5 Things Transitioning Veterans Need to Think About that Aren’t Jobs

Jobs are important to reclaiming life as a civilian, but work is not the only thing we need to talk about when we saying things like, “veteran transition.” There are some other parts of life that need attention during transition, and I’m going to talk about 5 of them today.

Health

Especially mental health, diet, and exercise. The goal now is protecting yourself. And that usually means through more supportive exercise, a healthier (and lower calorie) diet, and “checkups and tuneups” with a therapist.

Work Habits

Most civilian work environments won’t benefit from having military order imposed on them. Yelling and group punishment will cause resentment, if not lawsuits. Also, what surprises a lot of veterans is that 80-hour workweeks don’t demonstrate commitment; they show you can’t manage time well. Remember, productivity does not always equal efficiency.

Relationships

In the military, you had your army mates serve as family. Now, you’re home. Your spouse and kids are not subordinate to your job anymore. Your friends will need to be diversified. That means branching away from just your unit or veteran groups. Rank structures no longer determine your friends.

Purpose

The military provides a tremendous sense of purpose to service-members. But what about after you separate? You need to consider what motivates you day-to-day and how to harness that for your success. Otherwise, you can never truly leave the military.

Identity

Yes, you are a veteran forever. But there’s a big difference between an identifier and an identity. Those with only one part to their identity are easily rocked if that identity is threatened. Broaden your sense of self and become more than “veteran.”

Separating from service is challenging. Transitioning from one culture to the never will inevitably cause you some discomfort and disillusionment, but you can get through it. Keep these 5 important things in mind, and you will be setting out on a journey to make this veteran life the best part of life.