What's your best advice to others transitioning from military to private-sector work?
Oh, that's a tough question to answer, as I am still trying to figure it out after 14 years.
... now imagine a five minute gap here as I ponder ...
The best advice that I do NOT follow is to de-program, or erase, all things learned in the military; to go back to the mindset you had BEFORE boot camp. Or as Yoda says, "You must unlearn what you have learned." However, I'm quite proud of my service, and I'm quite proud of the man I became while in the military. I also like my "attention to detail" abilities. ... So, while it seems logical to re-assimilate to civilian mindsets, it's just not for me.
... more pondering for a more viable answer ...
My first job after the Navy was as a defense contractor collecting logistical data for combat systems on aircraft carriers. As I was a Data Systems Technician (DS) in the Navy, I knew the equipment in combat systems quite well. So, that made it easy to go from military to civilian. Plus, many of my co-workers were prior Navy as well, with a few Air Force types in there. I did notice that non-veterans didn't last long in our division. So, there is definitely a cultural difference.
... more pondering ...
I guess, in the end, it's best to find ways to associate and socialize with other veterans, i.e. VFW or various websites intended for veterans' support. Also, I would recommend going back to school and getting your degree as soon as possible. This is another forum to get acclimated to civilians in a non-cutthroat setting. Plus, most of the younglings like to hear the sea stories.
Thank you for the question. I hope I helped, at least in small measure.
First realize that the a lot of the working world has taken a posture pill. A lot just sit back and say "not my job". Others just go through the motions and really don't care as all they want is the paycheck. Still others want to micro manage as they feel that helps them feel more important. There are a lot out there that focus on everything except the mission.
Second face the fact that employers have been stuck with the crowd. Some shift through piles of applicants and resumes without finding anyone who is mature, can really work unsupervised, accepts responsibility for their production, understands a simple chain of command or really care about anything except the weekly check.
Third there is a wave of people out here who believe that just because their grandfather made $60 an hour they should be able to as well. I have a friend who will not open his tool box for less then $50. Yet it is hard to find working individuals who are realistic because their calendar/schedule is packed with work.
Now with all that in front of you you need to stand on your own personal values. You are mission oriented and can work towards a goal individually or as a team. When you are scheduled to be at work you will be there on time and ready. You will communicate as you run into problems, search for results/answers and keep your supervisors aware of your progress.
You have extremely high levels of attention to detail and accountability. DO NOT let the common attitudes out there distract you. You have a lot more to offer then others in line. Any employer that understands that will move you higher in line for consideration.
Adjusting from military life can be a challenge. But do not relax so much that the true assets you have and proven experience are not the focus. Stay close to your support (VA, and other organization that recognizes/assists veterans) and you should be alright. Remember adjustment is an ongoing mission so it will take time. But the mechanics of employment, accountability and productivity are already in place.
I am also a veteran. It was a pleasure serving before you. And, I extend my hand with a warm smile, looking you straight in the eye and thank you for your service as well.
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