You have grown most of your adult life receiving orders, or giving them out! All you know is service to the Nation! Probably no one ever taught you anything else, and you also never learned anything else since you had never anticipated this moment. Now you are out of the military, probably with extra mouths to feed back at home and all your life ahead of you. What now?
Well, for most military veterans, it is especially difficult adapting to the outside society when all you’ve ever known is the military. Going out there to search for jobs adds a whole load of stress. They meet all kinds of rude employers who unnerve them and make it even harder for them.
So how does the average military veteran overcome job depression after years of service?
Let’s set this ship to sail.
1. First Things First, Never Assume the Worst
We are human, and mostly our mind tends to come up with very negative ultimatums and eventualities. We usually tend to assume the very worst! “I haven’t heard from any job for three consecutive months! I have a family and kids at school! It’s almost the end of month, and I haven’t raised rent yet! Our savings are going down fast...”
Pause! Take a break!
Life is easy; there’s no need to complicate it. Take a day at a time, a struggle at a time and cross the hurdles and bridges once you’ve reached them. Always learn to take a break and remind yourself of all the possibilities of landing a job. Shift your thoughts from the negatives and the extremes.
2. Form a Structure for Yourself
Program yourself to work in a certain manner. Sure, you are a veteran, and you’ve always been programmed in a certain manner. But one of the major advantages you can derive from being a veteran is that you got to experience order and organization from your years in service. Incorporating the same in your new life shouldn’t be such a challenge now, should it?
Come up with a program that actually works for you, not anyone else. Of course, you can get tips from others, but at the end of the day, what will work for you is not exactly the same thing that will work for another. You can kick-start your day by updating your resume and seeking ways to make it better.
Then you can do some exercises: both to keep fit and as a continuation of your military routine. This will not only keep you in check but also invigorate you to do more, as is the nature of body exercises. At the end of the day, ensure that you are not only organized but also focused to meet your goals, and have proof to show the same.
3. Your Job Search is your New Day-Job
When done with the house in the morning, get out and go to work! Yes, you heard me right.
Your job search is now your 9-5; treat it with due respect. Always have a plan or a searching formula. What’s more, keep a record of your activities and searches. This gives you an easier time explaining to family or even caring friends on your progress so far.
Your job-searching-formula should start by identifying exactly the kind of job that works for you. Being a veteran does not necessarily spice up your resume. You can identify what best works for you with the help of a friend. Then note down your preferences. Identify the firms that offer such jobs and the best firms at that. If you have an acquaintance there, make sure they connect you further to ease the road for you. Most people are willing to help out military veterans only that most veterans are not as willing to ask for help.
4. Network and Stay in Touch
Keeping to yourself may make you lose self-worth. What’s more, as a veteran, one is likely to come up with narcissistic ideas of how they cannot fit into the society and how the latter can’t fully understand them. They seem to assume that they have the worst of experiences and as such deserve to be treated as somewhat special! This tends to limit their level of social participation.
The best thing you can do is to reach out to people, be it family or friends. Give your services to the community. If possible, enroll for voluntary services with for-profit companies to boost your chances of getting in touch with the right kind of people.
Be friendly and learn how to communicate with people using civilian language. You are no longer in the military. When relating your experiences, use layman’s language or one easily comprehensible by the average citizen. This makes it way fun for anyone to come to your level and appreciate you as a veteran.
5. Seek Out Inspiration
Be it from motivational books or support groups, seek out to be inspired and motivated. We are human after all and tend to give in to frustrations. Find out what has worked for others and exactly how. Listen to their stories of struggles and successes. This way, you are sure to be reminded that you are not alone, and nothing about your case is any special. Aspire to be inspired before you expire.
After all is said and done, the experience of going without a job for a long period of time can be traumatizing, to say the least. One cannot sit down and have self-pity as that won’t put food on the table. So, at the end of the day, the best and only thing you can do is persevere and persevere you shall!
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