Allowing Time for Transition

We are all eager to get into that workforce. It's in our nature as achievement-oriented types and we're keen to show what we can do. Plus, we are keen to begin to make some interesting money.

Please take the time to enjoy the transition from military service to the commercial world. Two week vacations are increasingly rare in the civilian sector and 30 days of leave is unheard of as people tend to organize time-off around the school schedules of their children and the cycles of their businesses. And iPhones etc make it hard to ever be completely disconnected.

A transitioning veteran can take 60 to 120 days off between end of service and the initial civilian career. Honestly, it could be be more but such seems incredible to most.

I encourage all clients to take that vacation that was out of reach during service; if relocating, take the time to settle-in comfortably. No matter who you are or what was your service experience, i.e. combat, submarine deployment, NROTC or other shore duty, allow time to decompress and to get your bearings in your new surroundings. Have some fun as your finances permit. You'll be working a long time and are likely to never again enjoy such a large block of question-free time out of work.

In my own experience, I left the Navy in summer and was not interested in formal schooling such as law or MBA programs. I worked a summer and a fall in simple jobs in Washington, DC; an internship at the Library of Congress in the following winter and spring; I studied German at Middlebury College for 8 weeks before marrying and uncovering my first job at Bath Iron Works in Maine. Overall, it took me 18 months to settle-in to the commercial community. In hindsight, the most interesting job that I had was in DC at the Library of Congress and the German studies at Middlebury led to my being hired to start a US-based subsidiary of Stuttgart corporation.

Of course, your family situation shapes your career transition timeline and few of us can rattle-around for 18 months before settling-in. There is no need to dive directly from service to civilian employment if only to take the time to scope-out thoroughly the career options that you have.

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