Editor’s note: The content of this article has been provided by Jake, an active private military contractor (PMC) whose last name will remain anonymous. The following information is meant to provide an inside look at the current state of the PMC job market and provide tips for those looking to enter the market.

When talking about security contractors, there are a couple of things that should be known. First, PMCs are not mercenaries. Intrinsically, a mercenary is a foreign professional that is hired to fight for another country. There are other important legal nuances between a mercenary and a PMC that lawyers and other experts have hashed out and will continue to hash out as long as there are lawyers and other experts. For our purposes, however, just know that the guy at the bar telling a girl he is a “merc” is likely compensating for something.

To the dismay of most veterans trying to break into the PMC arena, the times of Blackwater running the streets of Baghdad for a thousand dollars a day are no more. The market has matured and the contracts are trimming down. The government is no longer interested in throwing money at their problems in the same way they were a decade ago. Knowing that, don’t be surprised when you hear the heartbreak story of the guy whose contract, after only four months into his first gig, was canceled. There is not much job security in this world and there’s even less empathy when the government decides to close a contract. But don’t lose heart. There is still good money to be made — if you know where to find it.

When Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, got his black eye in the Senate the government began to reconsider the political opportunity cost of relying on PMCs for security. Yet, the market appears to have shifted instead of disappearing. Military intelligence, both collectors and analysts, are finding themselves in some lucrative post-military positions.