- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Spouse Series: Moving On

by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article sponsored by URS

Return to March/April 2013 Issue

The winds of change within the greater military community are certainly stirring. Sequestration, once thought to be a simple deterrent to inaction, is quickly becoming an all too in-our-face reality.

Military CommunityIt’s like we’re stuck in a grainy black-and-white film version of “The Wizard of Oz” and the storm has almost arrived. The wind is swirling faster and faster all around us. The cows are flying, and we’re trying our best to batten down the hatches. We’re all screaming at each other, and no one can hear anything.

It’s going to be a big one, folks. Seek safe shelter now.

Whether you are anticipating another PCS move or a major military-to-civilian career transition for whatever reason, change is going to happen and you can do nothing to stop it.

You can, however, move on gracefully, with the intent to succeed, no matter what debris will be kicked up by the imminent wind tunnel of life. The secret to weathering this storm of epic proportions is emergency preparedness.

Are you ready?

Now is the time to develop a sequester emergency plan if you haven’t already done so.

   Make sure everyone in your family understands the severity of the situation.

Everyone in your family should have an age-appropriate, realistic understanding of the status quo. If you are facing certain separation from service, desired or not, keep everyone informed. Making a transition under any circumstances can be challenging. A constant flow of communication and an open willingness to hear ideas, fears and thoughts should be present.

   Identify your potential exits.

Where will you go? What will you do? Identify those locational and job preferences now. Begin to research each on a more in-depth level. It’s never too early to gather information.

   Know the hazards and be ready to confront them.

Is timing going to be issue on any level? Do you have enough of a cash flow to sustain you and your family through a relocation or through an extended period of unemployment? Can you afford to rent or buy a home with this move? How are you going to close out the business of your current life in a smooth manner? Think of those painful details and identify the potential hazards that could accompany them. Troubleshoot the issues now so they are manageable in the future.

   Identify your service providers.

You don’t have to through this alone. There are service providers, inside and outside the military community to help make this transition. Use them. You don’t always have to take their advice, but in times of stress, it’s always a good idea to hear many sides.

Start with the family service and support center and the military transition center on the installation nearest you.

   Do the paperwork.

Resumes, cover letters and job applications. Oh my. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin putting together the documentation that will hopefully lead you to a safe landing on the other side.

While you’re messing around with the paperwork, don’t neglect to keep all those other important papers in one place, too. Plan to hand-carry, not only your resume, but your DD 214, any professional certifications, college transcripts, insurance policies, bank account numbers, important passwords and medical records.

   Stay strong.

You’re no stranger to challenging times. This is just another one in the bigger picture of life. Take a deep breath. Reach down into your inner reserves and grab an umbrella...and watch out for flying cows.

Janet Farley is the author of "The Military Spouse’s Guide to Employment: Smart Jobs for Mobile Lifestyles”.


Return to March/April 2013 Issue