Making the transition from the Armed Forces to civilian life can be a difficult time
Leaving your comfort zone, or more likely leaving a pretty uncomfortable zone for new horizons is probably one of the most important choices you will make. Whether you have made the decision to leave or have reached the end of your contracted service; civvy street can be a daunting prospect.
When I left the Army the resettlement process was barely fit for purpose. I am sure it has improved beyond measure by now but when I went through, it seemed to be staffed largely by retired Officers who, though well-meaning had themselves little or no experience of business or industry.
I remember listening to endless talks about transferrable skills without any idea what those skills were. Of course, reliability, loyalty and turning up 5 minutes before parade are valuable qualities and will be appreciated by future employers but what else can you offer?
Now you may be in a trade that is easily transferable, HGV drivers are at a premium and Royal Engineer ‘Combat Plumbers’ have a sparkling career in prospect, however, being number 2 on the GPMG may be trickier to transition though.
Let me be clear, there is a great deal of goodwill in the nation toward Veterans and Service Personnel in general and you will certainly be a valuable addition to any civvy enterprise. That said, most civilians don’t know or care the difference between a Bombardier and a Brigadier so be prepared to explain.
So, what can you do? Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about my experience since stepping off into civilian life but to start, here is the first piece of advice you may choose to take.
Resettlement is your right; it isn’t an optional extra. One of your greatest qualities is loyalty, it was highly valued in your service career and will set you apart from other candidates applying for the same position.
However, you must now start putting yourself higher up on the priority list.
Become your own posting branch.
Sit down and write your plan.
We can help you with that but only you can answer the questions such as where, what and when. What you will, what you won’t, how much you think you are worth, how much you will settle for and so on.
Get in touch with us and have a good look around the Veteran Connection section of our website. It is free and may just be the first step in getting your next job.
Next time I will tell you all about the value of networking and the networking group we created many years ago, but in the meantime, follow the link and it will tell you how Pimento Connection got its name.
Cliff Allum, MBE