Veterans have spent the majority of their life supporting and defending the United States of American, yet feel as if they are transitioning into an unfamiliar and foreign country. Everything about this new environment is foreign to their military experiences and often counter to what their perception of civilian life has always been.
Veterans struggle with the transition because it is so dramatically different from their normal indoctrinated view of the world. Now, as they transition into the civilian workforce, they must enter an environment unfamiliar to them, unfriendly to their demeanor and motivations and unimpressed by their experiences.
Once confronted with this uninviting environment, most veterans will become distraught, angry and personally demoralized. They will feel as if they are “lost” in an unfamiliar environment with no-one to help guide them. This confusion will lead to increasingly and continuous anxiety.
The stress is tremendous and the uncertainty is enormous. It feels as if everyone is counting on us to maintain high standards and a high work ethic, yet no one is there to help us. The veteran will normally fall back onto their military knowledge and experiences in an attempt to establish a common “mental” understanding of the present.
The veteran is smart and has overcome these feelings in the past by leveraging their military knowledge, tactics, techniques and procedures. Their ability to relate all unfamiliar situations to military strategy and TTP facilitates their awesome achievements in overcoming such obstacles. Their military experiences, travels and deployments, although stressful, were filled with camaraderie, team support, planning, mission, goals and objectives.
Now, unlike their military battlefield experiences, they only have themselves to face the enemy and only themselves to face each battle. The pressure is high and continues to increase as they realize they are on their own with no camaraderie, no teamwork, and no detailed plan to follow.
This is the time they realize they must accurately analyze and evaluate the enemy’s actions independently, without error, to ensure they take care of their family. They realize that their ultimate test is in front of them, starring them in the face. Ultimately, they realize the burden lies directly on their shoulders, and failure is not an option.
Now that you have a choice, which career will you pursue?
Choose as many as you like, but remember that each one will require its own targeted and tailored résumé.
What is your Short-Term Goal?
What is your Long-Term Goal?
Which job do you want to target?
These are critical questions that many transitioning service members have a difficult time answering. However, it is critical to your transition success because it will focus your effort.
Many service members transitioning into the civilian workforce expend valuable effort in unfocused ways.
How to decide?
We recommend you focus your employment decisions based on the below criteria. Once identified, then you will be able to focus your efforts on what you really want.
You know there are jobs in the “civilian world” for which you qualify, but how do you obtain one? Your military experience proves that you can handle any job given to you, if you were just given a chance. Your military experience demonstrates that you are driven, motivated, loyal, mission oriented, goal oriented, etc. Many companies say they want to hire Veterans, so why is it so difficult to land a job?
Wargame your employment effort to better understand how your experience is being interpreted.
Your Experience. Listing your experience is critical to your transition. Your diverse experience in the military can be tailored to many civilian jobs, so make sure you describe your military experience in as much detail as possible.