Transition through Reinvention
By Mike Caraballo, Ret. Colonel, U.S. Army Reserves
SVP, Project Management Manager,
Home Lending Product Strategy and Delivery,
Veteran’s Perspective 38 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 27, No. 1, 2021
This is a humbling honor to be able
to share some advice on military
transition to the civilian workforce
with my Latina y Latino veterans. Latinos
have served with great orgullo or pride in
service to our nation throughout history. It
is important we draw energy from that
orgullo as one transitions from military
service to a new journey in life.
When many service members hear the words
“transition from service”, various emotions arise from
anxiety, confusion, lack of confidence and fear of the
future/unknown. A way to ease the emotional surge is
to change your mindset from a transition approach to
one of reinventing your career.
While there are many ways to approach how to
rethink your career opportunities, I would like to touch
on three topics to help you get there: personal courage,
transferable skills and looking outward.
No matter how long you have served, your military
career has provided you with many areas of experience
with various duty assignments, mission sets (training,
combat), locations (CONUS, abroad, austere) and
professional development training. You should not
underestimate the vast amount of capabilities you have
acquired from all your experiences in reinventing your
career; few civilian positions can provide the same
amount of diverse operational scenarios, which
you have successfully accomplished. You should
draw energy and orgullo when you reflect on those
experiences to say, “Yes, I did that!”. We can be our
own largest obstacle with self-doubt, when we should
be the exact opposite by using those experiences to
support new career opportunities.
Our military service generates so many different
skills as we progress through our careers, regardless of
tenure in the service. There are many obvious
skills that everyone gravitates towards: leadership,
adaptability, teamwork, and decision-making skills,
among others. As you take inventory of these
transferable skills, you cannot forget the muscle
memory skills that we have learned that translate
well to almost any career: strategic planning,
analysis, problem-solving, risk management, safety
Assumption of Command Ceremony
of 166th Regional Support Group at FT
Buchanan, PR, 2015.
management, supply chain management, fleet
operations, and event planning. Investing inward to
reflect on the skills that generate passion in the most
successful assignments will assist in focusing on
opportunities to reinvent our career.
One of my favorite items from serving in the
military is how large my extended family has become
with the many brothers and sisters-in-arms that I have
served alongside and maintained relationships. Seeking
mentorship and networking is a great way to reflect
inwardly as well as finding potential opportunities to
reinvent our career through personal networks. As you
rebrand yourself through the various social media
applications, it is important that the messaging reflects
the “new” you and aligns with your journey. Social
media can be a powerful tool to boost your professional
image and expand your network to reinvent yourself.
Having different perspectives for industries is important
in any journey. There are many trade organizations and
non-profits that you can reference to support civilian
transitions, learn about career roles and other
opportunities to consider. The key is not to leave any
stone unturned and maximize your reach and range of
outward support for reinventing your career. The more
intel you can gather from outside sources the greater
chances you will have in finding the best opportunities
for your new journey.
Hopefully, you will find some nuggets of
information that are useful for your journey, to help
reinvent yourself for a new career and that will
generate as much passion and success as you have
achieved in the military.
Mucha suerte! Good Luck!
Want to comment or have any questions on this
article? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Caraballo had the privilege to lead the brigade on a fun run.
Balad, Iraq. Summer, 2004.
Mike Caraballo is a retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserves, and a combat
veteran with multiple deployments. He is a Senior Vice President with Wells
Fargo in the Home Lending Product Strategy & Delivery area. Caraballo
leads the Enterprise Veteran Team Member Network (Employee Resource
Group) with over 10,000 employee membership. He also serves on the
board of the San Antonio Sports Foundation.