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.