Congratulations! You have worked and trained hard during your military career.  If you are reading this, you will probably be a veteran soon. Therefore, it is time to plan your transition and your next career. Are you organized and ready for the work ahead?

How do you make the leap from the military into the corporate world?  There are so many things to be accomplished.  They seem to all need completion at the same time. Life during transition can get complicated and confusing very quickly.  You need some organizational tools and a personal strategic road map for your travels.

your military transition: eating an elephant…or a goat eating?

Remember the joke “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer was “One bite at a time.” We all know this saying, but we frequently fail to apply this concept in our lives. If you view the elephant as one giant objective, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Further, we have often heard that a goat will eat anything.  Eating or accomplishing everything at once is not a good path for achieving your goals, either. However, Goals, Objectives, Assignments and Tasks – or the acronym GOAT – is a great tool for organizing your successful military transition, through deconstructing your goals into manageable pieces.



Using the GOAT method, first perform an azimuth check and solidify your goals. Take some time to reflect on your transition goals. Make sure they are suitable and achievable. Once you know the goals are appropriate, begin to slice them into attainable objectives.


Objectives could be any number of capabilities.  Developing your abilities and determining the stepping stones to achieving the objectives are critical. These objectives might be classes, skills, certifications, a degree, enhancing your professional contact list, or anything you else you need to accomplish, before, during, and after your transition.


Once you know the objectives for achieving the goals, give yourself assignments to develop a path for completing your objectives. Here you will have to perform some study to determine the right certification for your future.  Perhaps you need to study and select an educational program. Regardless, determine good assignments for achieving each objective.


Once you begin work on the assignments, you will need to create task lists to accomplish them and complete each objective. The tasks will vary greatly. Some will be personal, and others will be professional. Perhaps a task would be to figure out how to start getting GI Bill dollars flowing or entering a VocRehab program. You may need to discover how to enroll in a training program for a certification or join a professional organization to grow your personal network. You may have papers or course assignments that need to be placed on a task list. Regardless, you will need to organize the many tasks associated with the assignments and objectives and prioritize them.

Like pieces of a puzzle, you will begin to knock out and track each completed task, assignment, and objective – enabling you to accomplish your goals. You are going to do great things. Take the time to organize and prepare for the road ahead.

Here’s wishing you an organized and lucrative transition.

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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at