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The decision to retire from the Navy after 26 years wasn’t an easy one for Capt. William Toti, who says he had come to love his time in the service. He knew he wanted a viable second career in the civilian market, and, as a commanding officer, he was told throughout the military transitioning program that all a civilian company would want from him was “good leadership” — advice he calls “The Great Lie” in his book, From CO to CEO: A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership.

“Transitioning to industry is a stressful enough condition as it is, but when the military actively tells you things that are absolutely one hundred percent wrong, and start you headed down the wrong path, that makes that stress level go up even further,” Toti said during an interview.

Toti isn’t alone in feeling unprepared for certain aspects of transitioning to civilian employment. More than 200,000 service members separate from the military each year, and more than half of those surveyed about the process felt as if they had little to no help with the transition.

But Toti is one of the lucky ones. He managed to successfully progress from captain of a nuclear submarine to a captain of industry, and after accumulating more than a decade of firsthand experiences related to transitional challenges for veterans, Toti decided to put it all on paper. From CO to CEO isn’t filled with hand-waving aphorisms, Toti says, but rather, practical nuts-and-bolts advice for veterans and the companies that want to help their military veterans succeed.

“Any company will proudly recite the number of veterans they hire as employees, but none of those companies can tell you how many of those new hire veterans are still with them after five years,” Toti noted. “Did you know that about 50% of military veterans leave their first job within two years of transitioning out of the military? This constitutes millions of dollars of lost investment in employee turnover.”

From CO to CEO can help readers understand:

  • How and when to make their transition.
  • How to properly define goals for their future careers.
  • How to prepare for job interviews, negotiate compensation and land the right position.
  • What it takes to succeed in today’s defense industry.
  • The pluses and minuses of 20 career options.
  • The language and assumptions of civilian business culture.
  • And much more.

“The book is intended to correct the defects the military injects into its transitioning veterans before they leave service; it’s intended to help companies head off problems in assimilating new veteran employees; and it’s intended to serve as a guide for transitioning veterans to help them understand the business environment and learn new skills necessary for them to succeed,” Toti added.

About the Author
William Toti served for more than 26 years on active duty, culminating as commodore of Submarine Squadron 3, then 15 years as a corporate executive and eventually a CEO. He has been featured in several documentaries, including The Lost Ships of World War II (Fox), USS Indianapolis: The Final Chapter (PBS), USS Indianapolis: Live from the Deep (PBS), USS Indianapolis: The Legacy, 9/11: One Day in America (National Geographic), 9/11: The Pentagon (The History Channel) and 9/11: Inside the Pentagon (PBS).

For more information, please visit https://williamtoti.com, or follow him on Twitter (@william_toti).

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/CO-CEO-Practical-Transitioning-Leadership/dp/1637630638/

From CO to CEO: A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership
Publisher: Forefront Books
ISBN-10: ‎ 1637630638
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1637630631
Available on Amazon.com


Reviews, photos, links to previous interviews and Q&As are available upon request.