Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Military Transition Management

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Military Transition Management

Article excerpt

Preparing To Make The Move From The Military To A Highly Competitive Civilian Labor Market

The Times, They Are a' Changing

Whether you're a person who is exiting the military because of retire- ment, suffering through a base closure, are being riffed, or just leaving the military for personal reasons; if you want to work in today's labor market there are three irrefutable facts you have to wrap your brain around:

1. You've got to be ready to make some serious changes.

2. You're going to have to adapt to culture shock.

3. Finding work and making the transition back to a civilian labor force won't be easy for you or your family!

The purpose of this article is to give exiting military personnel a realistic look at some of the challenges they might have to overcome, decisions that need to be made, and job search tips they can use for smoother reentry into the civilian labor force.

Change And Transition Are Inevitable

Former armed services members, and their families, will need to make any number of life, economic, and vocational changes upon exiting the cloistered world of the military. How they deal with change is just one of the critical factors for career transition success. A few of the more observable changes include:

a. Changes in how they think.

b. Changes in how they behave.

c. Changes in how they describe their job duties.

d. Changes in their lifestyle.

e. Changes in how they interact with others.

f. Changes in their self-image.

g. Changes in who manages their time.

h. Changes in their levels of power and authority.

i. Changes in work environments.

j. Changes in their income and benefit levels.

But, the biggest change of all is the mind-set change needed to be com- petitive in the ever changing world of work. Veterans need to get ready to compete, in a very aggressive manner, against people who have had years of successful experience in the civilian labor force.

Biggest Challenge - The Competition Is Brutal

At any given time over 20,000,000 resumes are flying through space and cyberspace. It's also estimated that over 50 per cent of the workforce is either actively or passively looking for another job. While veterans served the country, the civilian competition built up networks and em- ployment contacts. While veterans defended Americans against terror- ist attacks, the civilians developed a cache of work experiences. While veterans put their lives on the line for the civilians they'll be competing against for jobs, those same civilians were developing relationships that could advance their careers. The message here is simple. Exiting veterans have got some catching up to do. Veterans seeking employment are going to have stiff competition from their civilian counterparts. As veterans we have to make the same commitment to a job search that we made to the country. We have to invest our hearts, souls, and energies to finding work if we're to regain the high ground and smooth the transition back into a civilian job market.

Culture Shock Isn't A Rock Group (Developing A New Mind-set)

Military culture gave us some standard guidelines against which to live a military life. These cultural guidelines have been set and effectively used by America's service men and women for hundreds of years. A chain of command was in place. Strategic decision-making came from the top and it was our job to get things done in a tactical manner. Excuses weren't allowed and quite often failure wasn't an option. In many instances, what we did had life and death consequences for ourselves and others. In the military culture everyone looked pretty much the same and acted the same. You wore the same clothing, had the same haircuts, exhibited the same pride in your step, and showed the same sparkle in your eyes from being able to say you served your country. There was the camaraderie of being able to share common experiences with people who had been in similar situations, had similar military occupations, or lived on the same military installations. …

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