Maintaining Work With a Newborn Baby

By John Boerstler

We had our first child, a little girl, in 2014 when we were still somewhat “spry” as 34 and 35 year-olds.  Four years later, we had our son, and I don’t know if it’s the effect of being 4 years older or the fact that we were 4 years out of practice, or the fact that we both have assumed more responsibility at work, we are worn out!  My wife is staying home from the office for 13 weeks to serve as the primary caregiver for our son but is still responding to supervisor and client correspondence. I’m still working full-time, unable to escape the inevitability of my team or our partners requesting my presence in meetings and events.  Even though the ‘operational tempo’ has been fast without a lot of sleep in caring for him, we’ve been able to maintain a good balance between caregiving and work. Here’s how we’ve done it in the first three months.

Coffee!  Yes, of course that’s a given but when you’re waking up at 3am and little man doesn’t want to go back to sleep so you start start on work projects on your laptop using one hand and rocking or cradling him in the other, good, strong coffee is an absolute must.  I recommend ordering Black Rifle Coffee Company which can easily be ordered and shipped for free within 2 days (including weekends!) on Amazon Prime.  Besides being incredible coffee, Black Rifle is also a veteran-owned business so I never pass up a chance to buy veteran first!

At first we did the typical both wake up in response to baby crying or grunting or moving or well, making any sort of noise while in the Halo swivel bassinet next to our bed. After learning that you want to start training your newborn to sleep in their crib as early as possible from our first child, we moved him out of our room and out of the bassinet to his crib within two weeks and employed a remote Motorola baby monitor to respond to feeding time.  Another lesson learned from our daughter that we used with our newborn son was replacing the standard issue crib mattress with a much more comfortable Graco crib mattress plus a simple bed wedge underneath to elevate him for better burping after feeding.  You can find most of these items on Amazon, by the way, and having Amazon Prime was a savior this time around as our son came earlier than anticipated, leaving us less time to prepare the amenities in his room, to include having to buy a new changing table last minute.  

In terms of keeping up with work, I rely on a variety of tools to help my ensure my foggy new Dad memory doesn’t fail me in meeting deadlines or maintaining productivity.  For example, I use Evernote to track all of my important projects, meeting notes, ideas, strategic plans, and all of my hopes and dreams.  

Speaking of my foggy new Dad memory, we rely on the Google Home app and assistant to help us add items to our grocery shopping list, find out the weather forecast, and traffic jams in the mornings.  

Ok, back to Evernote.  It’s a dynamic app that allows you to type notes, save links and articles, take pictures of hand-written notes from meetings – which allows for keyword search ability even if your handwriting is bad like mine. The premium subscription isn’t much at all and totally worth the peace of mind.  At NextOp, we are proud Google Apps for Small Business users meaning Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Calendar all help us drive our business and allows us to access everything on-the-go from the road recruiting veterans into industry careers.  Productivity reigns when you don’t have to wait for antiquated systems to download your email, sync your calendars or queue your calendar when you’re operating such a fast-paced, lean team of amazing people.

So, whether you’re a new mom or dad seeking some solutions on how to stay productive as a valuable teammate while also ensuring you’re meeting the needs of your newborn baby, there are tons of products and apps out there to try out. Send us some of the items you’ve used and had success with so we can share them with our community!

I hope you are off to a great 2019 and cheers to sleep in between baby and work!

Lieutenant Commander Oscar J. Tolmas Louisiana Veteran Employment Program

NextOp is pleased to announce that the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust has made a significant investment in our program in Louisiana. In 2018, 100 military veterans successfully transitioned to careers after their work with NextOp. This work was made possible in large part due do the generosity of this donation.

To recognize this investment we have chosen to name our program the Lieutenant Commander Oscar J. Tolmas Louisiana Veteran Employment Program.

Oscar Tolmas had a very close tie to the work we do here at NextOp. After graduating from law school, Oscar enlisted in the United States Navy and participated in World War II in the Pacific Ocean. He was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. We appreciate his service, and his commitment to supporting his fellow veterans.

Tips for a Smoother Transition

By Khris E. Cabanas

The transition from military to civilian life can feel like a grueling experience, but it doesn’t have to be if you plan it right ahead of time. My transition from the Army back in March of 2017 had its ups and downs, yet it all fell back on my preparation for transition out of the military. The ups came from prior planning, and the downs came from overlooking the small things that can make a huge difference in your life as you integrate back into the “civilian world”.  Here are a few tips that you can use to smooth out your transition.

1. Start Saving Money Now!

As soon as you set your mind that you are ready to start the next chapter in your life, you should start saving and cutting out unnecessary costs out of your budget. The beauty about the military is that in most cases, you know when your last day in the military is. Realistically you want at least 3 months of pay (on the low end) to cover your living costs depending on how long it takes you to jump into your next role. Personally, I didn’t have a new source of income for four months, so the money that I saved before leaving the military helped me and my family live comfortably before going back to work.

2. Deciding on Work or School?

Are you going back to school, or are you going straight into the workforce? Maybe both? Either choice, you may run into a couple of setbacks without proper planning. For me, I was stuck in between of which route to take, so I did both. However, during my transition I attended as many career fairs as possible to not only look for a job, but to see if I was even qualified to do the jobs that I was interested in. Yes, we gain and learn a lot of skills in the military, but some jobs do require a college education, certifications, or licensing. One thing that I did overlook was purchasing professional attire. Since I was so use to wearing a uniform every day, I overlooked buying professional attire for interviews, and career fairs. Again, it is the little things that can make a huge difference during your transition. I did all my shopping on Amazon to find my professional attire. I found some very great deals by doing my shopping there. You can check out where I bought my slacks here and my polos here. You can also sign up for NextOp Veterans services, so that you can be connected with an employment coordinator who may be able to help you on your decision to pursue work or school. Our experienced team have transitioned from the military, been on the job market, went back to college or managed to do both. You can sign up here.

3. Networking

Make sure that you are staying connected with your fellow service members who have transitioned before you since they can usually offer you great advice as well on making your transition much smoother. Make a LinkedIn account! If you are not on LinkedIn, then you are wrong. We live in a digital age where technology is prevailing, so you can either can get on the train or get left behind. It has been estimated that 70% of new hires came directly from referrals, or who you know. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but it is the truth. Remember, it isn’t always about networking to get a job. The connections you make with other professionals will help you along your professional journey in the workforce as well.

4. Be Resilient

Even with perfect planning setbacks will still arise that our out of your control. You need to be flexible and remember the resiliency skills that you learned in the military. I learned early on in my transition not to dwell on the things that I couldn’t change and to keep pushing towards my end goal of gaining employment. Everyone will hit a roadblock or two. However, it is how you get through those obstacles and continue to move toward your goals. Also, remember (if you are married with kids) your family is going through this transition with you as well. Include your spouse and kids on the decisions you are making. I overlooked this aspect of transitioning and forgot that my spouse and children were feeling some of the same feelings that I felt.

No matter where you are in your transition from the military, remember that you aren’t the first, nor the last to leave the military. You can do this! You set your mind on leaving the military, because you were ready for your NextOp. So, go out and do great things in your community, and show them the value that veterans bring to the table.

NextOp Veterans Receives Grant from The Bob Woodruff Foundation

Houston, TX, November 27, 2018 – NextOp, Inc. is pleased to announce it has received a generous grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to support NextOp’s Veteran Employment Program. This grant will help improve NextOp’s survey response rate, data collection, and analysis to understand NextOp outcomes better and to describe the impact of NextOp’s program beyond job placement. The overall goal and mission of NextOp is to recruit, train, and place high-performing middle-enlisted military leaders into industry careers. This would not be possible without the assistance we receive from foundations like the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

“We’ve focused our investments on programs that meet the urgent and emerging needs of the military-veteran community,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, Executive Director at the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “We’re excited that this Fall’s grant recipients represent a balance of both programs new to BWF and also longstanding partners, with whom we effectively address our priorities for this year and beyond. These outcome-oriented programs all help ensure that the Post-9/11 community will thrive after service.”

“Support like this makes it possible for NextOp to continue to serve our veteran community. We thank the Bob Woodruff Foundation for this generous grant and for their commitment to help nonprofits who serve our nation’s veterans.” stated NextOp Executive Director John Boerstler.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation is committed to creating long-lasting positive outcomes for our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans, service members, families, and caregivers. BWF leverages its expertise and collaborative network to find, fund and shape innovative programs that help our impacted veterans, service members and their families thrive.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $57 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members, and their families.


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Anna Bowers at (832) 735-0051 or email at [email protected]

NextOp Receives Donation from Amegy Bank

NextOp Receives Donation from Waste Management

Houston — February 27, 2018– NextOp, Inc. is pleased to announce it has received a $5,000 grant from Waste Management to support NextOp’s innovative veteran employment programming.

The overall goal and mission of NextOp is to recruit, train and place high-performing military leaders into industry careers, which would not be possible without the assistance received from corporations like Waste Management. The NextOp Employment Program has placed over 1,000 veterans into industry careers since launching in March 2015.

With this grant, NextOp Veterans will be able to successfully guide more veterans through their post-military transition and place them into their next career.

At Waste Management, they place special emphasis on hiring veterans. In 2017, they hired 1,053 veterans into a wide spectrum of positions which accounted for 8.6 percent of their U.S. hires. They are proud to exceed federal VEVRAA and USERRA hiring standards every year.

“Many of our veterans have extensive operations and logistics skills and experience from their time in service.  NextOp’s collaboration with Waste Management will help our team match more of our highly skilled military candidates with great careers in their many locations and lines of business,” stated NextOp Executive Director John Boerstler.

Wes Reel from Waste Management talent acquisition states, “Waste Management considers military veterans a valuable population for talent because of the many tangible (training and experience) and intangible (work ethic and character) qualities they bring to us. Additionally, certain fields from the military translate particularly well, such as military ground transportation, vehicle fleet maintenance and construction/engineering.”


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Anna Jimenez at (832) 735-0051 or email at [email protected]

NextOp Veterans Receives Donation From Shell

Houston, TX, November 1, 2018– NextOp, Inc. is pleased to announce it has received a generous $10,000 donation from Shell to support multiple programs including the 2018 Shell Petrochemical Industry Day. The overall goal and mission of NextOp is to recruit, train and place high-performing middle-enlisted military leaders into industry careers. This would not be possible without the assistance we receive from our corporate partners like Shell.

The NextOp Employment Program has placed over 1,420 veterans into industry careers since launching in March 2015. With this grant partnership, NextOp Veterans will be able to successfully guide more veterans through their post-military transition and place them into their next career. Shell’s investment will help us improve our military employment programs and continue our mission to help assist transitioning veterans into all industries, including the energy industry. In addition, the Shell Petrochemical Industry Day, inspires many veterans to look at 2-year educational opportunities that lead into great careers.

“Shell has been one of our best Partners since we started in 2015. Their commitment as a company to attract, recruit, retain and build military talent is truly special and should be a best practice across the industry. We are proud to have hosted two successful industry days with Shell and are excited to plan and execute more on November 15th in Texas with aspirations to execute one in Louisiana,” stated NextOp Executive Director John Boerstler.

Shell works to build strong relationships to improve the future of its communities. “Shell is proud to provide NextOp with the donation and support to execute programs that educate, empower and attract military service men and women to the energy industry and Shell,” says Scott Ballard, Executive Vice President, Human Resources North America.

About Shell

Shell Workforce Development and Diversity Outreach (WDDO) understand that vibrant and healthy communities create benefits in society for everyone. Public health, civic engagement and workforce development are a few key focus areas for WCSI Team. Together with national programs and community college partners, WCSI is looking to create economic opportunities, provide relief after natural disasters and increase the impact of volunteerism. For more information, visit,


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Anna Bowers at (832) 735-0051 or email at [email protected]

Value of Veteran Recruiting Initiatives

Who are you?

John is Executive Director of NextOp, a non-profit organization whose mission is to recruit, train, and place high-performing mid-level enlisted military leaders into industry. John served in the United States Marine Corps from 1999-2007 as an infantry unit leader.  His overseas assignments include Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Djibouti, and Kenya.  In 2009 John helped found the Lone Star Veterans Association (LSVA), which has become the largest network of Post 9/11 veterans in Texas. In 2015, John worked with regional leaders to establish the Combined Arms network, a first of its kind community-based transition system built to accelerate the impact of veterans on Houston.

John holds a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Houston.  John is also a recipient of the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship, representing the United States in eight different European countries during a month-long fellowship. As a Marshall Fellow, John has also traveled to the United Kingdom, Israel and Denmark to write comparative papers on their military transition systems and is planning to travel to Ukraine in Spring 2017 to assist in the development of their military transition infrastructure.

What do you do at NextOp?

Mostly serve as the janitor but also work with the board of directors on passing an annual budget, approving policy, setting strategic vision and authoring of 3 year strategic plan for the organization.

Serve as the chief financial officer, programs officer, development officer (fundraising), and anything that helps build the brand with military installations, corporate partners, foundations, grant making institutions, our 3 advisory boards, mentor universe, strategic partners and generally anyone who will support our veterans!

Value of Veteran Recruiting Initiatives

The value of military and veteran recruiting initiatives not only impacts working culture, safety, productivity, team orientation, and respect within an organization, learning how to recruit, train, and retain veteran employees has proven to have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.  The Corporate Executive Board recently found that veteran employees not only have a lower turnover rate than their civilian counterparts, but also have a higher productivity rate.  So, veteran employees do not only save the company money but they make companies more money too!

We all know that veterans’ “soft skills” are the most sought after for companies such as showing up early, staying late, learning things faster, adapting to the mission, showing respect to supervisors, and working well in teams.  Veterans also come with significant hard skills too, depending on their MOS or military occupational specialty.  Although the military does not do a great job of providing civilian credentials for many of these learned skills, veterans may be able to test into mechanically and technically oriented positions right out of the military, they just need the chance to prove their value.

By developing a military or veteran recruiting initiative, companies can take advantage of these great opportunities to improve their workforce by attracting more military talent.  It does not have to cost a lot either.  For example, if you already have employees who are veterans, recruiting and hiring managers can activate them to attend job fairs, design military-specific marketing collateral and provide their perspective on how to best develop a veteran recruiting plan. HR professionals can also tap into expert military recruiting organizations like NextOp to source veteran candidates from regional bases and other marketing portals in the community.

There are many cost-effective solutions to recruit, train, and retain military employees into an organization such as insourcing and outsourcing – or a combination of both – to ensure your team is successful in taking advantage of America’s greatest human resource.


How to Find Key Words in Job Descriptions to Tailor Your Resume

Who are you?

My name is Jonathan Barreda and I am a Marine Veteran who deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Helmand Providence.

What do you do at NextOp?

At NextOp, I am one of the Employment Team Coordinators who works with the veterans to assist them in their search for employment in their desired industry.

How to Find Key Words in Job Descriptions to Tailor Resume

Having a resume that stands out when given to a recruiter can be challenging and confusing. I use the term confusing loosely because I can get an opinion from multiple people and still not have a clear direction of what should be included in the resume. Something else that can be challenging can be a special task that requires time and a selection process to pick out a job. I personally read the resume and either highlight repeated words that can be considered hard/soft skills and recommend that there is an emphasis on those specifically highlighted words. Rule of thumb is that if an employer is looking for a certain candidate they would expect the resume to answer all of the requirements on the resume itself.

There are some tools that I wish I would have known when I started my transition from the Marine Corps. The website can be a great asset because you can easily see what are the words that are mostly used in the job description and you can capitalize on explaining your accomplishments. Another source that I found very useful was O-net Online and that site helps you see what type of jobs would be closest related to your military specialty. At the end of the day, NextOp is here to assist in translating military experience to civilian terms.

Memories for Military May 2017

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example” — Benjamin Disraeli

NextOp’s Military May Mentorship & Fundraising Campaign kicks off May 1st, the first day of National Military Appreciation Month! Highly motivated Fire Teams of supporters compete against each other to raise awareness and funds that will help get more veterans employed. Aimed at easing the post-military transition process, our goal is to recruit more mentors that would like to guide veterans into long-term careers, raise funds to help NextOp improve our employment programs, find more job opportunities, and reach more veterans in need of our services. Learn more about our Military May Mentorship & Fundraising Campaign here.


Help us recognize our nation’s veterans and their service to our country by submitting military pictures to [email protected]. Please be sure to include the name of the service member and branch of service.