"It's important to ask yourself these questions when preparing to leave the military," says Danny Nelson, RNZRSA Strategic Advisor, Support Services.
Transition from military to civilian life is an inevitability for everyone who serves in the armed forces, but it appears some service people do it better than others.
Poor transition can lead to hardship and exacerbate difficulties adjusting to civilian life. When thinking of transitioning out of the military ask yourself some questions before you decide to leave:
•Why do I want to leave? The military is a great life, but sometimes things happen that provoke such an emotional response that you are ready to just pack it in. Pause and reflect; do I really want to get out or is this just something that I am reacting to at the time?
• Do I have a plan? No plan survives first contact with the enemy, but having an idea of what you are going to do for money, where you are going to live and what you want to do once you leave will give you a focus for what you have to do before and after you get out to make transitioning easier.
• What do I have to offer the civilian world?
The military life is its own world, so how do you translate the skills you have learnt to Civvy Street? Equivalent Trades have an easier time of it, but teeth arm roles come with leadership, planning, training and communication skill sets that are desirable in civilian leadership roles.
• Do I have a CV?
Showcasing your experience and skills in a concise way is a must in order to be successful as a civilian. A good CV translates your military skills into “civilian speak”, upping your chances of securing an interview. Don’t be humble – it is a competitive world out there.
• Have I done my research?
Talk to others who have gotten out and seek advice. There is a number of people, websites and organisations that can dispense good advice and information to military persons transitioning out, and what they should and shouldn’t do. Read and listen widely, then apply the best of it to your own situation.
This is just a guide to help you transition out of the military space. If you do need help or want some advice then let people know. The RSA offers a number of things to serving and ex-serving members and their dependants:
• Post service support and advice – the RSA has links to post service employment programmes and organisations.
• General grants for hardship, medical and education needs.
• We maintain beneficial relationships with government agencies and NGO’s to provide information, support and mentoring.
• Advocacy for post-service benefits. The rigors of domestic and overseas service can have effects on mental and physical health we can advocate on your behalf for government recognition and health related assistance.
• Membership discounts for over 20 different goods and services. The RSA Club Card can be used at a number of retailers and businesses for great deals.
- Danny Nelson, RNZRSA Senior Strategic Advisor, Support Services
For more information, get in touch with your local RSA.