Every military service member veteran must face military discharge. Thus, the challenge comes in transferring military skills to the professional world. It isn’t easy. Most service members spend 18, 19 or 20 years in the military. After military discharge, acclimate to the real world becomes a job in itself.
Military Early Years
In the wee hours of a weekday morning, in a large building in Los Angeles California, I completed medical and physical tests to ensure I met the requirements established by the military. I passed all of them with flying colors except depth perception and color blindness, which eliminated 3,000 military occupations.
Soon after, I was on my way to basic training in San Antonio, Texas. Six short weeks later, I was filling out my dream sheet, an insignificant wish list of places I wanted to be stationed at. I say insignificant because the military had the last say.
Prior to moving onto technical training, I was presented a list of several thousand occupations. Scanning through 10-font type is no easy task when time is of the essence. Seeing as though the occupations I really wanted where eliminated, I chose finance and accounting.
There I was, 21 years old, and choosing a profession that became my career in the military and civilian life.
I’m fortunate. If I didn’t fail those two tests in 1999, I don’t know if my transition to civilian life would have been seamless.
Life at Military Discharge
My transition to civilian life was seamless. I requested military discharge not because I couldn’t cut it, but because life on the outside was much more lucrative for me, so I thought.
I left the military before my contract expired because the skills I learned in the military positioned me well enough to obtain employment as a federal contractor.
Don’t get me wrong, civilian life is much different than military life. For one, taxes are higher as a civilian. Second, the benefit of wearing a US flag on battle dress uniform (BDUs) is more than any amount of money hitting a bank account. Last, leadership and real-world skills learned in the military set apart service members from the general public.
Military to civilian life is a difficult transition for most service members. Many of my co-workers, accounting and finance professionals, transitioned well because they attended college and obtained advanced degrees in business. I’m one of the lucky ones to choose a career that related well to civilian life.
Today, my education, veteran status, and military work experience create a platform for me to teach, write, and maintain a white-collar occupation. I’m asked by young men from time-to-time, “Is the military really worth it? Do you recommend it?” Absolutely!
It’s an honor to call oneself veteran.