If you have ever purchased a home, you most likely worked with a real estate agent. Your agent probably sat down with you (and your spouse if you are married) to discuss what type of house you are looking for: How many bedrooms, two-story or one-story, location, price range, etc. Then, once your agent has an understanding of your desires and has done their research, together you would visit and evaluate a multitude of different homes, as many as that agent can locate that are a match for your needs.
This scenario probably sounds familiar as it is a very common practice in the home buying process. The agent, who represents you, should guide you and act in your best interests. This means showing you every potential home that meets your specifications and is worthy of reviewing.
Now, what if you signed an agreement whereby you were only able to buy homes that were represented by the same agent? An agreement that precluded you visiting an “open house” event? An agreement that forbade you from posting questions for home sellers on the internet? An agreement that wouldn’t let you buy a house that one of your fellow officers referred to you?
No home buyer would sign such an agreement. We wouldn’t and neither would you.
Yet many officers do something that can be even more damaging – they sign an agreement with an “exclusive” or “exclusionary” military placement firm, also known as a “handcuff” firm.
Just like in the home buying scenario above, an exclusionary agreement obligates you to find a “home” via the handcuff firm, but in this case the “home” is the place of work where you will begin your post-military career. It is hard to imagine a scenario whereby an exclusionary agreement would be in the best interest of the job seeker.
Explore Your Options
Especially in this day and age, no officer who wants to explore the true breadth of career fields, companies and locations that are available to them would sign an exclusionary agreement. There are too many avenues via which to pursue a “best fit” career.
The point here is that if you want to be in full control of your career options and job search timeline, you won’t sign an exclusionary agreement.