24 U.S. VETERANS MAGAZINE WWW.USVETERANSMAGAZINE.COM
CAREER & EMPLOYMENT
ilitary transitions to civilian life can create high levels of anxiety, revealing the most challenging military battles a service member has experienced. Service members have been connected to a supportive military community, so the level of trust is extremely high, especially if deployments are part of the equation. The realization this high trust environment might become disconnected can be overwhelming. Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued. - Brene Brown. I was not ready to leave the military when I was thrust into my transition. My goal was to be a career Soldier. I was preparing for Officer Candidate School and was an Army world- class athlete. I had a group of battle buddies from the Gulf War and the Army's world-class athlete program (WCAP) vying to make the Olympic team. However, one misstep during a training session forever changed my life. A fall after clearing a hurdle dislocated my left knee, severed an artery behind my kneecap and seven days later, I was an amputee. I had anxiety and doubts. I questioned myself. A transition loomed in my near future. Who am I now? What is my identity? Will my wife stay with me? Alice, my wife, saw my struggle. She spoke the words which stopped my downward spiral. You know what, John? We are going to get through this together. It is just our new normal.
Career Advice for your Military Transition
By John Register
It was with those words I knew whatever transition was coming, I would be able to face it. Maybe you are having similar thoughts as you begin your transition? I offer five tips for consideration as you build connections outside of the military to facilitate your work transition.
Tip 1: Start Early, Start Early, Start Early.
I offer to begin looking for your next career while you are early into your current one. My Basic Training Drill Sergeant said, When you are in your Advanced Individual Training (AIT), order the correspondence course to coincide with your military occupational specialty (MOS). Once you finish the course, you will have also completed the correspondence course and earned points towards your advancement in the military. The same is true for advancing outside of the military. Begin to research jobs in your military career field and see any parallels in the civilian community. If the job you are working is something you desire to do in civilian life, research the civilian equivalent. The time to start is when you establish yourself in your military career. Looking for the next job while serving in the current position de-escalates anxiety that comes when transitioning.
Tip 2: Networking: The Inside and Outside Game.
Oxford Dictionary states, networking is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. The military network is already small and becomes more refined as we permanently change duty stations (PCS). PCSs are often met with familiar faces at new duty stations. The same familiarity needs to be gained by networking outside of the gate. It would help if you met them, and they need to know you. Before I transitioned, I utilized the Transition Assistance Program. My instructor recommended going after job opportunities that I did not want. This way, I could practice interviewing and writing resumes with minimal risk. So, when the big opportunity came, I was well- practiced.
Tip 3: Capitalize on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn claims to be the world's largest professional network with 810 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide with a vision of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Their mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. This tool was unavailable when I was transitioning, but I wish it had been. I have found this to be one of the
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