The career of a Navy SEAL after the military is more exciting than you may think. These are the top five jobs Navy SEALs take after service.
1. Paramilitary Contractor
Most guys I know who did over 10 years in the Teams are on this gig. I think most like it because of two reasons: freedom and pay. There are not too many places where you can make over $100k a year and work 4-6 months. Tired of paying Uncle Sam? Move to Thailand or the Philippines. I know a lot of guys who are banking 100% of their paychecks and laughing on the beach in Thailand, living like Dan Bilzerian for $1,500 a month.
Who’s hiring? CIA, DOS, DOE, DynCorp, Triple Canopy, MVM, Academi, maritime shipping companies, and more.
2. Private Security Professional
Who’s on Bill Gates’s private personal security detail? Former Navy SEALs, that’s who.
Death threat? Hire a SEAL turned JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) intel professional turned private sector operative. He’ll run a vulnerability assessment on his client’s “pattern of life” that will have them begging for momma.
Pay is good — well into six figures. However, you risk being an overpaid private security guard and getting abused by over-zealous clients who confuse babysitting with security. The dirty secret of this job is the JSOC guy — he can pull in more money and knows both sides of the game, and no babysitting duty.
Who’s hiring? Silicone Valley moguls and Fortune 500 CEOs. Bonus option: Go rogue and seek offshore employment with some rich Russian oligarch with a pet baby giraffe, and make friends with Snowden.
3. Business Owner
Something about the SEAL Teams makes the operators exceptionally programmed to build and run companies. A great example is Mike Noell of Blackhawk. I think guys start their own businesses because they can accept the risk (better than getting shot at), and they are encouraged to lead in the Teams from the moment they get there. The bonus is that you get to be your own boss and dictate your own schedule.
4. GS (Government Service) Contractor
Perhaps the biggest boondoggle out there is the GS gig. The pay isn’t great but it’s steady and lets guys double down on federal retirement. The downside is that you don’t get a look at the outside world (maybe this is an advantage), and you lose a lot of the privilege that came from your former rank in the community. A lot of guys who do over 20 years go this route. Bonus: retirement, and you don’t have to deal with civilians in the real world.
Who’s hiring? Your last command. It’s the good ole boy club at its finest.
5. Professional Pilot
Want to know an open secret in the SEAL community? We have our own enlisted-run airlines (AKA TWA-Teeny Weenie Airlines, and yes, it’s real). Have your knees or back start giving you problems as an E-8? Put your application in and get a few thousand hours flying jets for your teammates. FedEx doesn’t deliver parts to obscure African countries on the fringe of civil war…
After you retire, coast into a nice job with one of the major airlines, or take a private flying gig for a major company. Pay is great, and there’s nothing like piloting multi-million dollar aircraft around the globe.
Who’s hiring? Harrahs, Delta, American, Dan Bilzerian, and any Asian airline with a bad safety record.
Note: This list of the top five jobs that Navy SEALs take after service, is compiled from my own (un)official survey of friends in the SEAL community, and represents my own personal perspective. I wanted to list Author or Hollywood Tech Adviser but in reality, these professions provide more part-time income and are not a long-term play. Most of the guys I know don’t go this route because of peer pressure. Hope you enjoyed this.
This article was originally published in February 2020. It has been edited for republication.