by Scott R. Tucker

April 30, 2021

019 VWS - Christopher Butler

Today we will have Christopher Butler, a United States Army Veteran and Operations Manager of Asurion, to share insights about connecting with the military community, how he tackled his life in this modern economy, his employment success in the civilian world, and much more. 


Episode Highlights:

01:19- What's life like for Christopher Butler after his transition?  

03:21- The shift from military to the civilian world in the tech perspective.

06:15- Christopher’s epiphany 

08:50- How does veteran network via Linkedin helped Christoper in his post-military life? 

11:36- Strategies in  reaching out that leads to employment success. 

16:50- Christopher’s life with his leadership role in Asurion.

21:30- What's next for Christopher in the next three years.


3 Key Points:

  1. Do not be afraid to look like a clueless person. Take a step back with your ego and ask questions. 
  2. Networking and reaching out to people help to lead to your job.
  3. Start early in making connections and finding what people did that might fit your goals and what you wanted to do when you get out of the military.

Quotes:

  • “Every connection you make can set off a chain reaction that may lead you to a job.” - Christopher Butler
  • “There's a business for literally everything, and there are so many options out there you just need to know the resources.”- Christopher Butler

Transcript of 025 with Christopher Butler - Listen, Learn, Be Humble


Scott Tucker:  All right, we are alive again. Welcome back everybody to Veteran Wealth Secrets. I'm Scott Tucker. And this is the show where we want to talk about those going through an inactive duty life, going through their transition in post-military life. We are often. Curious about the unknown, uncertain, what we want to do.

I often hear, I don't know what I want to do when I grow up after the military and that's normal and it takes a long time to deinstitutionalize and figure out and learn from others. How to do it better. What else is out there? What am I not seeing? And that's why I'm so excited. To have a young recently transitioned army officer, Chris Butler on with us.

He's moved on to his corporation job. And I'm excited to hear about that with the Assurion. So I want to learn more about maybe what they do and what you're doing specifically for them and how it applied with the military crisp. But just quick, tell us what's the life like for you these days?

W with this whole lockdown and everything going on, that's one thing I don't know if it's okay. If it changed your kind of impact on how you transitioned, because it was about halfway through your, you had already been out for a few months and then this whole thing hit, right?

So yeah. What's life like. 

Christopher Butler: Yeah, absolutely. I would say I got lucky, got the job I had and I have now in October of 2019 and the role I'm in is actually completely remote. So from which was, crazy wind from being in the army on a Friday to working remotely on a Monday. Big change, lot there, but for us, my, the company I work for is in a good position.

So nothing has changed a whole lot as far as, our workload or anything like that. It's been pretty steady this whole year. Definitely in a good spot, but the big changes are what happened in October, the work from home coming from wearing a uniform to yeah. Working in my own office in my own house.

Definitely very different from the day-to-day. I use more technology in an hour. At my job now that I did probably in the entire time I was in the army 

Scott Tucker: delve into that a minute. Yeah. Cause. I think that's such a relevant, ironically, you're in the military there's technology everywhere, right?

If it's a weapons system, so it's there's a trend. It doesn't translate kit translate those skills to the civilian world. Sorry. Unless you go work for that government contractor, of course. But To you, I say often it's we are so far behind our civilian counterparts when it comes to the digital skillset Ziva, because oftentimes you're not even, you can't carry this into a skiff.

You can't take it. I don't know if I take it on ships when they deploy, but I'm assuming they're out of cell phone range at least. What does that mean? How hard was that to make that shift? Let alone, I'd like to, I know we're going to get in a little bit deeper about. Going from here on Friday to there on Monday, but specifically around the technology.

I don't know if you got some thoughts on that, I'd love to hear it. 

Christopher Butler: Yeah, absolutely. So it was intimidating. It was very intimidating at first, especially going from, in the army, you can just reach out, grab someone like, Hey, can you, you helped me out with this. Too, there's an operator manual.

And it was very much a learning process, but going from. We had a WhatsApp on a leadership group chat in the army, but here on, and we have, we've got teams, we've got Skype, we've got email, we've got regular zoom meetings. It is extremely intimidating getting to know all the systems that you have to be comfortable with and especially the job that I have, we have.

To just, I could go on forever, but power BI, we have, everything that is you can plug into pull data. There's a system for it. And each system has its own intricacies. And this is one of the things about the transition. It's you go and, ideally make a lateral move, which I was lucky enough to do, but.

You're it's on you to figure it out. You have to make friends with people, figure out how these systems work how to not look like. It clueless, the clueless former military guy. So there's a good bit of learning and you're really going to have to cut. You mentioned it earlier, but take a step back with your ego and really ask questions.

Not be afraid of not be afraid to be a person that looks a little bit fearless, a lot of questions, but hungry to make a difference. 

Scott Tucker: I gotcha. I remember that my, I was just so often, I've been out for about 12 years and I run into veterans who are looking to do this or that, and they just go, ah, I'm not a tech guy.

And it's what? Then you better become one. You have to learn it quickly. I don't know how to Google it YouTube. It's almost so bad. And so basic that people aren't even thinking, Oh, I don't know how to do something. Let me go Google it. And I'm talking about people getting confused on how Gmail works, how a scheduling thing works.

These are just basic stuff that. You're going to get laughed at and scoffed at and honestly kinda make the other Veteran, make us all look bad in a way. It's just like, why you guys can't figure this out. You were just in the military. So anyway, I just thought that was a really important point.

You brought up, but I want to hit on that last thing you just talked about. You're a little more than a year out from your transition. What w what was that process like for you? How did you tackle it? What do you wish you would've known or had done a little bit better? 

Christopher Butler: Yeah. So even the amount of time that I had for my transition, I realized, I realized we're on 2018, July, 2018.

When my daughter was born, that, I don't want to do the army thing for my life. I don't want to, I don't want to miss the, all the birthdays and anniversaries and all that I was missing already. So I decided that the best option for me and for my family would be to get out and what, while I'm still young and still able to build.

Some type of career outside of the army. I didn't know what I wanted to do. But that was the first step in realizing it. And I gave myself at that point about a year to get my ducks in a row and get out. So what mistake, number one, if I could backtrack, probably have that realization.

Nine months to a year before that one year, I don't think is enough time. It sounds like a lot of time, but that year flies by with everything you have to get straight before you get out. So that's definitely, I think mistake number one. 

Scott Tucker: Let me ask you about when you had that realization, that epiphany, Hey, I'm doing this for my family noble.

It makes a lot of sense. I didn't have family at the time, but I was also like, I don't want to keep getting deployed. This doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon back in 2008. But you said, I don't know what I want to do yet, and that's so common. How much did you weigh? All right.

I got to find a time. I think I'm ready to get out of the army versus I gotta figure out what I w what I want to do. And is that still a process, 

Christopher Butler: but a little bit cause it's. You know that at least for me being a military officer, I like working with, I love the organizational leadership aspect of the army.

That was my favorite thing, making connections with people, getting projects done, but that doesn't, that doesn't, that's not tangible. You can't go into an interview and say, I want to be a leader in your organization. You have to have an idea. What you want to do. So for me, that was a really hard thing to, to wrap my head around you.

Can't just, jobs don't just get offered to you because you have military experience. It's, you have to prove your worth in some way or another. For me, I think what helped was starting to. Use the Veteran network. I started immediately sending people, LinkedIn messages, calling friends who had been through this before me and that every connection you make can set off a chain reaction of sorts.

And what led me into the job I'm in now. I was lucky and did there's all kinds of, Lucas group, all kinds of programs and stuff like that to help. Help people figure out what they want to do. So I chose Cameron Brooks and I did that. Mainly to, to have exposure to industries, I didn't even know existed, including the job I'm in.

I went through 14 interviews in two days with hiring managers, CEOs, senior managers, directors, people that. I never would have had a snowball's chance in, in meeting or connecting with, or even having a face-to-face conversation with the head at all in two days. So it was an incredible experience.

And now I know that there's. Business for literally everything. There's so there are so many options that people just don't know about because they don't use their resources. 

Scott Tucker: Yeah. That's, that's something that's an important cause. I did a lot of work with the, like the veterans and cannabis project earlier this year and, cause I believe in the medical, components of it, but the bottom line is I'm also, it's more about Veteran jobs.

There's so much, it's a huge industry. It's not just about growing and smoking the plant. There are multiple layers of their scientists. There's advertising, there's so much in this industry, but of course there's no hemp companies showing up at a Veteran job. Fair. Yeah.

Yeah. What better industry for a Veteran, highly regulated environment and chaos at the same time, like to go into, but they don't even know it exists as an option because they're thinking, Oh, drugs I'll get pissed tested or something. She's Oh my God, what a shame to leave that on the table. But, you mentioned the networking leading to your job and reaching out to people, cause I remember being in your shoes, I got out around six and a half years about the same, amount of time you had done. And the assumption was I'll just go sit in the brief. And I think I did email a couple people and they just responded with some general tips and I never followed up with them.

What did you do when it came to, what was your strategy to reaching out to lead to the success that you have right now? 

Christopher Butler: Yeah, I wanted to, and I think it starts out or should start a very informal, I'm a big fan of Michael Quinn, never start with an ask is one of his big things.

But more or less, I was just interested in. Finding out what all my friends were doing that had gotten out of the army, six months, two years back. So I started maybe rekindle those relationships. It's hard to maintain friendships throughout the army because he meets someone, hit it off and then they move over.

You move six months later. That's just how it is and reach out to all my old buddies that have had gotten out and have held jobs and set it into their civilian lives was. Kind of priority number one. And then I took all of that and was able to Frankenstein something together that fit what I wanted to do with my family.

And. I, for me being able to get all the industry exposure and stuff like that, that I went through was really helpful. And it is hard to, and I would have needed more time if I did it the old fashioned way without any sort of like from that. Cameron Brooks group or anything like that?

It w it easily could have been another year before I found something that fit my skill set or something interested in. Yeah, I think you said three years, but. Three years is real. It should be realistic. As far as shooting, shooting for a pole or for getting out. 

Scott Tucker: Yeah, because it took me five years after I got out to figure out like, Holy cow, I'm not doing anything that I want to be doing or enjoy doing.

Why am I doing this? And yeah, I think it's all, we're always gonna have that struggle when we're going to something new, even planning three years out, this is what I'm gonna do after the military. That there's no guarantees on that, but as you started a year earlier, like you mentioned what do you wish you would have done differently?

Is it something along the lines of. Oh, I could have just, you ended up in a good spot, Cameron Brooks thing worked out. Do you just feel like it would've been less stressful or maybe you would have looked at something like entrepreneurship or, started something on the side or whatever?

I don't know. Is there anything you would've done differently? 

Christopher Butler: Yeah, starting so definitely like touching on starting earlier, I would have started earlier. I would have also asked cause all I was worried about. At the time was thinking I can do anything as long as, as long as I can support my family, I can stuck out and I can do anything.

But really finding out like what it is that people do what my friends are doing on a daily basis, what those companies did that they worked for. And if it was something that interests me, because you'll find out very quickly if you're actually doing something that you find valuable with your time, because.

A lot of people are, I think under the impression that getting out I've been in the army, nothing's ever going to be hard again, but real life sets in pretty quickly. And it's, you're going to have that moment where you realize this probably isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life.

So what am I going to do about it? So there's a lot of pressure there, but I think, I think what I would have done is really. Drilled in and gone, gotten more nuanced details on what people did, because like I said, I wanted to be a leader was not a good answer, but I think that's where I was at a year ago is I want to be a leader in your organization and make money.

So finding out what it is that Mike. That my friends did or what their companies do and fit that with my goals and my, w what I wanted to do. And I didn't do that. I didn't really make that connection until after I was out the army. 

Scott Tucker: Gotcha. Yeah. They, we all come out of the military.

I got leadership skills and it's like market that, how do you market that to, to explain the value of it when, especially if everybody else is saying it too, what's the difference between, Oh, we're just hiring a Veteran. Cause he's got leadership skills and frankly, a lot of jobs in the military aren't even really about.

Leadership. I would let it platoon for about 10 months before the XL above me got fired. And next thing I know there goes my platoon leader time. I'm going to staff job for the rest of my military career. I definitely didn't feel like I had any sort of leadership skills, but yeah, that's the kind of stuff I remember putting on my resume, but so leadership skills or otherwise it looks like you're leading the team of a lot of people.

Tell us what Assurion, what do you guys do? And what's the life like for you in this new leadership, or whatever it is, this new environment, because. The day to day life, the work life is going to be very different. Yet at big companies or corporations, there tends to be some level of structure and stuff in there.

So just curious, in your first year, what do you, what are you seeing? What are you feeling? What are the things like? Yeah, 

Christopher Butler: absolutely. So Assurion is a company that one of those industries, I had no idea even existed. Company that's over 20 years old and they started out as a roadside assistance company, 

Scott Tucker: but what's the industry that you didn't know.

Christopher Butler: It's so basically if you buy buy a new cell phone and they ask you, do you want a protection plan on that cell phone? That's a shirt and they're they, they absolutely dominate the market as far as. Following warranties, technical support. So I'm on the technical support side on messaging.

So if you had an issue with your phone and you have it warrantied through Assurion and messaging Hey, I've got a cracked screen, like that's my team. It's one of those niche things that I had no idea existed. And these things like get your real spinning because now every time I.

There's so many layers to, to like these businesses that there's someone behind, there's someone on the receiving end of the message. And that person has a supervisor and that person has a supervisor. So I start thinking there's there are so many opportunities that just no one knows about.

And this one, no idea, but it's a company with over 20,000 employees. She enormous company super successful, but right, right now we've been lucky with the pandemic. People have been relying on their technology. So things have been really good for us this last year. A lot of companies had to deal with furloughs, laying people off.

We've been the opposite. We've been in a hiring surge for the last 12 months stra I wouldn't say struggling, but like meeting the goals that we have, for customer wait time, things like that. We've been hiring people almost every week to come out, to come in and help us out. Really healthy business and definitely keeping me busy.

So getting onto the the day to day or so, so it's a 24, seven operation messaging is always up and running. So we go through these periodic things where you'll do a shift of realignment and, it's the manager role that I'm in is like being a soldier, you're always a soldier. So you. So I have a set hour block that I've worked, but more often than not I'm in earlier and out later, just because you have to be there to support your team. You have to help out as, as much as you can, especially in times like this, when it's, it's. Pedal to the metal every day we're driving, driving success, trying to hit the organization's goals for quality.

We're doing sales now. So all of these things take a lot of leadership presence. So I try my best to always, always be there at, that the point of friction as we say in the army. Yeah, you do have to place yourself. I spent a lot of time here in, in my cave or sure. Trying to help drive success for the team.

Scott Tucker: Great. Say I'm glad. I'm so glad you brought up this whole thing about the like industries you don't know about. This is where. I fear that, veterans are getting told how to transition out or taught in a way that it's like, all right, you just go to the job fair and somebody will be there.

And when you do your research, it's more about how do I massage this resume for this job and then redo it for that job, redo it for that shop and it, but. If instead, you're doing significant amounts of research. Imagine these various industry opportunities you could come up with. And Chris, I really appreciate your lesson today of, reaching out to people, reach out to people, talk to them about what they do, and you will just start to discover stuff and open your eyes.

And, maybe that leads to someone who might give you a job, a recruiting firm that, gives you a little bit more direction on how to do it. But also, discovery and maybe something you're like, Oh, I didn't, maybe I liked that idea. I want to go try that out. But that doesn't always mean, Hey, this is what I'm doing for the rest of my life.

Not saying you're looking for a new job or looking for anything like that, but what's the know as we close out here, what's coming next for you. It sounds like young family. You seem like a happy guy putting in the long hours, but what's next for you and Hey, the next three years or so what do you, what would.

Means success personally or professionally for Chris Butler. Yeah, 

Christopher Butler: That's a great question. And something I honestly struggle with is till I put myself in success in the same sentence. But I do, I, and probably like the humbleness that the army 

Scott Tucker: professional, 

Christopher Butler: you don't take credit for anything.

But it's hard. It's hard to be like that in the real world, but I think, looking at success It took me, I would say probably six to nine months to be comfortable in this, the role that I'm in now to get to the point where I'm not asking my peers. Questions every day, like what I would, the first few months I would just be sitting with one out, open writing down.

And if people think aren't the army is the only place with acronyms, they're wrong. I'd be sitting in meetings, just writing out acronyms, like what do these mean? So I think I still have a little bit of refining to do as far as like my knowledge of the business, the company that I worked for.

Hopefully in two, three years professionally I can at least broaden my knowledge of the business. Cause there's a lot that we do besides just messaging. So I think what that means for me is broadening my knowledge, getting into another line of business with Assurion and figuring out, figuring out.

Other ways that the business grows and then being able to take that whole concept and maybe move to a more senior position, but definitely not something I'm pushing for really hard right now. I still think I have some more, 

Scott Tucker: yeah. Sorry. 

Christopher Butler: Yeah. So I was just gonna say, personally, I, I feel fulfilled.

I'm able to spend a bunch of time with my daughter. We worked from home, my wife works from home. So the whole, the whole family's here in the same room, which is. Amazing. I've gotten more time with the two of them in the last few months than I did in years in the army. So I'm really satisfied, I think with the work-life balance and those things that are really important to me.

Scott Tucker: Then that defines success right there. The ability to work from home mobily, if you got to go to a coffee shop sometimes, but no, I really appreciate you coming on the show, Chris and sharing that because even within a corporation, the ability to just continue to learn and grow to build skill sets, we've got to have that mentality.

And especially specifically getting back to the industry thing, be ready to have your whole industry that you just joined disappear. I think that's going to happen in the financial planning world because it'll all be automated. Like, why would we need an advisor when you can just put some things in?

And there's lots of industries like that. And it's are you just going to wait for it to happen? Are you going to continue to move around, build skillsets, maybe that, Means lateral moves within your company, just talking to other people. Hey, what do you do? That kind of thing, but now awesome message.

Chris, how do people get along? I'm assuming you wouldn't mind folks calling you up to, to share some insights and give them some feedback on how they're going through their transition process. How do people get ahold of you? 

Christopher Butler: Yeah, absolutely. So super easy to find the best place to be LinkedIn, Christopher Butler.

Very big headshot. Like just like this space here is very easy to find. But I'm more than happy to speak to anyone with. Questions concerns because I've been there. I know what it's like. It was absolutely. I had a knot in my chest for a year, not knowing what was going to accept the job offer for, until 11 months into my year.

So where I did not know if I was going to have a job that my, my day of getting out of the army. So I'm here to help, happy to have conversations or help anyone. With concerns they have 

Scott Tucker: now Wealth so much, Chris. And I appreciate what you're doing to what's the spread the Wealth.

No, what's that phrase. Do they made a movie out of it? Pay it forward. That kind of thing anyways, but no, I really appreciate you coming on Chris and for everybody else, make sure you subscribe to the show where we're growing. We're growing slowly, but it's been great. Having so many people on actually getting a lot of views on our posts.

Please share these videos. We know veterans are always looking to learn a little bit something new, learn somebody else's secret something you hadn't thought of. Hadn't even heard of it before. And that's definitely, it was a great topic of today's show. So we will see you again, 

About the author 

Scott R. Tucker

Scott R. Tucker is an author, speaker and the founder of US VetWealth, a lifestyle and financial consulting brand that helps service members go from paychecks and government benefits to wealth and liberty. He likes to say, "I Help The 1% Who Serve Our Country Become The 1% Who Influence It." A West Point graduate, serial world traveler, military financial expert, and entrepreneur, Scott brings valuable experience and insight to those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.

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