10 Lessons We Learned During Our Transition to Civilian Life

Published by Leenette Joseph & Rob Joseph

Transitioning from military to civilian life can be challenging, but you can learn a few lessons from those who have experienced this journey. Here are the 10 lessons we learned during the process. 

1️⃣ 𝗦𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗗𝗼𝘄𝗻 & 𝗣𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗠𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵
You are about to transition but your mind is telling you “Don’t stop and keep going”. Gather your thoughts, and ask yourself “What do I want to do? career change? Is there a knowledge gap? My passion? Self-employment? & Reconnect with family!

2️⃣ 𝗧𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗢𝗳𝗳
Take a well-deserved break, decompress and clear your mind before you begin a new journey. If it's not financially feasible, at a minimum, disconnect and enjoy your terminal leave.

3️⃣ 𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘁
You have a vast experience in leadership, program management, and so much more. Conduct a skill inventory and include skills you gained through volunteer work and additional duties.

4️⃣ 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟
Don’t let your rank, position, or military career define who you are. Embrace what you learned, and cherish the memories, but don’t forget that you are special, strong, and resilient. Embrace the new journey with a fearless and adventurous mindset.  

5️⃣ 𝐒𝐞𝐭 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐆𝐨𝐚𝐥𝐬
What do you want to do, now that you are retiring? Build a vision board, if that helps you stay focused. There are times when you will feel overwhelmed but stay inspired by celebrating small victories.

6️⃣ 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀
Research, ask questions, and learn about your retirement benefits, especially healthcare. Learn about state laws & policies that benefit military families, which might help you pick your next state.

7️⃣ 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤
Use platforms like LinkedIn to let companies know that you are open to work opportunities. Reach out to organizations that support veterans transitioning from the military. There are a lot of resources available to you.

8️⃣ 𝐉𝐨𝐛 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠
We tend to shy away from jobs if we are missing one requirement. Know that companies will consider your application even when they are missing one or two requirements, especially if it is something you can easily learn. An internal Hewlett Packard report revealed that men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the qualifications listed, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.

9️⃣ 𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐟𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
Fear will only get in the way of progress. Use rejection as an opportunity to improve your resume, practice interviewing skills; be persistent. Don’t give up!

1️⃣0️⃣ 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐦𝐲
Job interviews can be intimidating, but you are very capable. Learn about the company, and the job description, be confident & be authentic. Companies are not just looking for skills, they are also looking for a positive attitude and an innovative mindset.


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