Royal Marine to the World of Finance.

Veteran Interview: We spoke with Rob Lye from Northern Trust about the challenges he’s faced after leaving the Military, and advice he’d give to veterans.

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Rob Lye Northern Trust

Who did you serve with and for how long?

Royal Marines for 4 years.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced when you transitioned out of the military?

I had absolutely no idea what to do with no long term plan. I wanted to join the police but a few months before I was due to leave, I received a letter saying my application was pushed back for 9 months due to recruitment timing.

It was not ideal. I lied when I left as my Commanding Officer asked what I was doing and in reality I was worried. I was embarrassed, and did not want to lose face. I probably should not have left so early in my career, but that’s another story for another time.

This was back in 2004, so information was scarce. My career advice was through whispers of what others were doing who had left. I then went on to various jobs such as a Close Protection Officer, a Paramedic, Health & Safety contractor, and Offshore Project Manager, before going into Finance.

I always had a passion for Finance but had no idea how I could get into the industry as I had no economics degree.

What company do you work for, what is your job title, and how would you describe your employers?

I work for Northern Trust, as a Product Manager in Regulatory Solutions.

It’s a brilliant company with one of the best cultures that I have ever experienced.

When doing my due diligence I noticed many people have been there for years. In a society where it is now accepted to move employers frequently, Northern Trust have created an environment where people want to stay for the long term.

I am new into the role and have been supported and helped by everyone I have met. I would highly recommend Northern Trust to any veteran (and non veteran of course).

“Northern Trust is a brilliant company with one of the best cultures that I have ever experienced..”

What’s the first step you’d suggest for veterans looking to enter a career like yours?

Network, don’t be lazy, go to physical meet ups and speak to people face to face. Also get a LinkedIn account and connect with people you know, connect with veterans in the industry. Military insight days are brilliant. Most of the large corporations have them and they are a great way of being introduced to the Finance sector. I wish I knew about them 20 years ago, and I didn’t ‘assume’ I would not fit in.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned since becoming a veteran?

There are many, but to reach out and ask for help. Whether personally or professionally.

The veteran community is a tight network and the more niche you go, the greater level of support there will be for you. As an example, I founded a network group for former and serving Royal Marines in London. Many have attended our events and found employment and opportunities.

People who have no idea what path to take, or want a change in direction can come to an event and connect to a multitude of industries.

This network actually helped me secure my job with Northern Trust by having warm introductions. I was proud to go full circle by setting up the network, that found me a great opportunity at Northern Trust.

We are also closely aligned to The Royal Marines Charity to help and support them in anyway we possibly can.

Rob presenting at HSBC for Bootnecks in2 Business

Why should more companies be hiring veterans?

The patriotic answer is they deserve the very best shot at life outside the military. But if I was selling a veteran to a corporation, I would say by employing a veteran you are receiving an individual who is driven to succeed their goals, brilliant leaders and team members. Quite simply, Veterans get the job done.

What other advice do you have for veterans?

The most successful veterans (in general) I know have planned their transition for months (some planned for years), before they have left service. They have done their research, spoken to fellow veterans, networked, and outlined the career they  desired. By the time they hand in their ID card, hang up their uniform for the last time, they know what they are doing. I have seen this first hand and admire these individuals greatly. I wish I had some of the foresight they had 20 years ago.

Want to share your story and advice to other veterans?