Career Transition from the Military to the Civilian Sector

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If you’ve had no interface with the military at all, you may not realize that it’s where you find the best and brightest that the nation has to offer. As a norm, most veterans are very dedicated to what they do, have a high level of integrity, and will always put in their best effort. They’re used to a good, identifiable chain of command or organizational structure, and like working in that type of environment.

Keep in mind that veterans may not know the nuances of business. There will be a learning curve. In the military, people are used to going after a task and breaking it down. Using a distinct decision making process, they find the best people for the job and direct them to execute.

Mission execution is what it’s all about; financial considerations don’t come into place.

On the civilian side, the veteran employee has to learn to consider costs, understand people’s set roles and responsibilities and who’s doing what; work around the logistics of moving someone from one role to another.

Making the transition as a veteran

As one of TAPE’s own employees tells us, veterans facing this transition need to make a plan, upfront and early. Put a lot of critical thought into it, and then execute your plan.

He suggests a self-assessment – where you are, and where you want to be. The bottom line. You have some choices you need to make. First, when you get out, are you going to follow the job (move), or do you want to stay where you are? That’s your first fork in the road.

From there you’ll have other choices depending on which route you take. Of course a lot of these choices will depend on your family, for example wanting to let your kids finish up high school in the same place before you would consider moving.

TAPE, like all government contractor firms, is very veteran-friendly. But over and above the obvious legal and HR issues, our experience is that veterans, even with the direct-from-service learning curve, are trained in a particular way, and respond to direction by just heading off and doing it.

By the way, a similar experience comes from direct-from-the-retirement-pool civilian employees of the Federal Government. Both of these pools are also likely to have that magic word, relationships. And that will be the key to success, to utilize the skill sets and maximize the relationships.

This post originally appeared on Bill Jaffe’s blog at http://blog.federalsmallbizsavvy.com/leadership/career-transition-from-the-military-to-the-civilian-sector/ and was reprinted with permission.