Civilian culture is quite different from the military. It’s not easy for soldiers coming home to jump back into their lives. Even if they are mentally ready and feel good about things, it’s a long road for some. Think about it like transferring to a duty station overseas. If you know you are going to live in a foreign country, would you just show up and dive in? Probably not. You’d do some research on where you are going first. The same should be true for civilian life. Sure, you were there once, but you’ve changed and so has society since you left. Use these tips for transitioning from the military to civilian life to help make things easier.
Start Early and Get to Work
Start doing some research and figure out some logistics. Where will you live? What kind of job do you want? How will you get around? Treat the process like a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to answer all these questions in a day or even a week. Start looking around and thinking about what you want and where you want to be.
Use all the Resources Available to You
There are thousands of organizations that revolve around helping veterans in a variety of ways. Use every last one of them to help in the transition. Reach out to any of the groups that can help you find a job, a home, and any medical resources you might need. That’s what they are there for.
Create a Plan of Attack
Don’t think that you can get home and figure it out on the fly. The military has relocation resources available to you, but you only get one shot at it. Once you’re out, you’re out. Make sure you know where you’re going, and make it count. Plan things out so you can take full advantage and land on your feet.
Drop the Military Jargon
Your experience makes you valuable to employers, but don’t bury that value in lingo that civilians don’t understand. Talk about your job in the military, not your MOS. The military loves acronyms—and there are tons of them—but civilians and potential employers won’t understand most of them. Speak in terms that the average person that’s never been in the military can understand.
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