helping military members build a successful life, inside and outside the service.
For episodes of the show, transcripts, and weekly newsletter, check out Scuttlebuttpodcast.co
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Brock Briggs 0:17
Hello and welcome to the Scuttlebutt with Tim and Brock. Our guest today is Austin Lieberman. Austin was a tactical air control party officer in the Air Force from 2011 to 2018. And followed up with a couple years in the National Guard. Since then, he's worked for slalom as a consultant, a career coach at lambda school, the lead advisor at seven investing as well as common stock and substack. And now works for social capital. Austin, welcome to the show.
Austin Lieberman 0:46
Hey, thanks. only comment is just you know, you should probably change the name of this entire thing to something more Air Force oriented. You know, there's enough Navy stuff going on already. We don't Oh, man.
Tim McCarthy 0:59
Just be right. I will absolutely throw every dig I can at the Air Force moving. Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Austin Lieberman 1:09
Yeah. There's a lot of jealousy out there. You know, gosh, it's
Tim McCarthy 1:13
It's already starting.
Brock Briggs 1:15
I didn't think that we're gonna be getting this from you. Yeah,
Austin Lieberman 1:19
I was totally normal when we were having a conversation beforehand. Yeah. In all seriousness, thanks for having me. Excited about what you guys are doing. And you know, I think the audience out there, whether they're still serving, Good serve, never served, have family members that have served, potentially hiring veterans, or transitioning. I think like content and podcasts like this, channels like this can be super helpful for that stuff, whether you just like, need to hear some of these stories, or maybe you're going through some of this transition stuff. It can, it can all be like, kind of big and scary, and also lonely at times. So yeah, this is cool.
Tim McCarthy 1:56
Well, thank you. I appreciate it.
Brock Briggs 1:58
That's very true. I think that there is a very large unserved niche in the kind of military space in general, at least when it comes to content. So well, we're hoping to fill that. So a little bit about you, you kind of told us here beforehand, you were I'm going to use tak P, cuz that title is a bit of a mouthful. Did you join the Air Force to do that? What What was the lead up to that? And and talk a little bit about filling that position?
Austin Lieberman 2:30
Yeah, no, I didn't join the Air Force to do that. Um, so I go all the way all the way back? I,
Tim McCarthy 2:41
Let's, let's start with, yeah, let's start with like, the origin story. Like, I guess, why you joined and then lead into that?
Austin Lieberman 2:50
Yeah. Yeah, when I was younger, I played baseball, my whole my whole life growing up, you know, very competitively. To the point where even through high school, the goal is to, you know, play high level Division One, potentially even get drafted, which is a lot of probably like people's goals at that point, right. And a lot of times it's, it's unrealistic. In middle school, I got hit with a line drive. I was playing on like a high school travel team. And we were playing homerun Derby, before practice one day, and this kid was in like ninth grade, I think I was in sixth or seventh. Or maybe he was in eighth grade. didn't hit any homeruns. And he threw a ball up and hit it, and I was pitching. And because he had finished his round, we were all like picking the balls up, and I was gonna go in and hit and so I wasn't even looking. And the next thing I know, there's just like a line drive coming straight at my face. And it hit me kind of like right here in the head, which you can see there's a awesome dent in scar and so that that It fractured my skull, I had internal bleeding, had to go to hospital, got flown in a helicopter to Arnold Palmer in Orlando, and end up having surgery to drain the blood and then and so that thing happening like kind of set things in motion later in life, I guess, like maybe lead to outcomes later in life that probably would have never happen. It's just like funny how that stuff works. Right. And so I ended up being okay, went back to playing baseball. You know, it's weird. I was like, I was a right handed hitter, right? Which means you're you're standing if you're like, looking at the pitcher, you're standing in the box on the left side, which means that the left side of your body is facing the pitcher. And so that's the side where I got hit. And so I tried not to be scared or afraid, but I think like subconsciously, maybe it did impact me later on and threaten, like, Who knows if that had an effect on like, performance, stuff like that. But, um, so fast forward starting college. I started my freshman year in college. pledge at a private school on a 50% scholarship. But two days before we broke for, for like Christmas break or the fall break, or maybe like a week before I got a note from the registrar's office that none of my tuition had been paid. And what happened was, you know, my parents didn't want me to have to work and they wanted to figure out a way to pay for the other 50%. But as a private school when I was out of state, and so they were just unable to pay for it, like, arrange the finances. And so without even talking to him, I just decided that I was, it was gonna put my parents in too much debt. And I packed all my stuff. And I left the school that and never went back after after Christmas break at the Fall Break. And so went back home, we did Christmas and stuff. And then I started the rest of my freshman year at the local community college because it was too late to enroll in, like any universities or anything. So I worked save some money. And this was back in like in Vero Beach, Florida, or Sebastian, Florida. And then I applied to the University of Central Florida to start my sophomore year, and a share all that because all the prior stuff really no, because it's just like, things totally, you just never know how things are going to turn out, right. And so I was at UCF, tried to walk onto the baseball team there hadn't been playing for like six months, really. And that didn't work out. And then I was just like, left in this situation where I had played sports my whole life, and didn't really know how to just be like, a random student on a campus or number or whatever. And so I needed something to like, feel like I had a purpose or whatever, or like I was working towards something. And there's a program called Reserve Officer Training Corps. I guess, if you're listening to this, you probably know what that is. So I did, I started Air Force ROTC at the University of Central Florida, my sophomore year of college, after never having any military exposure, the only exposure I had, I mean, my grandfather was in World War Two. And then I had some like distant uncles and stuff. My girlfriend, my senior year of high school, got recruited to the Air Force Academy. And I learned about the military and the Air Force Academy thought was kind of cool. And like sort of, like, ran with her a little bit as she got ready to go. And obviously, I beat her and all the rotten, I'm just kidding.
But um, that was my only exposure to you know, potentially becoming an officer that, Hey, there's this other course than just being a student in college, and you might have some options, and you take the class, and that's where you learn, like, kind of the academics in the military study in history and leadership classes, stuff like that. And then in addition to that you have whatever the requirements are, for that program. And so for us, there was like, after school stuff, and, and then on, on, we had PT in the mornings, physical training. And so essentially, you do that for like, two years, or three years, then you go to field training. Either like, yeah, generally your junior year of college. Now, you're, it's between, between your sophomore and junior years. And after field training, that's where it's like, you get a little bit more committed, you potentially sign a contract or whatever, to then commit to doing your first four years or whatever, I might have some of that stuff off. But yeah, it's, it's additional training, essentially, to get you ready. And then essentially, you you graduate, or you commission, you know, what job you're going into, and then you commissioned directly as a second lieutenant in in the Air Force. And so, yeah, back to the original question, did I know what I was going to do? You can generally you find out your senior year, if you're gonna go into like, kind of like the general jobs where you put in what your preferences are, and then there's like, you either get it or you don't that might be like, legal or other stuff. And then, and then there's certain things that are sort of like special applications. And so one of those things is like being a pilot. And then there's other jobs. And for me, I wanted to be a combat rescue officer, which, if you've heard of like PJ's or pet rescue in combat rescue officers, the officer career field Paracin is the enlisted career field. Same general function. You go to you apply, and then you go to a special selection process. So it's a week long selection at Fairchild and Washington of it's still there. And this is in 2010 that I went and of getting selected from that which is like, I don't know, maybe five or 10% of people that like start the application process actually, like make it through the week and, and get selected. And so I also had up pilot slot which I turned a turn the pilot slot down after I accepted the CRO contract. And so my job leaving ROTC was to be a combat rescue officer that requires two to three years of training. And I failed out of I failed a swim at the like at the beginning of that training. Which essentially forced me to either I was gonna either be like, forced out because I had lost my job, or I had to retrain and go into a different career field. I didn't want to go to like a normal Airforce job. And so the tech P officer was another semi related or like, operational type of role. That was, that kind of aligned with, like, the intentions that I already had to do, you know, I wanted to, like, test myself and, you know, see if I could even do it. Like, I was a horrible swimmer. And didn't even know if I could make it through that, that training initially, for the crow stuff, because there's like water confidence, there's lots of running and swimming, you know, all that stuff. And so I just liked the challenge. I like the idea of like, doing more, and I was young and healthy and and wanted to see if I can do it, you know?
Brock Briggs 11:18
Did that? Did that kind of take the wind out of your sails. Like yelling out of that?
Austin Lieberman 11:24
Yeah, I was devastated. I'm, like, I literally like, was in tears. After I mean, you, when you fail that, you know, that test you then they took all the students. So there's this weird thing, like, there was a standard that change which I should have been ready for it. Anyways, I just I hadn't trained under the standard that I needed to be in that one area, which was a major lesson learn, like, never be as good as a standard, like, you need to be better than the standard because things are gonna change. And you gotta be ready for that. But like 45 or 50% of our class failed that swim. And then afterwards, it's like you meet with all the instructors and stuff. And then they figure out like, Hey, you're going home or whatever. And I was like, devastated. I was absolutely devastated because because by that point, I had trained for five years to get ready for that point, like, it was that was in 2012. And I had, I started training in 2008, essentially. So four years ago, I was at UCF. And so I found out about this whole career field, because I had connected with somebody that was a PJ in Vietnam, his name is David Nelson. And he was on this historical mission where pitsenbarger, who's a Medal of Honor recipient, think he was Medal of Honor recipient, recipient. And there's a movie that came out about him like last year. I forget the name of it. But he was on that mission. And he helped us do some like ropes courses in ROTC. So I learned about the career field. And then there was a rescue Squadron at Koko, just like an hour away. And I called over there because I had again, it was hard to figure out like, Okay, what were the requirements for this career, but it was a brand new career field. So it's hard to figure out what the requirements were. And then there was a lot of like, underwater stuff. Like Buddy breathing and mask and snorkel recoveries, and Underwater Swimming, that's, like really dangerous to do. And I had no idea how to do it. And I guess this is another lesson I learned early on is it's like, if you want something, you find a way to like, learn it and go do it. And you show that you want it right. And so I just call around and got ended up talking to like a recruiter at at Patrick, Air Force Base, and Coco, and then talk to some of the crows and PJ's there, and they're like, Yeah, we have guys training for this. So you can come out. And I spent like three weeks driving there every day and do it in training with them. And this is over like a break in college. I think it was like either spring break or Christmas or something. And so I had literally dedicated you know, four years of my life to try to train for this thing. And then I fail out of it. And it was like, my identity was associated with it. And you just have like a lot of sunk costs and sunk a motion and then but ultimately, once I got over that, I realized I should have trained better and been more prepared and I wasn't and that there was still opportunities to go do some other cool stuff. And the tak P or eight or liaison officer career field, got changed got changed over tech, the officer was a really cool thing. And then ended up doing that my whole career from 2011 to 2018. And then even in the National Guard. And like I was devastated at first but like it couldn't have couldn't have landed in a better spot and met better friends and teammates and had opportunities to do like more amazing things. Um, so yeah, then then that was another two years of training essentially because you go through all the tech school, survival school joint firepower course, number of other courses, and then ultimately, like, go to your squadron, get the training there. And then at that time, it was like after that it was like a the standard was like you deploy. And so I deployed in 2015 The I just like jumped all around. Oh, no, essentially no, I didn't know I was gonna do that screwed up really bad but then ended up in a good spot
Brock Briggs 15:40
That ball you got hit Ned with musta hit you pretty hard to keep you coming back for more after all that because that's pretty impressive, man. Like get back up and keep playing baseball and then also keep on the course after not after fell out. I think that that's that's pretty respectable.
Tim McCarthy 15:58
You. You said something about you kind of like Thai? You'd been training for this. For this moment for it sounds like yours. And then you'd tied your identity to it. And you're you're devastated. Which makes sense. I don't know how many people when I when Brock and I were in our a school in Pensacola, Florida, how many buds dropouts do you think were there? I mean, all these guys on the enlisted side, they join the Navy to be a Navy Seal, go to buds drop out, and then, you know, either fell a test or whatever. And then now they're like, Okay, you got to pick something else. And then they would either go rescue swimmer or, you know, maintain or something like that. And it just seems like all of those guys had such a chip on their shoulder. When they got there. I mean, they just when they first would get there, they just seemed like the biggest assholes, for lack of better term. And then you start talking to him. And that was the exact situation, you know, they had tied so much into this training and so many years training to go be a Navy SEAL. And then they either fell a swim or a lot of guys would get hurt on a run that kind of thing. So that's, I've seen it happen a lot, which is sad. But it sounds like you've persevered and, and everything worked out for the best in that situation. So that's awesome. So what is what is so you, you do that? And then now you transition into being tak P? What does that job look like? Like? What's the what's the day to day life and attack P officer?
Austin Lieberman 17:31
Yeah. So at first, the first first couple of years, you're really just in training, right? And going to the training, whether it's tech school, or a couple of different courses, you go to your, your more, you're in like a you've got like team leaders position where there might be two or three officers at at the course. And then you've got a team of maybe 45 or 50 enlisted personnel. And, you know, your job is to there's obviously instructors and stuff there. But your job is to kind of help like lead the team and help. Help mentor and sometimes it's like, physically get people through these courses. And so and then you're also kind of like, if you hear my kids screaming, just just tell me and I
Tim McCarthy 18:28
I get it no, you're fine.
Austin Lieberman 18:30
And so there's that aspect of it. And then once you're done with the training, you get to your, your squadron. And there's more training. So essentially, like, your rank at that point doesn't matter. You're just you're just in the training pool of of the people that got there and need to essentially get like mission qualified, right. And so you do like tech, tactical level training, but your radio stuff, there's academic training, gotta get trained on the vehicles and the weapons and everything like that. And so yeah, the first few years are just are just really training and it's like the tactical stuff, you need to be deployable for the job. And then as you get to say, the, you know, the captain level, which is after four years in the Air Force you, you start to, you're kind of like done with all of your mission qualification training, maybe you've deployed once, and then you're either like an assistant flight commander, which is a flight as, you know, whatever, 3030 people in active duty or you become a flight commander, and that's where you're responsible for flight, you oversee their training. You've obviously got like an enlisted chief of the flight that that is like the tactical expert, who helps make sure everybody's hitting their tech milestones and does like that, that type mentorship and you just work together to make sure that that the flight is hitting all their true Any milestones, and then everybody does a little bit different. But essentially, the idea is that flights would deploy together. It hasn't exactly been that way just because of like, how a lot of the deployments went where we were just sending one, maybe three guys at a time. Yeah, and then and then so you do that. And then once you're done with your kind of flight commander time, you just move up to more managerial or administrative type roles in the squadron where you might be a Director of Operations Assistant Director of Operations, where you're kind of like overseeing training and readiness for the entire squadron versus just your flight sustained, you know, probably pretty standard to any job, it's just there's the, the cool thing we get to do is just like, which is also hard, is you just go TDY a lot, you get to do a lot of really cool training with fighter squadrons and fighter jets. And essentially, like going out on ranges or out in the middle of nowhere. And, and doing close air support. Training, which can be fun. Like, there's, there's these things called military operations areas MOAs, where planes are authorized to fly over, they're obviously not allowed to have like any type of ordnance on them whatsoever. But they're just these like rural areas. And so be driving around in trucks, like in cities, on radios, talking to trains, or talking to planes overhead, doing like a simulated type type training. And it's pretty cool finding simulated targets that obviously nothing, there's no real ammunition here, nothing, none of that is real, but it's all you can talk to them. And based on what they can look down and see and what you can see, you're practicing the steps that you would have to do if you were in that real situation, to conduct close air support.
Brock Briggs 21:53
So you guys, I'm imagine you've got a bunch of computers, and you're looking at coordinates and all of these things. And then you guys are telling the planes or the jets or whoever, hey, this is what the target is. And are you guys actually giving the weapons release authority for that?
Austin Lieberman 22:11
Yep, that's the big, that's kind of like the big responsibility that A. So if you hear the word JTAG, or Joint Terminal Attack controller, that's the big responsibility that they have. And what you go through all this training for is ultimately to be that clearance authority to actually give the aircraft the verbal clearance over the radio, for them to drop their munitions. And there's other situations where like a JTAG might not be required. But yeah, that was, that was essentially our job. And so everything up to that point, the planning is knowing where if you're, you know, if you're deployed in the Middle East, like knowing where civilians are knowing where friendlies are, knowing where the enemy is, and there are times where that's done from like an operation center, so you're in, like, at a base of some sort, and have tons of computers around you and all those resources. But there's also times where people do it out, either in some type of armored vehicle, or when we were in training, we were just like driving around in trucks, where literally, you have like a radio, and maybe some devices like GPS 's and range finders that you can figure out where something is located, either by getting like GPS coordinates, or by like seeing it. And then the pilots, the pilot, also seeing it and saying, Yep, that's, that's the target. The friendlies are here, we know you see us, and there's things you do that just make sure that it's like, safe, where you verify back and forth kind of, but yeah, that's the best job such and so it's a lot of fun, and it's dangerous to, which is also interesting and fun. And just a lot of stories, like a lot of you know, fun stuff out TDY like speeding across ranges and like trying to get trying to get to places on time and like getting stuck out in the desert, you know, all this, all this stuff that's like fun, but also kind of miserable.
Tim McCarthy 24:14
The best, the best, worst time of your life.
Austin Lieberman 24:17
Tim McCarthy 24:17
Is what I like to say.
Brock Briggs 24:19
I imagine that. There's a lot of it sounds like you guys are going through a lot of the verification process of figuring out verify, hey, this is what it is. How much judgment is being exercised in in a position like that. What is the you know, is there anything where like a this is a gray area, but I need to I need to make a decision about what this is.
Austin Lieberman 24:47
Yeah, I mean, that's, that's like most of the job is it's never I don't want to say never, but like most of the time, it's not just like very, very obvious. Actually in those in those dynamic types of situations where maybe on the ground, you're moving, and there's like, simulated friendly positions, like maybe they simulate that there's like another convoy moving in a friendly convoy moving in the area or something like that. It's hard, hardly ever was it like very, like binarias, super obvious that like, yep, that's target, nobody's nearby, you always have to think through things. And I mean, we have all kinds of checklists and safety procedures that like, I don't want to bore anybody go into like details about all that stuff. But there are checks and balances between the controller on the ground, plus the aircraft, plus anybody else that's monitoring or listening to make sure like, hey, those coordinates that you gave look like they're in the right spot. And at least you and the pilot, think that you're talking about the same thing, which is important. And then confirming that the federal Yeah, yeah, confirming that the thing you're actually talking about is a target, because you also have to make sure of that. And then and then checks and balances to make sure, hey, there's no friendlies that are too close, there's no civilians that are too close. And it, it can all move really fast sometimes and be really hard and, but then you fall back on kind of like, the basic fundamental level of training that you have, as well as the tools that you have that are in place to help you like get through those situations and make those good decisions. And like, a lesson is just like, it's really easy for people to want to go do all the cool stuff and forget about the fundamentals. Or it's really easy when things get going crazy to get away from your process or the checklist or whatever. And try to skip steps. And when you skip those steps and take shortcuts is when mistakes happen. And even in training, I mean, there are training accidents that happen sometimes where people you know, people do get injured and sometimes die in training. And so it's, it's, you know, super serious, even when you're just in training, which is like part of the stress, but also the fun of the job is it's like a huge responsibility. And then yeah, I mean, the opportunity to deploy and then go do your job deployed is kind of like, what everybody does it for, right? Which it sounds weird, but when you train that long for something, and like, that's the mindset that you're in, even though deployments can be really hard, it's like, that's what you want to go do. Because there's all these people that have gone before you and done it, and you hear like stories of Legends, you know, and you just want to kind of like, do your part, essentially.
Brock Briggs 27:43
I feel like that's something that is instilled in the military very, very early on, about deploying and being put to work. I don't know. I don't know. Tim, did you feel that at all?
Tim McCarthy 27:57
Yeah, I I think it starts right and boot camp, at least from from the enlisted side. And I'm sure that it's the same from the officer side. But yeah, it's that is definitely implemented right away. And then so for me personally, I was in the Navy, they call it shore duty, right off the jump. So I went to a training squadron where their whole mission was training, rescue swimmers and pilots. So I worked on helicopters. I was an avionics technician. And so that squadrons entire mission was to train rescue swimmers and pilots. And you were talking about how people in training, you know, there's accidents that happen in training, people get hurt and die. I remember, this is just a training Squadron, you know, and nobody really thought anything of it. But it was super eye opening to me, I was out at lunch with my wife who I think she was my girlfriend at the time. And I got a text message from my chief. And he was basically like, Hey, don't say anything to anybody. We had a bird go down. Get in here as soon as you can stay off social media. So I remember just looking at my wife being like, a helicopter crashed, and we I have to get in. And you know, and so your heart is just racing the entire time, especially for from a maintainer standpoint, because that's I'm the one who works on those helicopters. And all I'm thinking of is did I mess something up? Like am I the reason? So anyway? Yeah, I'm kind of getting off on a tangent. But yes, I would. I would agree with you, for sure.
Brock Briggs 29:42
I kind of am curious from, from your perspective, something that I personally I guess I've been grappling with is I think that when it comes to that, kind of fulfilling that higher mission, I think that there are times where part of the the deploying or Getting out and maybe not having felt like you did everything that you could. Or like maybe that you should have done more or like, or spent more time in or anything like that. Have you ever experienced anything like that or felt anything like that while you were on your deployment? I know you said you'd deployed to Kuwait one time.
Austin Lieberman 30:22
Yeah, I mean, that's I think that's something that I mean, especially and I speak from, like, personal experience in the career field I was in were joined a career field that was like, had, guys and I say, guys, because at the time, this is like back in the early 2000s. It, I think, like being a male, and I'm not saying I agree with this, but it was only a male career field. For whatever reason, they just had those requirements in their career field. And so when I say, guys, that's why I'm saying, guys. But having having guys that had played a key role in like, the invasion in Iraq, and then through Afghanistan, and all this, and just like, the stories you hear, and the things that they did. And then also, like the guys that were lost, right, like, you, it's part of the greater community, like why everybody's there, essentially. And so it's like, you've, you want to get your training done, you want to go deploy, right. And our timeframe was like, there were definitely still deployments, but you had to meet like, to go do certain types of deployments, you had to be fully JTAG qualified, which took that could take four years, sometimes just because of the amount of time it takes. And then there was like, people volunteering. And so essentially, it's like, you put your name down, you say, yep, um, I'm gonna be done with my training in that window. And I'm, I'm volunteering for deployment in that window. And you kind of like, get what comes right. And, and it sounds weird, but it's like, when the the people that got the, you know, the hot deployments are the ones that, you know, there were, it was going to be action, it's like, they're kind of looking forward to that. I mean, it can be really challenging and dangerous. And like, I don't want to celebrate that at all. But it's like, that's why you do this training and go through these jobs, because you want to you want to go do that. Right. And so yeah, I mean, I, I had a little bit longer of the whole, like the training pipeline, because of having to transfer from CRO and starting there and having to then go through more training as a techie officer, and Alo, which is what it's called Career ale at the time. Sort of, like put that delay on my, on my career. And then I volunteered for the deployment. And then it's just like, the one that came down was this deployment to Kuwait. And it was, essentially we're, there's like a response for us, right? Where we were not deploying directly to, you know, we'll call it like a combat area. But there was a chance that if they needed additional people, or an additional squadron or whatever, it's like, we were the closest ones. There we were, we were the, the either whole team or individuals that would go. And it turned out like, that's not what happened when my deployment. So my deployment, I was the, it was called the partnership Alo. And so my job was, it was awesome. Like I had a great time. It was to go around, and in help some of our partner nations. So Jordan, the UAE, the UK, France, Belgium. And there's a number of other other militaries as well. I think Saudi Arabia, Egypt, number of others, help them with close air support training. And then some of them were trying to like, essentially create Jay tax or going to an old tech patrols of their own, which there's all kinds of requirements and stuff. I'm really just like, help them get to where they are, we could partner with them. And then obviously, as the US and our allies, like, we want to make them as strong as possible, so that in these situations, we have, you know, a good entire team there. And it's not just us based. So I got to travel around a lot like I spent time and in Jordan, in the UAE, and going to these, like planning conferences for these exercises. And for These planning conferences, you generally stay at like really nice hotels because they got to have like enough security and stuff like that. And then the places that have the security of these nice hotels. So I was deployed and I was like getting to go stay at these awesome hotels and go to These planning conferences and like wear a suit and stuff and not like not a normal deployment by any means. And we had a whole whole squadron of like fun already guys, and it was like, I mean, we joked about everybody like made fun of me for how like, easy I had it. But also I tried to, I tried to find ways that we could bring, you know a number of people to go to these either different training events or like enjoy, enjoy some, some of those niceties instead of sleeping in, like the tents that we were sleeping in and in Kuwait.
But I never, I never actually had a combat deployment. And so the reason I started thinking about getting out is because we had a miscarriage in 2000, we had my son in 2015. And in the deployment I had volunteered for I left two months after he was born, or a month after he was born. And I was gone for seven months. And then after that, we PCs, we moved bases, we had a miscarriage, that was hard. And then we had and then my wife got pregnant with our daughter. And it was after the miscarriage. I found out and again, I had, there's this weird thing where it's like you can volunteer for deployment. But that doesn't necessarily count against your non voluntary deployment status, because they have certain deployments that are non voluntary. I ended up like basically being up for a non voluntary one year deployment, and it wasn't going to be like a combat deployment and operational deployment necessarily was going to be another training type of one. And I knew that that meant if I wanted to get that, like, deployed experience that I really wanted, I would have to then come back after a year and then train up and deploy again. And because of what had happened with our family, I just wasn't. And we as a family weren't ready for me to leave again, a month after my daughter was born for a year. And then knowing that I would want to deploy again after that. And I was at the I was coming up on like the eight year mark in my career, where, because our career field was undermanned, they offer like bonuses, and you sign this, this bonus, and you commit to another four years, that puts you to 12 years, and then it's like, you might as well stay in because you're at 12 years, you might as well just go to 20. And so we just knew as a family, like, Hey, this is the time that it makes sense for me to get out if that's what I'm going to do. Fortunately, I, I had some connections to an Air National Guard squad, and that does the same job. And so I ended up joining the Air National Guard and doing that. But to answer your question like, yeah, that's something I struggled with in the decision to get off of active duty, it was easier because I knew I had this option to join the Air National Guard and still have the potential to deploy and do that job. But it's a, it's a decision that I struggle with, like with whether it's staying in or getting out of the Air National Guard, because still, I never ultimately, you know, did a combat deployment. But the thing that I've kind of like settled on and maybe I'm just settling settling on this, because it's like how it worked out for me is that even though I didn't directly get deployed, I still had an opportunity to train with a bunch of people. Help mentor hopefully, and just guide some of our enlisted force, who are the real tactical experts are the ones that should be out there, like on those missions anyways, because they're the ones that that's exactly what they train for. Whereas as an officer, it's like, it's important to be tactically oriented and sound, but you, if that's all you're focused on, then you're not doing kind of what your job as an officer is, which is like making sure that everyone else is taken care of and prepared. So I guess I still look back on it. And I'm like, even though I didn't directly do it, I was still a part of that whole movement helped mentor some guys. And then ultimately was a part of what provided this. This capability that that the United States Air Force has, which is like Joint Terminal Attack, controllers, that whole thing, like I was a part of that, that whole thing, and then that whole thing together provides this really important capability and reach for the US military and really the world in my opinion. And so I guess that's where I settled on is like, Hey, I was there, I would have certainly done it if if that was how my deployment worked out or another one worked out, but it didn't and I wasn't going to make my my wife and our family go through that. Just because I still wanted that opportunity. But it's definitely hard.
Tim McCarthy 39:32
That's definitely a it's a tough thing that especially somebody I feel like most at least on the enlisted side. Most people join single and you know, they really don't have any ties and then once you get to that point where you have either a husband or wife and you guys start having kids and your your perspective really changes and one thing I never really realized until probably a couple of years after I got out is how hard it is to be gone on your kids. And in my case, my wife, I was out just having fun working on helicopters, you know, with my best friends. And it's a tough thing. And I feel like anybody with a family, that's usually the main reason why they get out is it just it's the best decision for the family. I want to transition into your reserved time, that's something that I did, you know, I got out of active duty went into the reserves time, was that kind of shocking for you transitioning into that into the reserves? was a different? Is it everything you thought it would be?
Austin Lieberman 40:48
Yeah, you know, are the guard that I did was pretty unique probably. Because I was able to transition directly, they had the exact same job and setup, I mean, they have tak P the exact same thing and the guard and Air National Guard as they do on active duty. And actually, the guard squadron that I joined, had a reputation of like being far more deployed than then any active duty squadron that I was a part of. And that was kind of like by choice. And that's just what they what they like, the people that join the squadron like that's essentially like they join knowing that. And a lot of them, you know, when initially I thought about the guard of the reserve, I was like, yeah, that's just part time you do a part time, whatever. A lot of them put in a lot more time than that, because of the training requirements and deployments and things like that. And so a lot of the people that squadron are like, police officers, or firefighters or EMTs, or whatever, and then those two career fields just go well together. Because there's a mutual understanding, it's also really, really challenging because they're super busy, and still taken away from their family. But it was an awesome experience. The the thing that's tough, though, is that I had a like a civilian job. And so the challenging thing was trying to balance the time requirements of keeping the JTAG qualification and all of that stuff while doing a civilian job. And then you've at some point, I just had to think about like, what is the impact on my civilian career of me missing time? And, you know, so you go through that whole thing. And that was like another challenge in itself. But it's, yeah, I mean, it was just a great experience. And it allowed me to at least, like continuing to train and I didn't get an opportunity to deploy with the with the guard squatter, just because then my wife was pregnant again. And then COVID happened, my wife is a nurse, and so like she couldn't miss work, because there was a whole COVID. So it's just like this, you know, this random thing of events or whatever that happened that like still didn't, I didn't get a chance to go do that, just because the timing didn't work out. But it was it was still a good opportunity. So not not a whole lot of shock there because I knew like what I was getting into with the with the guard for the Air Force.
Brock Briggs 43:17
That sounds like that. It sounded like that required a little bit more from you than just the one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer. I think that that's most people when they think reserve their you know, go play army on the weekend, and, you know, do whatever and then you go home at the end of the day. Yeah. Sounds like that was a lot different.
Austin Lieberman 43:37
Yeah, I think I mean, I did it for like two years, I think I averaged, like, between 30 and 60 days. TD like TDY, which is like offer training in addition to like, the one weekend a month or whatever, like another probably 30 to 40 days a year of training for Yeah, which is tough when you're missing work and stuff.
Tim McCarthy 44:02
I know that that's yeah, that is like, that's ultimately why I ended up getting out of the reserves as it was. It was taken away from my, my civilian job. And you know, I started doing the reserves just for the health care portion of it and TRICARE super good, really, really affordable. It sounds like you kind of had a pretty easy time and it's everything that you had expected. Whereas, at least in my experience, and I don't know if that's because I'm based here in Idaho, but there was a it was a big culture shock. I showed up to my nost or you know, my command and it was like, what do we do all day? Like what is our you know, and other than the super high ranking enlisted or officers the E one two e five really just kind of sat around on their phones and I'm like I could be making way more money in my civilian job. This is really stupid. So I'm glad that that you had that experience, because I did not have that same experience, it was eye opening.
Austin Lieberman 45:08
But that's what you got to think about too is it's like, if you have a civilian job, then like, what are and it's hard to quantify this, because it's hard to know. But it's like, what progression are you sacrificing in your civilian job to go and miss this time, and you might not. And then specifically for like, the career field I'm in again, we're like, doing this very dangerous task where we're controlling airstrikes, potentially. But then in addition to that, just like training can be dangerous, too. We do rappelling, we do live shooting, jumping, you know, like, jumping on a plane, like all different kinds of stuff, right? All of those things can be dangerous. And I didn't feel like I was focused enough. If I'm just doing it part time, I felt like I was putting myself in more danger, potentially putting other people in more danger to where it's like, then ultimately, like, what am I what am I doing it for? And am I putting people? Is it? Am I taking on too much risk? And then am I actually going to go deploy? And it's like, what impact Am I having at that point? And would there be a way to have more impact? Maybe it's some way to give back or like you guys doing this podcast or whatever? Like, could I have more impact on the veteran community, spending my time other ways than what I was having in the guard? Like, that's kind of the point that I got to and it's like, you're just thinking way too much about it, but like, something I definitely struggle with. And it was hard to like, Finally, accept the fact that I wasn't going to be in the military anymore at all, you know, like, for sure. Because when I joined is like I was gonna do 20 years for sure, no matter what, like, that's, that's what I wanted to do. You know?
Tim McCarthy 46:49
Yeah, well, you're kind of in like this weird state where you're like, you're one foot in one foot out, you know, one day, I'm putting the uniform on. And I'm, I'm driving to base and I, for me having flashbacks of being active duty, you know, given the gate, guard my ID and showing up and then two days later, I'm showing up to the office, you know, my sales job. It's just it's a weird, it's hard to separate them. So I totally, I totally get get that. Yep.
Brock Briggs 47:19
So you said you were working while you were in the guard? Like you had kind of a civilian job? What? What job was that? Like? What did you kind of roll into working wise after you got off of active duty? And like, I guess what were you sacrificing on that front to go? Do guard stuff?
Austin Lieberman 47:39
Yeah, yeah. And this is like an important topic, right. And so if you are thinking about getting out or already got out or know, somebody that got out, or potentially hiring veterans or whatever, like, this is where I think this is eye opening for me. So as a, like, the job I described in the military, essentially, like training and conducting airstrikes and closers for it's like, what does that have? That has nothing to do with anything in the civilian world, right?
Brock Briggs 48:06
Not much real world application. Really looks good on a resume, though.
Austin Lieberman 48:10
No, it doesn't. Because it's like, how do you even talk about that? Like, I wasn't going to go interview somewhere and say, like, yeah, my job was a call on airstrikes and kill bad guys. And like, you just, I didn't feel comfortable bringing even bringing that up in an interview. Because I didn't know like, what people thought about the military, I didn't know if they wouldn't, I wouldn't have the time to explain all the intricacies and how we made sure. You know, we did the right, you know, wouldn't have time for all that stuff in interviews, and then people are just gonna, like, make snap judgments of me, right. So I just thought about it. And like, I tried to, like, learn it like this is really where it's like, what really helped me make the transition was I had started investing in like individual stocks in 2012. And the way I started that was I became a Motley Fool subscriber. and The Motley Fool is this company. I couldn't stand their marketing stuff, but like, their actual services were pretty good. And through their services, you learn about investing and following actual businesses. And so, you know, I have a criminal justice degree from college, which is like useless in especially when you did it 10 years ago, and unless I wanted to become a cop, or involved in law enforcement, and nothing against anybody like that, the utmost respect for that, but that's not what I wanted to do after transitioning from a job that was like, took me away from home a lot in the military for 10 years, essentially. So fortunately, I learned I was following companies and like, had learned about some of these technologies, different businesses and like, just general business speak, right, which then helped me realize like, Alright, how do I think about putting these skills that I have into business terms? I mean, I did do a couple of programs that helped me Like with the transition experience, but some of them aren't that great. And so you've got to like learn a lot of this on your own. But essentially, you've got to make your job in the military without lying, like, you've got to make it fit what you want to do in the civilian world. And so the way you do that is you don't have to use exact job titles on like a resume that you had in the military, because nobody's going to understand that I, what I did was I had the the things that I did, and like those functions that I served in, maybe as operations manager, or consultant, or whatever. Those were the titles that I used on my resume as I was transitioning out, not Joint Terminal Attack controller or air liaison officer or flight commander, because no one would understand that. And so I was a consultant at a an amazing company called slalom consulting, which is like very military friendly, which is like part of how I even got that opportunity to first place. But what I thought about was like, What am I doing in the Air Force, and essentially, my job was to go into all these different organizations. And this is part of that like, partnership, Halo that I did while I was deployed, right? You have to learn their organizations learn what their mission is, learn the people, essentially, like learn what their product is, right? What are they trying to do, and then be able to implement our mission, which was close air support into what they were doing. And if you'd like look into it, that's exactly what a consultant does, you have to go in meet these teams understand how they work, and then implement something into their business. Maybe it's a new product, a new piece of software, or whatever. And so I had been doing that for like, eight years, and I had all of the kind of like intangible skills, what I didn't have was experience in like the software that they were using. So for example, Salesforce, or AWS, or whatever. And there's ways that online, like you can go and get some of that training for free. If you just like Google, it says, Salesforce has free training for veterans, it's called vet force, you know, you can get some of these certifications, some of this training and like, the specific skills that you need. And then you mark it, and, and tell recruiters and like, orient yourself towards the intangible attributes that you have, or like, the experience that you have. And so, yeah, I got into consulting, because I somehow convinced them that I had been a consultant, I got an opportunity to do like a 12 week fellowship while I was still on active duty. And this is where it's like, if you are getting out, make sure you take advantage of the transitions assistance programs, or you know, the, I don't know what they're called in the Navy, it's probably some weird made up term.
But that's what they call it, the Air Force. So take advantage of that stuff, but then don't realize, like, no one's gonna care about your transition as much as you and so you've got to just like I, and this is where I like tying it back to, hey, if you want something, go get it and figure it out. So I learned that first trying to train to be a combat rescue officer. And when I had no idea what the requirements were, how to do any of that stuff, I kind of kept that. And I mean, through the military, my job, it's like, you had to have that mindset of learning things and teaching yourself things. And so that's exactly how I apply that same thing to what I did. And what I realized is it's like, yeah, what's written on your resume matters. But what mattered just as much or more is my ability to reach out to people in network or somebody helping me out that was a veteran that was in one of these places that got me an interview or whatever, like, if you go do this stuff alone, like you're not going to get very far. So try to find somebody that can help you. And there's, you know, you can find these people on LinkedIn, you can find veterans on LinkedIn at these play. I mean, it's where you got to do a lot of like the self work to figure it out, if you want it and then just go after it and get it and don't like, don't limit yourself, I would have never thought I can be a consultant at this company. So don't limit your potential by like, selling yourself short and not even trying because you don't think you're gonna get it. You know,
Tim McCarthy 54:04
There's a couple couple interesting things there, that you had touched on the kind of tweaking your resume resume, Emma said, resume resume. I think that's a really, really good point, you know, somebody where you, you can't just put rescue swimmer or avionics technician or whatever. I think looking at the programs that maybe you ran while you were in, you know, were you an avionics technician? Or did you run and manage a tool program where they maintained 750 tools that you know, whatever it may be, and kind of unpacking what you did, rather than just the job title? Because as I'm sure all three of us know, your job title in the military isn't all it's not all you did, especially from the enlisted side of it. You know, you're you're kind of a sign All these different programs? And I'm sure it's the same thing on the officer side or I know it is because you're talking about him. I think that that's, that is huge and being able to, I guess, rename what you did and make it applicable in the civilian world. That's, that's really good advice.
Austin Lieberman 55:18
Yeah. The second job I had after, after being a consultant was so did the consultant thing for a year. And it was an awesome experience. So what a stay there, like, as long as possible, but I was in Atlanta, and we need to get back to Florida, to be close to our parents. And so ended up like finding a remote job where we could then move to Florida, because my, my wife's mom had, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and so spend on that my parents were having some health stuff. So we need to be like closer to our parents. That's like what took priority. The second job I had was, I was a career coach at lambda School, which is like a software development, they teach software development students how to become developers. And I was a career coach. So they offered like, like career coaching, resume, help, interview, prep all this stuff. And I just pulled up my resume from when I applied to that job. So like, my jobs in the military? Well, I had. So there's one block of professional experience was the consultant job I did. And then I grouped, I had eight years of military experience or nine years of military experience. At this point, I grouped all of that in like half a page, under one title, which was US Air Force training and development team leader. So again, that's where I took like, Okay, what was the job I was applying for, and what mattered in that job? Well, the job as a career coach needed to help train and develop people. And I catered the things I had done in the military without lying, like, I actually did these things. I just renamed them something that was relevant to the job that I was I was trying to get into, and then the bullets are the, you know, bullets that relate to training and developing people, which anybody in the military has done, right? Because at some point, like, that's what you do. So yeah, just kind of hitting home like, Hey, if you're going through this, don't put yourself in a box. And don't use military terminology on your resume, because no one's gonna understand it.
Brock Briggs 57:08
Yeah, well, I think that making going through and making a list of everything that you do, or like had done in your time and service, and then go trying to like, maybe go to somebody that isn't in and trying to read that to them to where that they can understand it, and then have them maybe try and help you with some words, or, or like you said, just translate that into something that what's the practical application of this? And even some, even if you didn't really do anything, and your entire time in, you did something like you said, Tim, there's, you did a lot whether it seems like it or not.
Tim McCarthy 57:44
Yeah, absolutely. I was pretty fortunate when I excuse me, when I transitioned from my first squadron to my second squadron and went on to shore duty, I worked with a guy who had actually got out and he was out for a couple months, because he was forced out. He didn't make rank in time. And I don't know how he ended up coming back in. But some loophole or something, he was able to rejoin, and essentially come right back to the squadron that he had left. So when I decided to get out, he'd already gone through that whole thing. And so he sat down with me for a couple days. And luckily, he had the same job as me and, and was able to be like, Hey, here's my resume, you know, look at how I'm wording it. And, you know, so I was able to kind of find a mentor to teach me how to do that. And I'm sure that that everybody every command has somebody who's able to smart enough able to do it, you know, you just got to ask the questions and and find the right people.
Brock Briggs 58:52
Well, I think that over even just if you do one enlistment or however short a time you're in, you've gone through some situations that are above average, like they were more difficult than your average day to day person has gone through. And so kind of pre crafting some some ideas about when you get that interview question about, you know, name, tell me about a time that you did something really difficult and you persevered through it, like, whatever, you know, it's the same questions that almost every single place but you've gone through something at some point in your military time where you can what or you can speak to that and kind of having that crafted up before you start looking for a job that I think is is helpful.
Austin Lieberman 59:40
Yep, yeah. 100% It's all about like, preparation and preparing. And then just being ready for like things change, just like same thing that makes you good at your military job or any job it should apply that to interference. The other thing is like, take ownership of the whole thing and like, again, no one's gonna care as much as you and like. This is like part of the career coaching thing coming in, right? It's like, make it as easy as possible for somebody to hire you, right? So it's like, don't put any like, like, don't make it complicated by or you want to better your chances by like responding to emails in a timely manner, just being professional, like all the small things that you would not think matter. And then, like, send personalized notes, or, you know, I got in the habit of jobs I applied to, there's a software called loom that loom.com that you can get for free, where you can record a video and put a link to it in an email. And then the person can like play it directly in that email without ever clicking out. And the success rate of like, and again, like you got to be genuine about this stuff. But the success rate of like the jobs, I applied to incent personalized messages, that related to like, what I had learned studying the company, or the person I was, like, interviewing with or whatever, almost 100%, right, because it's like, very, very rarely does somebody take those extra steps. If somebody's getting hundreds of applicants, you want to stand out in some way, right?
Tim McCarthy 1:01:12
Yeah, that's, that's ballsy in that, just like since to send a company a personalized video, I can't imagine how powerful it is just from like a hiring standpoint. And to kind of change up and put it into sales terms. What you're saying to make it easy for somebody to hire you in, in the sales world, we say don't create your own objection. Like don't, don't make it hard for somebody to say no. You know, that's just it. You don't want to create create your own objection, you want to make it as easy as possible as you can to have somebody say Yes, yep.
Brock Briggs 1:01:55
A little bit ago, speaking of kind of making things easy on yourself, or maybe even before we started recording, you were talking about how networking had kind of led you to some of your your maybe early job was slalom, and maybe into some of the roles that you're in now. How do you want to talk a little bit about networking, maybe while you were in the service, how that's how that's changed getting out? And kind of the the benefits that you've reaped from that?
Austin Lieberman 1:02:21
Yeah, sure. So I feel like some of this has just changed on its own, where it's like, the perception is just different now. And it's like, totally acceptable, or almost expected that even if you're in the military, you have like, you're active out there on social media. And like, of course, gotta be mindful of like, what you're putting out there. And you know, all that all that stuff applies, like, you gotta remember what you represent. But I'm back in my day, which is only in whatever 2011 and 2017. It just like, felt really weird to be active out there on something like a Twitter and Instagram was like, when I was focused on what I was doing, it's like to it's like, what do I have to say, Nobody needs to hear from me. And then three, it's like, I didn't want to, like, embarrass myself and then have like, the people I work with, come back and make fun of me or whatever, which probably probably would have happened. But now I feel like it's generally just more accepted. Right? And so it's been, it's like you have this decision making like, Well, how do you use your time, if you're What do you use your account for if you're on Instagram, or Tiktok, or Twitter or whatever. And the thing that has like led to far more opportunities than I would have ever expected. And these are opportunities, helping a new social investing company called common stock, which did that in like 2020, everything's like blending together in my head, helped them with like some of their initial like launch and growth stuff. I edited a podcast and produced a podcast for a company called substack, which is like an email newsletter company. I am now doing a job that I like never even imagined I would ever have an opportunity to do as a portfolio manager, where I have where I get to invest in public companies, public stocks, as part of social capital, never imagined having these opportunities. And the way that you know those opportunities came was because I got active on Twitter starting in like 2015 2016, and then got more active as I realized I was getting off and I had are getting out of active duty getting off of active duty. And my passion was around investing because I told you, I had started investing in 2012. And it changed our lives. It's what put us in a position to be able to make that decision to get out because we had saved and invested. And then just like the things I had learned, I started just sharing and trying to document because I have this big passion around like trying to help veterans and other other people just get, you know, spread financial literacy essentially because we don't really learn about it in college. And so was just doing that and then eventually started in an email newsletter, and then a podcast of my own. Because I thought it was a good way to learn and like way to pick up some skills thinking like no one really subscribe to it or listen. But if they do great, but I just learned about, like how to do those things? Well, at some point, you know, somebody had been following my newsletter and replied and said, Hey, we've got this new product development, we'd love you to try it out. And I did. And then that's how I met kind of like the common stock team. And then substack, which is the company that hosts the email newsletter that I write, I saw on their, on their Twitter, that they were looking for somebody to edit their podcasts. And I replied to that DM and a lot of times, like the people behind the social media accounts at the startups are the CEO and the founder themselves, because they're a small team. And so, you know, just by being out there on social media, and sharing my passion, which was investing and maybe your passion is something else, not even related to investing, maybe it's logistics, maybe it's whatever archery, you can find a community and build up a following and a network, and then through those interactions, and then that networking, like that's opened the door to these career opportunities that like I would have never even imagined having, and you can't quantify that, like, you can't say like, Oh, I'm gonna go look for 10 companies that do what they do, it's just these things that happen that are unexpected through the efforts that you put in building up these, these followings and putting the time into network. And then, you know, the specific networking with people it's like, at every place, slalom, lamda school, here social capital, I was at seven investing, it's like, the people behind it are what like, really, who you meet, and then it's almost like they take they take like ownership and in, in wanting to help you out or whatever they get on board and they want to like back you, you gotta be a good person, you gotta be like genuine about this, but like,
Always put in extra time to like, build those connections. And I guess I valued those connections with people because I knew how important they were in the military. And because people are everything there. And it's like, you're all kind of like family in a way. Well, back to the fellowship, I was doing a slalom. Like, I think one of the things that helped me get a job, there was the interactions I had with the people on the team, because ultimately, they then like give you your feedback. And that gets fed up through the hiring chain. It was like somebody's birthday. And going up to that I had like, talk to the rest of the team about getting them a birthday card. And we all signed it in like I hear I was like working on this thing. And you know, not feeling like I was really able to offer that much because I was inexperienced. I just like cemented real relationships with these people because I went the extra mile to make somebody, like, feel happy on their birthday and like sign his birthday card. And it's like, you got to be able to do the job, and you got to do a good job. But like, those are the things that people remembered, you know?
Brock Briggs 1:08:11
Well, and I think like what you said about working and putting stuff out online, there's this whole idea of like learning or kind of like building in public. And so many people use Twitter and like all these social media outlets as like, it's a public resume, you know, your the things that you're putting out there, the only people that are going to follow you are you know, your mom and grandma and then the other people that like those things that you're talking about. And so with enough consistency, you know, you're going to attract over time, people that like what you have to say. And so when when those times when those things come around, you know, you're you're maybe front of mind when uh, when it comes down to them, looking for somebody who can do what you can do.
Austin Lieberman 1:09:04
Yeah, I'm never saying it's like, again, as long as you're being responsible. And remembering what you represent the military's like, there's really no downside to getting involved in a passion in your spare time out there on social media and Twitter and thinking about a it's a passion or like be if it was like me, it's like, at the time I knew I was kind of like thinking about getting out. It's like, I knew I didn't have a lot of like, a business finance degree or anything like that. And like so it's like that, yeah. And then to your point, it's like, I, I likely won't use a resume again, like a formal resume. Because, I mean, I would love to stay in this job for the rest of my life if I have that opportunity, because it's like, I feel so fortunate for it, but like, if I was ever in that situation again, it's like, I think I would be able to um, I find some opportunities through. Yeah, the Twitter following that I've been fortunate to build up or the email newsletter or whatever, you know. And it's like, you know, hopefully it doesn't matter. But But yeah, it's like that is my resume. In my mind at this point.
Tim McCarthy 1:10:13
You've built up a large enough network where enough people know you, where if you do end up looking for a new career path or whatever. People know who you are at this point, because you've been been doing it for so long.
Austin Lieberman 1:10:25
Yeah, I was I was. So I was at lambda school in April of 2020, or March of two, whatever it was, and I got let go from lambda school because of COVID. And I posted about it on Twitter. And I said, you know, nothing. I've had an amazing time. A lot of students have lambda school because it's like a software development thing. They're active on Twitter and stuff. And I was like, I knew a lot of them. So I had relationships with them. And I just said, Hey, if you're a student there, I wish you the best to the teammates there. Thank you all had a great time, all this stuff. And like, I had like two or 300 likes and like 100 replies, and a lot of more people saying, like, if you need something, I'm here, if you like, reach out, if you like. So to your point, like, yeah, literally, that happened. And I posted about it. And I had an overwhelming amount of support, not only to like, make me feel better about myself, but also like professional opportunities. Right. So yeah, that's super valid point.
Brock Briggs 1:11:31
How did you know, I guess after lambda school, is that kind of when you started the newsletter, or the podcasting thing? Or how did that kind of how did you roll into that? What gave you the, the traction? Or how did you find that? Success in that?
Austin Lieberman 1:11:46
Yeah, I started. I started the newsletter. And I think one up now I think it was like 2018.
Tim McCarthy 1:12:01
So you're doing the newsletter before? Before lambda?
Austin Lieberman 1:12:06
Yeah I was doing it. I was I did it. Pretty much like right when I got off of active duty, okay. And while I was at slalom, and a lot of people Islam thought was cool. So like, there's some of the first subscribers. But then, the thing, the types of companies that I was interested in investing in were like founder led companies, so companies that were still even like public companies that were still led by the founder. And I had seen this lamda school thing pop up on Twitter. And it was still really small, they had like, raised some funding from some venture capitalists. And I thought the idea was cool. And reached out to the founder, his name is Austin, all read on Twitter and said, Hey, I've got this podcast, which I had done a couple episodes at a time where like to interview founders of companies, actually, like had him on the podcast. And then a year later, or whatever, they did another round of funding and opened up, none of the jobs at that time, they were all like engineering related. So I was not qualified for any of them. Because I'm not a software developer or an engineer. They did another round of funding, and they had these career coach positions open up. And that was something that I felt like I was qualified to do through my ability to just work with people and communicate, and the training and development stuff that I had done in the military. And I thought I had a lot of empathy for like the students because they were trying to just transitioned from outside of software development world into software development. And so I had transitioned from the military into the civilian world. So again, when like, when I was interviewing, I'd like to share that experience. So there's things you could find that relate to jobs that you never would have thought, but um, when I was in the interview process, like one of the ways I after I had interviewed Austin alread, I followed lambda school. When you follow companies on social media, it's really easy to find employees that work for them, because they're usually like tagging the account. So I had followed some other people and just had been like interacting with them a little bit. And then when those jobs opened up, I just like, DM to those people that I had had these like one or two conversations with and said, Hey, I really love my job now, but like, I need to make this move and blah, blah, blah. So um, the, yeah, the newsletter starting 2018. I ended up interviewing somebody that like I had no idea I would even have a potential opportunity with. And then like a year or two later, an opportunity opened up and then because I mean, directly, because I had been doing this newsletter and this podcast that literally like not that many people listened to. It led directly to that opportunity at lambda school. And then, you know, the job I'm doing now was advertised on Twitter as like the application was advertised on Twitter, and then I applied on Twitter. So again, it's like I mean, just hitting home like, Hey, if you're still in or getting out or whatever it's like, consider alternate ways of building a network and having a resume. And it's something you can work on in your part time about a passion while you're still on active duty, versus like thinking, because the other thought was like, oh, man, when I get off active duty, I gotta go back and get an MBA and spend two years in school and $100,000 or whatever. That's intimidating, you know?
Brock Briggs 1:15:28
No. Yeah, I, I would sit here and plug Twitter all day, what how much value I have gained personally from it, and just what I see it has given other people. And it's, it's crazy, because I spent all this time online and talking and meeting people and doing things like this. And then I tried to tell my friends and stuff about Twitter, and they just look at me like I'm speaking language. And I'm like, You have no idea what you're missing. And I don't know, it's been a Twitter's a powerful platform?
Tim McCarthy 1:16:07
Well, I think to to a large majority of people, I just had this conversation with, with some of my managers at my job where I had meant they were talking about something and I said, Oh, I just saw this article on Twitter about that. And they're, oh, you're on Twitter, but were you tweeting about your lunch, you know, and I think to a large majority of people that have never used it or used it professionally. That's, that's what it's about like they are, that's what they think it's about is people sharing what they ate for lunch, or, you know, whatever, when in reality, I think it is a very, very powerful tool when it comes to networking, and being able to connect with people that are doing either doing what you want to do or share the same interests, or whatever. And I think that it's, for lack of better term, I think it's really slept on as far as getting you connected with people. Yeah. And it's kind of got this stigma to it, where it's for teenagers sharing their thoughts on this new T shirt, when it's it could be used as very powerful, professional networking tool.
Austin Lieberman 1:17:18
Yeah. And that's where it's like, you got to know where you're at, and like, what people's opinions are, and then like, be mindful about what conversations you have at work, which you don't have at work, you know, and you're thoughtful about all that stuff. But um, yeah. People are definitely getting more open to it.
Brock Briggs 1:17:36
Well, and I think generally, too, I don't know why or what the science is behind it. But it seems like people's guards are down a little bit, you know, it's, it's hard to jump into somebody's email inbox. But for some reason, sending them a DM on Twitter is like way lower stakes. That's how I landed one of the jobs that I have. I talk to you about doing this interview. It's, it's all of those things. So yeah. Um, I guess to kind of to wrap up here, unless, unless you have anything, Tim, what would be some advice that you have for some, like just maybe general blanket advice to somebody that's in and either thinking about staying in or getting out? Or maybe somebody who's just recently transitioned, you've got a really successful track record, persevere through some really, really crazy stuff. What? What would people what can people learn from you?
Austin Lieberman 1:18:37
Um, I think the whole whether you're just starting the military, or potentially thinking about getting out or whatever, it's really helpful to spend, like, whatever amount of extra time maybe it's an hour a week or whatever, on the weekends, or just whatever there's like, everybody's got some free time, even if they don't think they have free time. Learning about things outside of the military, whatever that passion is, for me, it was like business and investing. I saw direct correlations with like how that could make my family more financially secure and take stress off of our lives, which it did. And then it opened up like opportunities to we have freedom over how we spend our time and eventually, like career decisions and stuff. So and if it doesn't turn into another job, and you stay in the military for 20 years, I truly think it made me a better leader in the military, because I was just more knowledgeable about business and kind of like what was going on a world outside of, you know, directly in the military. And I think it's important to be like, well read and well versed and things right, so there's that. And then if you're thinking about transitioning, it's just like yeah, get unconventional with it, take ownership of it and go the extra mile. And put in the extra effort like that really matters to people Um, don't sell yourself short, be creative. And again, like creative as in on your resume, don't lie, but just be creative with the way you term things. Be creative with the way that you apply. And then yeah, and if you're like having conversations and potentially hiring veterans, it's like, just realize that they have a lot of skills that might not be reflected directly on their resume, like, I got asked a question, you know, with the consulting companies, like how are how are you going to, you know, help us like, because essentially, they have to get as a consultant, you have to get hired by the firm's customers to then go do like a consulting job, they're like they have to be, because you work for the consulting company, but then you're gonna go do a project. So the firm, the customer, like, interviews you to make sure you're a good fit. And so they've got to be able to, like, sell you in a way to like, their customers, right? And so like, the question was, well, how are you going to? Like, how am I going to like, sell your experience? Because I didn't have any direct consulting experience? And that was like a really hard question to answer when I didn't really know how to answer the question. And so it's just like, finding value in those intangible skills that might not fit a resume directly. Yeah, and other than that, it's like, I mean, my biggest thing is like, just get out there and, and build some type of following on social media, maybe it's LinkedIn, email, newsletter, whatever. And you don't have to be an expert. nating a lot of people love the whole documenting your journey and documenting learning something. That's, that's my experience.
Brock Briggs 1:21:50
I think people really enjoy binding or seeing somebody that has gone through something similar to them. And it gives them some kind of shared experience, something to identify with and encourages them in a way that oh, maybe I could have that or or maybe I could kind of pursue that. And, and, honestly, that's exactly why we're doing this podcast. So this has been really great. Austin, where can people go to follow along with you? Maybe your newsletter, Twitter, whatever you want to plug?
Austin Lieberman 1:22:22
Yeah. I'm on Twitter at Lieberman Austin. li e b er, Ma, N. Au s di N li were in Austin, and then my email newsletters austin.substack.com
Tim McCarthy 1:22:36
Awesome. Awesome, dude, thank you so much. I appreciate your time, man. This has been awesome.
Austin Lieberman 1:22:42
Yeah, thanks for thanks for having me, guys. Um, yeah, it's great. Thanks for what you're doing. And we'll have to do it again. Sometime if, if you want to, like get smarter and learn from an Air Force person instead of maybe people you know. Well
Brock Briggs 1:22:59
With that we will not have you back. I really appreciate it. Thanks. Awesome.