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Tips on Handling the Transition To Civilian Life from Active Duty

Military to Civilian Transition

Serving your country can be a great honor and a lot of responsibility. After many years spent as a member of the military, switching back into civilian life can be a challenge for most. Whether you only did a few years in the Army or you have been with the Marines for a decade, there are all sorts of hangups you might run into when attempting to transition back into a routine of normalcy. From feeling like a stranger in your hometown to having few people who can relate to your experiences, the struggle of returning home is real.
Thankfully, there are many different ways you can go about integrating yourself back into society. Take a moment to review these options and figure out the best way for you to handle the transition to civilian life from active duty in the military.

Look Into Programs

The first thing to do when preparing for this switch is remember you are not alone. Though you might be the only person in your family or group of friends who has seen active combat, there are tens of thousands of people just like you all around the country. This means that you can easily find a way to transition by focusing on organizations and programs that are focused on this difficult challenge faced by many. Finding one such group can do wonders for helping you network and find your footing in the civilian world.

An organization like the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP, exists to make the switch less of a headache. The group holds regular workshops that can be as informative as they are entertaining. Take a moment to look into TAP and similar organizations to get a better feel for upcoming events. Attending one can be a big first step, even if you don’t feel like you have learned anything particularly useful by going. Simply making the move can calm your nerves and offer you a sense of focus.

Find Military-Friendly Organizations

From getting a job to knowing where to shop, the challenges faced by individuals switching back to civilian life can be difficult to overcome. Another simple way to make sense of this period in your life is by finding organizations that are friendly to members of the military. A military credit union is a great alternative to a traditional bank, for example, as it is operated by and catered to the needs of members of the military. Plus, you can enroll in programs that help you find success thanks to your status as a person in the service.

There are also countless military-friendly employers out there. These businesses usually prefer hiring former members of the military because they know from experience how difficult the transition can be. Opting to work at once of these companies can make it easier for you to feel at home in your civilian clothes and provide you with people you can turn to when you want to reminisce about your experiences overseas. There are several useful databases and directories available to guide you to the right company for your employment.

Learn the Lingo

After so many years in the military, the way you behave and speak is going to be wildly different than prior to your enlistment. When you return home, you might notice friends and family members commenting on your “military speak.” While it might work while you’re in the service, this kind of lingo can prove alienating to civilians. In order to switch into the mindset of the everyday person again, you need to train yourself to act and talk in a way that makes sense for the surroundings you’re in.

Though it might be difficult to figure out how to make the transition from military to civilian life, there are several ways to make the process easier on you. Whether you need help finding a job, opening a bank account, or having a friend to turn to when you need to vent, there are many options out there to consider. Find the best fit for your needs and get started on establishing yourself back home.

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