Each month, Capitol Post interviews veterans in their post-military careers to get their insights on how their military service has helped them succeed. This month, we spoke with Jon McCann, Assistant Operations Officer in transition. Here’s what he had to say…
Name: Jon McCann
MOS/Branch: Engineer Officer
Current Job Description (in your words!): Plan operations for the Army’s only unit that provides temporary emergency power in cases of natural disaster.
Where did you grow up? Westlake, OH
Current home: Old Town Alexandria, VA
School: I received my BS in Economics and Operations Research from West Point. I then attended The Australian National University, where I studied Economic Policy on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.
Role Model: Older brother, Ben, who was co-founder of Connectifier, recently sold to LinkedIn.
Favorite Restaurant: I try not to repeat restaurants, since there are so many good ones around the DC area!
Favorite Local Activity: Happy hours, bottomless brunches, wine bars. Sensing a trend? Plus the occasional game of golf.
Family: Wife, Elisha — I married way up — -is a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton. Dog, Brady, is a six year old Australian (barks with an accent) Kelpie.
Little Known Fact About You: I founded a pretty successful lawn care business in high school that did so well that I (just this week) had to shut down the old Angelfire website because it was still generating customers. On second thought…maybe that was a missed (second) opportunity!
What did (or do) you envision life “on the other side” to be like after you transition/ed?
Growing out the hair/beard and getting fat! (Not really.) I’m just looking forward to being in charge of my own career, challenging myself intellectually, and contributing to something bigger than myself. I actually believe that you can should do your answer to the question “What would you do if money were no object?”
What has been the best part about transitioning from military service?
I’m still in the middle of transition and don’t have anything lined up, so it has been stressful. But it’s also been really exciting and motivating to explore new ventures. I feel like I did in high school, when I had that sense of “I can do anything!” Plus, I like the chase.
What has been the most challenging about transitioning from military service?
Translating my experience. I’ve had a successful military career and have a lot to contribute, but it takes some convincing for companies to take a chance on me.
If there’s one job you could have in another life, what would it be?
Country music singer. But that would certainly be another life, cause I ain’t got the pipes.
Who has influenced you the most in your career?
I’m been lucky to have some bosses that really trusted and empowered me. I try not to forget how good that feels so that I can equally empower my team.
What is one piece of advice you would give a transitioning veteran?
If you don’t know what you want to do (or even if you do), put yourself out there, get outside your comfort zone, and expose yourself to as many companies, industries, roles, and individuals that you can. It’s helped me eliminate many roles, but I still have a long introspective process in front of me of trying to find and pursue a passion. Networking, and organizations like Capitol Post, have certainly helped me with that.
Briefly describe something you learned during your service. How does that benefit you today?
Dealing with high stress situations. If I find myself stressing out now, I can just remind myself that it’s nothing compared to “that one time…”