Your Next Big Duty Station – Civilian Duty

Transition discussion with Airman.

What will your new life look like?

The day is close at hand. You are getting close to pressing your uniform and lacing your boots for the last time. And it's the first time in a long time you've had to carefully consider your next major step in life.

Your service to your country is coming to an end, and you're asking yourself other important questions like "how will it feel to leave the best brother/sisterhood in the damn world behind as I step into the abyss of civilian life?"

The first day you put on the uniform, you started to transform yourself to be better, to reach for more, to excel through adversity, because you would be better men/women. You matured, grew, and received promotions, because your passion drove you to levels where honor, dignity, and respect became a way of life.

You built strong lasting relationships that shaped the way you thought and persevered, and you challenged yourself to become a leader of tomorrow. However, you now have a new challenge: civilian duty. 

While you wait in lines for your last dental and medical check-ups, you ask yourself the deepest questions. Where do I go? What in the hell am I going to do? Will I have someone to take me under his or her wing like the day I stepped on the quarterdeck of a ship or reported to my first battalion? Will I make the same connections outside the sentry gates?

The first step will be yours and yours alone.

This new role as a civilian will require you to embody the same honor, dignity, and respect that you served with. You will have to use the same warrior-like tenacity to work on your resume, go to your first interview, write your first follow up email thanking them for their time, and, of course, network.

Transition meetings and training can only do so much to prepare you for what lies ahead. Wearing the right attire at the right times will become a key to success. Expressing yourself with just the right amount of confidence without sounding like a drill sergeant and not overplaying your military background will become a crucial tactical maneuver. Finding the proper balance marks the difference between succeeding and getting a rejection letter.

So let's begin by briefly answering the questions above. They will also be answered in greater depth in the free guide I'll be offering at the end of this article.

Where do I go?

Answer: This is something you need to ask yourself long before your separation from active duty. Depending on your circumstances, the answer will begin to manifest through a worksheet I'm going to give you.

Your military occupational specialty, marital status, whether you have children or not, familial support system, and so forth should all be taken into consideration. Your potential for success or failure will be molded by these factors. Thus, there are some subsequent questions to consider: Where do the people I'm closest to live? Where are the best school districts? What is the job market like in those places? What is the best city or location for me to thrive in considering my field of knowledge?

What in the hell am I going to do?

Answer: Apply the skills and connections you've acquired throughout your military service and move forward from there. Plus, focus on resume building, interviewing proficiency, building an online platform, and networking.

Will I have someone to take me under his or her wing?

Answer: When starting out, it is advised to go where you have the greatest support system of friends and family in lieu of following up on promising job opportunities. In addition, you should seek out someone who's 10 years ahead of you on the path you wish to take. Reach out to that person; ask him or her for some guidance, mentorship, or even one word of advice. People love to talk about themselves and be the wise advisor. Most people are willing to help if you approach them the right way.

Will I make the same connections?

Answer: Making and keeping connections is a talent within itself, and it takes work to refine. It can be as simple as swapping business cards with the right person at a bar. But even getting to that point requires attuned social skills and some interpersonal finessing.

In addition, once you get to that point, what is on your business card? A name? Name and phone number? Name, phone number, and email? What's your email address? Do not use, or something equally amateurish.

Come up with a professional email address, like your name for instance. While you're at it, get yourself a website or LinkedIn account so you can emboss that business card with a nice, shiny URL, too; they're impressive and necessary in today's world.

I have one final inquiry to spark thought through your transition process: are there any organizations that cultivate the best in us to excel in the area of operations we call the civilian duty station? And not just in business, but in all aspects of life.

The answer is yes.

The Society International is a group of individuals where excelling, succeeding, mentoring and being mentored, becoming better people and leadership are part of our core vocabulary.

You will unite with career minded people like hedge fund managers, investors, writers, producers, and successful business owners. These are people who connect with each other for future growth—personally, professionally, emotionally, and financially. And we are from all over the globe.

It's a group that passes zero judgment—there exists only support and mentoring. This brotherhood is dedicated to spreading the knowledge and wisdom that will help promote you to your next level. But make no mistake, this will require dedication, respect, and hard work.

Have that serious conversation with yourself today. We're here to help. Reach out to us for more information, and find out how to start the next journey to becoming your best self. We are not here to replace the brothers in arms—this will never happen. However, we are a brotherhood that you can grow with and excel in your life going forward.

Based off of my personal years of experience and successful transition to civilian life, I constructed the Success Loves Preparation guide I've referenced throughout this article. This is my contribution to helping you prepare for this journey.

Get my free guide now:

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Related Topics

Military Transition