The military has been your safe-haven career-wise for a number of years, maybe even a couple of decades. But you have made the decision (or it was made for you) that it is time to leave what you have done for so many years. This means there will be an inevitable upheaval in your life and you will have to make several decisions because of it.

Post military employment decisions

When getting out of the military, having a good transition plan in place can make the process easier. If you started your plan early enough in preparation of getting out, then you have probably already made several of the decisions required. For example, are you going to choose where you want to live and then choose a job, or is the job going to determine where you are going to live?

As far as location, you may have decided to be closer to family. Or maybe you like one part of the country better than another based on the topography or weather. That too could drive your decision. Other possible impactors could be:

  • Job availability
  • Quality of life
  • Cost of living
  • Cost of buying a house
  • Quality of schools

Another decision will be the type of work you will do. Are you going do the same thing you did in the military or will you do something entirely different? This could be the perfect opportunity to change direction and do something you have always wanted to do, or to follow a passion.

Job or a career?

If you are just looking for something to provide you with an income and not sure of what you want to do for the rest of your working years, then a job may fill the bill in the interim. It allows you the mental comfort of knowing you can take care of your family financially, while giving you some breathing room to figure out your next career move. Or maybe you have decided to work a job while using your GI Bill to go to school and either get the degree you need or pick-up a certificate to position yourself better in a specific industry.

Or you might want to get your feet wet by first working a job in a career field you are considering seeing if you like that kind of work before fully committing to it. In doing so, you might find the job you selected leads to the career you have always wanted.

Regardless of how you approach it, transitioning is hard. But starting the process early and answering some of the necessary questions first before getting out makes the whole process easier. It gives you a well-thought-out transition plan to execute as you move into the civilian workplace.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.