Xperi job title: Sr. Technical Program Manager
Military rank: Staff Sergeant (E-5)
Branch: United States Air Force
Number of years served: 10
I joined the military to gain an education and experience in the engineering field when college seemed like an enormous expense coming out of high school. It instilled in me a great sense of camaraderie, teamwork, learning and being accountable for everything I am involved in. The Air Force taught me about different types of people, how to lead effectively and how to see the positive aspects of working through problems.
Continuous learning, understanding all perspectives (even when I don’t agree), and effective communication are the key skills that I believe transitioned straight into my current role at Xperi.
Transition to civilian workforce
My decision to transition from the military to civilian life was rooted in my desire to not leave my children to accept an unaccompanied tour overseas. They were one and three at the time and I did not want to be away from them. While in the Air Force, I was extensively trained in computer operations, computer programming, networking and handling highly classified information. This eventually led to me pursuing my project management professional certification and working in multiple tech fields as a program manager.
I found the transition exciting at first, but then once settled in my civilian career I found it tough to accept that people did not readily accept responsibility, simply follow orders or abide by ‘due dates’. This was difficult initially, but connecting with other veterans both at Xperi and in the project management community helped me learn to navigate this and communicate more effectively.
I stay connected to the military community and help others who are also transitioning to civilian workforce. I am involved in Veterans @ Xperi employee resource group as well as the Veterans Community of Practice Group at the Project Management Institute (NC Chapter). I help review resumes for vets looking for project management positions.
Current role at Xperi
As a senior technical program manager, my role at Xperi involves management of the details of content onboarding for many of our platforms including IPTV, Stream 4K, TiVo OS, TiVo for automotive and TiVo+.
There is a huge connection between my military experience and my role at Xperi. Learning to navigate the rank structure and communicate with peers as well as military leadership prepared me well for handling the different levels and expectations of Xperi teams. I love being able to bring pieces of a program to fruition. I find it rewarding to meet with new content providers and navigate all the questions and feed issues to then deliver an integrated metadata solution with high-quality images and a great user experience.
Communication and understanding people are the two skills that are very applicable to my day-to-day work at Xperi. Learning to work with people where they are emotionally (and physically) in the course of a program and adapting day to day are critical for success.
Advice for others
The main advice I provide to others transitioning out of military service is to not expect it to be the same and instead to simply bring your skills to the table while you adapt. People do not follow ‘orders’ in the civilian world and that is certainly something that requires adjustment!
The desire to learn, the willingness to be open and get to know people, and the flexibility to adapt to new circumstances are key to a successful transition.