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Several years back I applied for the 15-year retirement and thought I was going to get approved. During this period, I went to TAPS, started job-hunting, and signed up for a PMP certification course. After three long months of waiting, I learned I had been denied and gave up on the job search and the PMP (Project Management Professional) course.

There was one major lesson I learned at the time: I was not as ready to get out as I thought I was. I honestly thought with my education and experience, that once I told the world I was available, they’d be kicking down the doors trying to get to me…all the doors remained. I mentioned in other articles how important it is to prepare yourself for your next job in the service and the one after you get separate.

The most recent lesson I learned was how dumb it was to drop out of the PMP course. I did because I was told (by non-PMPs) how hard it would be to keep the certification current. There are 60 continuing education credits you need to obtain every 3 years. Turns out all of that is #FakeNews.

This article will use the PMP certification as an example, but there may be other <insert bad advice here> that you have been told.

First of all, now that I have studied my butt off and earned the certification, I have seen so many parallels with what we do in the military. The only difference is the vocabulary and the process of the PMP is better defined. I could have been practicing what I have learned since 2013 and making things better for my teams. I could have been building my experience in project management and able to hit the ground running with a company in the real world for $100K + per year.

Secondly, I learned earning the 60 credits is very simple. Time consuming, but simple. I have had the official cert for less than a week and already have 8 credits just for watching some videos. There are some that will be a bit more labor intensive than that, but nothing too hard over a 3-year span.

I truly regret listening to the dorm-lawyers and not getting this cert. It really could have helped me in my career, helped my team grow, and help me in my next job.

My advice to you:

1) Look for the things that will make you better at your job.

2) Look for the things that will make you better after the service that will also make you better at your job.

3) Look into what you need to do to get there.

4) Don’t listen to the dorm lawyers.

5) Rule the world.

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