Managing Your Transition
By Laura Torres, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Business Partner, Paycor
I joined the Army at the age of 28. I had already experienced life, responsibilities, the corporate world, independence, and so much more than the average young military trainee experiences. I needed a challenge, to be pushed to the extreme, and to be a part of something greater than myself. I signed a military contract with an eight-year commitment. I thought, “that’s not long enough! I am going to be here for 20 years! I will be a lifer!” In my first four years serving on
active duty, I realized that life circumstances change and that maybe 20 years of active-duty service would no longer be possible. It took some time for me to come to a place of acceptance in that decision and I finally realized that I would be OKAY! I want to provide some advice to our military servicemembers that may face difficult decisions along the course of your military career and as you transition into civilian life.
Start defining the pathway that will build your career reputation in both the military and civilian sector. Don’t wait! Start managing your transition as soon as you get acclimated at your first unit. Life circumstances, medical challenges, and anything else can shift at any time, and it is important to have a backup plan. For example: I took advantage of the free programs the Army had to offer and attained civilian HR credentials, joined professional civilian networks to stay aware of what was trending in my area of expertise, took Army courses that closely resembled the civilian sector and took on assignments that would help propel my career in both the military and civilian sector. The military knows that not everyone will serve a full 20 years and they prepare for that. Therefore, never put all your eggs in one basket because the future can change in a blink of an eye.
Transitioning, by definition, is the process or a period of change from one state or condition to another. This transition is a process and will take time. Take care of your mental well-being, and give yourself grace! Stressful questions like: Where you will live, buying or renting, quality of schools for kids, the job search, interviewing and resume writing, timing everything properly, and your own preparedness for corporate America are real legitimate thoughts. Take the time to use the resources available to you through Military One Source and other services that are provided to you
through your branch of service to manage stress and anxiety. Take advantage of transition leave and take that mental break.
Build and form connections with those that understand our unique perspective. Connect with Veteran networks, whether it is an employee resource group (ERG) at your new job, old friends that have left the service, or other means like American Legion. The VALOR ERG at Paycor helped me and fellow veterans to understand their civilian work culture, the terminology used, and provided access to resources. This challenging transition can be made smoother with the shared experiences of other Veterans.
As you transition, remember to prepare early on, take care of your mental health while using the resources available to you. Most importantly, several servicemembers have successfully transitioned, and you can lean into your military family to support you so that you do too!