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Transition Talk

by Mike Arsenault, Vice President of Candidate Services

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Bradley-Morris answers questions from transitioning military job seekers.

Q: I was very lucky when I transitioned out last year. I got a job with a great company in an area close to my wife’s family, but I was so worried about getting a job that I didn’t really focus too much on whether I wanted to make this my career. Now nearly a year in, I can’t help but wonder if I should have done a better job researching what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, instead of where there was an immediate opening in the geographic location that I wanted. This company loves veterans and has been really great, but I really think that I need to look elsewhere. What do you think I should do as my first step?

A: You didn’t mention how long you had been in the military, but I can tell you any transition is difficult. Let’s assume you served eight years and spent some of that time perhaps deployed. Separation from the military is not easy. The relationships you developed and the sense of duty shared among service members are very hard to recapture in the corporate world. We hear from many veterans that what they miss most of all is the sense of camaraderie they experienced while serving in the military.


Like with any big life change, the first year after a military transition can be tough. You may even second guess your decision of separating. Don’t worry - this is not rare.


There is no true timetable on a career change. My advice to you is to write down the pros and cons of your current role. Include your spouse’s feedback and perspective so you both can discuss the benefits and reservations about your current career choice. Then, take a week and write a job description of the perfect job for you. Don’t do it all in one night as I’d encourage you to think through both your short- and long-term goals. You may find that you need more education or credentialing, more on-the-job training, or perhaps you want to be your own boss and take a more entrepreneurial track. The job you have now could potentially get you to where you want to be - but it can take some time.


I would absolutely caution against making any kind of decision during a time when you don’t have your full attention on the end goal. Take a step back and get comfortable in your new home, get into a routine and be sure you are taking care of yourself physically and mentally.


Also, find a way to connect with other veterans. You’re not alone and what you’re feeling now is part of the transition. Good luck.

Mike Arsenault is Vice President of Candidate Services at military placement firm Bradley-Morris, Inc. He can be reached at (800) 330-4950 ext. 2105 or by email at marsenault (at) bradley-morris.com.

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