You have spent the last several years diligently serving your country in the army. Now you’re out and ready to resume life as a civilian. What should you do first? Where do you start?
The process of transitioning out of the military poses its own unique set of challenges. While the armed forces train soldiers well in leadership and technical skills and do provide soldiers with many useful resources as they exit, there are some things that the military does not prepare you for when re-entering civilian life.
Tasks like landing a job and supporting your family can be difficult after years of service. Other factors like injuries from your time during deployment and stress disorders that veterans often experience after service can make it harder to adapt to civilian life.
After you have returned from deployment and are readjusting to life at home with your family, remember these tips to ensure that your transition is as easy and smooth as possible.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your life after service. You have been dreaming about this next phase for so long; put your plans into motion early.
Take it Slow
Patience is key when adjusting to a new lifestyle, especially when its change in carrier. Try to plan ahead so that you can take at least a short vacation as you transition. Besides having fun on holiday, you will find that opportunities you never thought of will pop-up when you least expect it. A little effort, adjustment and time are all it takes to get back on track.
Prepare For a Job Hunt
A good place to start is with your dreams. What do you want to do? What do you love? By asking yourself these questions you can better understand what would work out for you. If you love being outdoors, maybe working as a ranger would be best for you. Alternatively, you might decide to become a teacher or an accountant. The choices are endless, but decisions based on your passions will be more enjoyed in the future.
Admittedly, finding a job is one of the toughest aspects of the transition. As the job market is extremely competitive, it is important that you are using all of the resources at your disposal and working on your job hunting abilities, such as your resume and interview skills.
Utilize Military Workshops and Programs
Irrespective of the military branch you’re in, there are workshops and other programs offered to help with the change from military to civilian life. So, you should utilize these, especially in the final months of service, to help prepare you for your transition into civilian life.
The Transition Assistance Program provided by the department of defense is a great program for veterans adjusting to life after service; you will get a transition counselor to help you choose the right path to start down.
Utilize Social Media
As a veteran, trying to keep up with the latest social media developments can be difficult. During deployment, access to online technology and social media is restricted. Understanding how social media works can help veterans in the interview process since it can be linked into time management and communication skills.
Most employers use platforms like twitter and Facebook to interact with the public and promote their businesses. So, it’s important that you learn the basics of these platforms.
Learn to Diversify
Even if you have permanently been military personnel, maybe you have also dreamed about starting your business. This is the perfect time. The army has you equipped with a unique skillset and strong base, you’re flexible, and now may be the ideal time to transition between carrier fields and from a soldier to a citizen.
Have a Transition Plan for Your Family
It is not always a good idea to move back to your hometown after retirement from service. Often times, your military move takes care of all your relocation costs to the city of your new job. Make sure you sign up for gap insurance for you and your family. Otherwise, if your job search extends for more than ninety days after separation you won’t be covered.
Avoid Using Military Jargon
Yes. You need to be eloquent in both corporate civilian and civilian. Terms such as “WILCO” seem like common words to those with military backgrounds. However, it is a completely different language for civilians. Just drop the jargon if you want to succeed in the corporate world. Last but not least, you need to know how to communicate between different ranks of people if you’re going corporate.
Both civilian and military life is different. So, it will take a while to adjust as you become accustomed to your new life. The choices you make in the next few months will likely affect much of your civilian life so don’t make any rush decisions.
For someone looking to help a veteran, they need look no further than their local Veteran’s Administration Voluntary Services Offices. To find one, scan the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs website which lists all the locations. Every state has at least one, including Puerto Rico, and New York has the most.
The most obvious way to lend assistance is to donate money. The website makes this process easy and secure, offering the options to pay with debit or credit, or even direct withdrawal from a bank account. Donations can be directed to a specific facility in the selected state, and the generous donors also have the option to specifically choose which fund they what their money to be used for. The options include: Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish chaplains; homeless veterans; adult day care; hospice care; trauma and rehab; women veterans; Vietnam veterans; national wheelchair games and even national art festivals. And there are many more options to choose from. Of course if the donor would simply like the administration to allocate the funds toward whatever they deem most important, that area of the donation form may be left blank. Donors can rest assured that 100% of their donation will be used for the fund they choose.
If people are inspired to donate time and work rather than simply money there are plenty of opportunities to do so with the VA. Volunteer drivers and transport coordinators assist veterans who need transportation to medical appointments or job interviews. One volunteer driver may traverse up to 50,000 miles a year. Drives can cross state lines and even mountain ranges through all types of weather. Many of these drivers are veterans themselves, wanting to help out their fellow soldiers. Drivers must pass training and physical exams and are responsible for filling out daily logs.
One time events give eager volunteers the chance to help without a long term commitment. Welcome home ceremonies are scheduled when active military member are due home. They, along with their families, are provided with pertinent information about health care and other benefits the VA departments provide. It is an integral way to help ease the transition into life after active duty.
Students in health care fields are also encouraged to volunteer through the Student Volunteer Program. Areas of focus can include speech pathology, nursing, laboratory medicine, nutrition and food service, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and social work. This program not only helps the veterans, but gives the student volunteers real life experience and a tangible advantage on job applications.
A company-sponsored volunteer program can also be created for employers looking to unite their employees and help their company give back to the community. The VA Voluntary Service will customize a program for a company’s specific times schedule and ability.
The National Salute to Veteran Patients Program occurs annually around Valentine’s Day. VA Medical Centers around the country host celebratory events ranging from special ward visits, photo ops, recreational games and school essay contests. Some larger cities even plan musical concerts that are free for veterans and their families. These events need a full range of volunteers in all sorts of categories, whether volunteers want to be very involved or just help a little.
There is no minimum age to volunteer. Not all volunteer positions are working with ill patients, but every volunteer does need to undergo a health screening to ensure veteran safety and well being. Volunteer assignments will dictate if a background check in needed but most of the time a simple fingerprinting will suffice.
For any questions, a local VA Voluntary Service is the best resource. They appreciate all the help willing to be brought their way.
As I relaxed on my porch, drinking coffee, it crossed my mind how privileged I am. My blessings are uncountable. Conversely, one of my greatest blessings is my freedom. I owe this to our dedicated soldiers.
Compare our coziness and comfort this season to dirty, dusty, dingy and dry conditions of the Middle East. While we mingle and laugh with our friends and families at parties, they are constantly looking over their shoulders counting on their sister or brother soldier to watch their back.
May is National Military Appreciation month. Congress chose this month to ensure the nation was given a chance to publicly express their gratitude for the successes and sacrifices made by our soldiers. Within the month of May there are quite a few military related national observances:
Armed Forces Day
Observed: Celebrated yearly on the 3rd Saturday in the month of May.
This is a day set aside to pay tribute to both women and men who served the United States armed forces. It was initially designed to supersede the days celebrating each service, but those days are still observed. Many events across the United States take place on this day to honor American soldiers who served their country in times of war and peace. Those who are honored on this day include individuals who serve the Navy, Army, Coast Guard, and Air Force. Activities and events may include:
• Themed motorcycle rides.
• Different educational activities that educate children about the armed forces.
• Large parades.
• Multi-service military displays in areas open to the public.
Observed: Celebrated on the last Monday in the month of May.
This is the most renowned holiday out of the May military-themed ceremonies. It started after the civil war to pay tribute to Americans who died while serving in the country’s Armed Forces. Many Americans observe this day by participating in parades, holding family gatherings and visiting memorials or cemeteries. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
Military Spouse Day
Observed: Traditionally set for the Friday just before Mother’s Day.
This is an important day set aside to recognize the sacrifices, contributions, and support of the spouses of the Armed Forces. American’s military spouses are without a doubt the strength of the families who encourage our troops during deployment, reset, mission and reintegration. They are the quiet heroes who are vital to the strength of our nation and who equally serve our country.
Admittedly, spending years scared for the life of a loved one takes a toll on an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being, so military spouses will undeniably be grateful for your support. How you decide to mark this day is up to you, just find a way to show these people the compassion and respect they deserve.
I would like to say “Thank you” to military members present, past and future. We appreciate all that you do to protect our country.
Holidays away from loved ones are never easy, especially if a loved one is stationed overseas with his or her military unit. In recent years, tens of thousands of our soldiers have been deployed to other parts of the world, missing Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas presents. Yet, while they work in a job that offers little opportunity for holidays and vacations, we all benefit from their service as we are able to remain safe stateside and enjoy the gifts our loved ones in the military give us daily – security and peace of mind.
As a nation that is at war, the demands of each soldiers lengthy and ongoing deployment can have an adverse impact on the financial stability their families. There’s no doubt that many of these families suffer extensive income loss and become strained by loans and debts while their love ones are deployed overseas. Our soldiers are devoted to protecting the freedoms we may ignore. However you and I can make a decision at this time to help the families of these heroes and injured soldiers alike by making a contribution to a variety of support organizations for the families of our soldiers.
Your contribution will not only help support the family members of those that are currently serving in combat, it will also support those people who’ve lost loved ones or those that are injured. Any such gift is a recognition of the knowledge and appreciation for the sacrifices these heroes make each day, doing so for our benefit.
Supporting those soldiers who are currently injured is to acknowledge that they deserve the most effective care and support available at their moment of need. Because the road to recovery or rehabilitation from sustained injuries can be an expensive and lengthy one and the injuries are often very severe and life altering, much financial support is needed.
The costs of hospitalization and treatment for these soldiers is often very high, and expenses can add up very quickly. Plus families of injured soldiers will likely lose income because they have to take time off work in order to visit and take care of their injured family members. This can be very stressful for military families having a partner, brother, father, sister, or daughter serving in combat. Family budgets are stretched to the near breaking point, and if which were not enough knowing that at any time they might never see this hero again.
Contributions made by people like you and me are critical. Without them we’d be unable to pay the treatment towards saving the lives of those individuals. The need for physical therapy, counseling, wheelchairs, learning devices and specialized equipment will continue to grow. In some instances for all those soldiers that experience extensive injuries a need for modified homes and cars are needed to support the injury.
Making financial contributions is important. However, it may be even more important to show support in other ways. If sending giving money is not an option, a show of personal support can have a huge impact. Anything from you or your children will be treasured by a soldier, like a care package. Below are some ideas for things you can put into these care packages.
Nothing warms a soldier’s heart more, of course, than to receive a gift from home. Whether it’s a letter or a small gift, just the simple act of jotting a note that says “I love you” brings a piece of family to an otherwise lonely place. Unfortunately, not everybody overseas is as fortunate to get such things from home.
Just a few items one might want to consider giving include:
Hard candies and gum – Satisfy a soldier’s sweet tooth with a bag of peppermints or sour fruit jawbreakers. Chewing gum is not always easily available overseas, and such items won’t take up much room in a package. Avoid sending chocolates or anything else that may melt en route.
Drink mixes – Most fruit-punch and lemonade mixes are available in single serving envelopes. Send a box for a soldier’s water bottle, to make a refreshing treat.
Eye drops, lip balm, travel soaps – Especially if a soldier is stationed in a desert region, days and nights can be uncomfortable. Dry heat and sand irritate the eyes and chap the skin, so such items would be greatly appreciated.
Books – Occasionally, there is downtime, yet little to do. Mass market paperbacks – romance and mysteries, thrillers and fiction – are especially prized. If you are interested in just sending books overseas, you can arrange to ship through most booksellers.
Phone cards – Small, inexpensive, and very practical. One card gives the gift of conversation with family for a soldier. Especially on holidays, this is a very thoughtful gift that can bring a soldier closer to home.
This is a special congratulation to all our soldier because of their continued support and patriotism to our nation. To me, there is nothing I can compare to our soldiers and their amazing work to protect the nation. Despite the increase in crime levels, we have been able to stay at peace. This is at the expense of soldiers, some of whom some have lost their lives in the process of fighting for their nations. May they rest in peace.
In what ways have our soldier done it?
Our soldiers may be among the least paid workers, but their success and achievement for this great nation can’t be measured by how much they earn. This is the reasons why we are giving a special appreciation to the entire military for the continued support. Below are some of the ways in which they have aided this beautiful nation.
Sacrificing their lives for the nation
The real sacrifice of our soldiers has been clearly seen where many of them have been shot during attacks. This means that they have saved the life of many people who might have died in such incidences. Those that have lost their lives have been a great loss not only to their families, but to the entire nation. We greatly honor and appreciate your support as we can now live peacefully away from the intruders. Besides those who have passed away, many soldiers received life changing injuries. Although some soldiers have managed to recover and return for another tour, many are having to learn to live with their injuries. You are our heroes and we really celebrate you.
Keep our borders free from intruders
The country is fully protected from intruders from other countries and this has enabled us to stay at peace. Without the aid of our soldiers along the borders, we could now be experiencing security threats from unknown individuals. Thanks to their sacrifices, we are all able to live in this nation and not constantly worry for our safety. Let’s all give an appreciation for their great work. Apart from ensuring security at the borders, they have also ensured that illegal businesses are not practiced in the country. This is one thing that has greatly enhanced the growth of our economy and instead of giving it to the government, I would love to thank the soldiers first. This is because they have ensured that no illegal goods from other countries are imported into our countries.
Patriotic to the nation
Patriotism is an act of expressing devotion to and vigorous support to your country. To commit their time to the military, leave their families, and put their lives on the line, soldiers are the true definition of patriotism. These men and women put themselves at risk to protect the people in this nation, and for that we thank you.
Long working hours
Since all our soldiers have been alert when they are supposed to sleep or have time with their families, our nation has always remained at peace. They have been able to prevent all attacks both during at night and day time due to their constant willingness to protect and fight.
Our soldiers sacrifice their lives for us every day. Thanks to their hard work, we do not have to worry for our security or see the gruesome obstacles of war that they experience every day. Their dedication, patriotism and loyalty to the nation needs to be recognized. They are the eyes of this nation. We would like you all to know that we congratulate and appreciate all our soldiers even those that have lost their lives or succumbed to injuries in the line of duty. Thank you for all you do!
In 2001, after the infamous terrorist group attacked America by completing their terrorist act known as the 911 incident, President George Bush signed, thus approving and putting in action, the USA PATRIOT ACT. This Congress act is actually a ten-word abbreviation. The actual title is “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism ACT of 2001” Although nobody has the proof needed to connect the attack of 911 with any nation, Islamic or non-Islamic, creating such Congress act is regarded as an approved move by many countries.
The influence on the U.S citizens.
Once the state declared that Islamic terrorist group was behind the attack on 911, the entire nation was engulfed with patriotic feeling, ready to do all that is necessary to defend the country against the foreign threat. The Younger part of the population, as well as a large number of veterans, charged to serve the country and join the military. This led to an alarming increase of soldiers in the United States Armed Forces branch USMC. There are numerous theories about the identity of people responsible for 911 attacks, and some include the U.S government and its delegates being involved in organizing an attack to boost the patriotism and direct their citizens towards attacking Islamic countries for the profit of the government. Whether people were blindfolded and sent to war against a county that was or was not involved in 911 attacks or solely choose to believe that their country is in need “good soldiers” to defend against a foreign threat there is no doubt that the explanations of the attacks influenced U.S citizens.
Shortly after the attacks, lawmakers were quick to change the law and allow a nearly infinite budget to the U.S Military and the Pentagon in order for them to easily eliminate any attempt of a terrorist attack on the U.S soil. So the impact of 911 attacks on American patriotism is evident where rules that were created to shape the country were changed all in an effort to provide protection against a threat behind which was unknown country. The country believed to be behind the attacks was Iraq, and the U.S did not, in any case, use this attack as an excuse to rob the country of their natural wealth (oil and gas) with military forces.
Media and disinformation.
The fact that there were around 3000 civilians killed in the attacks, and more than 6000 others injured, only enhanced the patriotism streaming in U.S citizens. The media started transmitting information regarded the attack and continued to do so long after the attack was over, thus triggering a sense of empathy that as a result created increase in patriotism amongst the U.S citizens.
There is a big difference between patriotism and nationalism, where one describes a person’s belief in his country and is proud of countries past actions, and the other is only blind arrogance, fear, and anger created by believing in your country no matter what atrocities it does.