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Does anyone have any advice on how to make the transition easier?


Sergio Chavez Woodbridge, VA

I am a Marine veteran who recently started a job. I work as a government contractor that supports the military. I am the only civilian in my shop, the rest are all active duty. I am having a difficult time adjusting at work. Has anyone had a similar experience? Does anyone have any advice on how to make the transition easier?

18 October 2011 8 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Chad Storlie Saint Augustine, FL

Please look at the free resources at Also, please send an email to and I will send a 5 page transition checklist that I put together. Hope that helps.


Wayne Williams Westminster, CO

This organic, basic. I believe you wish to work through these times. Transition is rough. Folks don't know the times you've seen. It's not hot, till you stop to feel real hot. Can't just hide under a rock. What is important is that you already know what you want. I believe we all search this out. "Lord, what do you wish me to do?" Your already doing it. Was in my reach all the time. Make something your passion. Do that. Take you place.


John Kalusa Alpharetta, GA

Sergio, think about why you are working for a government contractor (gc) and in that environment. I have lots of friends who work for gc's but in the same role basically that they were in on active duty, so they know most of the people already. Truth is your not in the Marines any more, so it's probably not appropriate to try to "lead" in public forums. But that doesn't mean you can't take someone aside and offer assistance or ask one of the leaders if you can talk with them "offline" about a situation. If you get flak from trying to help the organization be better, probably not where you really want to be. So make the best of it while you plan your next moves. (thats the benefit of being a civilian, if you try to make it work professionally and it doesn't, you can leave)


Ryan Moran Apollo Beach, FL

Yea that is something I for sure feel you on. There are days when am glad I am out and then there are days when I absolutely miss it, and then I think and try to figure it out and really its just the military itself. I moved after I got back this year to Tampa FL, and so MacDill AFB is not far away and I go there from time to time to get random things and golf. And really I just miss wearing the uniform, and just the day to day life weather it was the the terribly long safety stand downs (never thought I say that, and I dont miss them per say, mainly just hanging with the guys), or out in the field. So I can tell you I really dont think some of us will ever 100% completely adjust to some of the things we were so used to then, I sometimes debate going into another branch and just staying in, so I think I understand what you mean pretty good man, I myself think about it ALL the time, and go back and forth frequently.


Sergio Chavez Woodbridge, VA

@Anton, I would say one of the difficult things is not having the uniform on. There is now a blurred line of saying something and not overstepping my boundaries. As a contractor I feel as I can only do so much to help other Marines without having an adverse affect at work. Hopefully this makes sense.

@Genevieve, thank you…I would like to get together with other vets that are close in the area. Since leaving my Marine unit and staying close to the area, I have stayed in contact with other vets, which has helped out a lot. I will get in contact with you soon.

@ Randy, I completely agree with you. Since my first day working, I believe I have made great strides. I only hope that my co-workers feel the same. Thank you for the support.

@Ryan, I do agree, there are plenty of us in the same boat. Since leaving the Corps in 07 I believed I was ready then most for civilian life. I continued school and earned my Bachelors in May of this year. While in school I was very active with the Veterans club and other organizations such as IAVA. This has helped tremendously and since starting work, now the military life is right in my face once again. I just thought that transition was over when I left the service in 07, but I guess I was wrong.


Ryan Moran Apollo Beach, FL


I like so many others can relate. I seperated from the Corps in 08, took various jobs, struggled with figuring out what I wanted to do and who I was. I then decided "This isnt me, I guess I am just a career Marine!" And tried to go back in, only way icould get back was joining the reserve unit in my home town being they were getting ready to deploy and I could then put ina package once I was activated again. Did it, deployed again, was with 3/5 in Sangin and finally over there decided I was with being out and decided to put my best foot forward in civilian life. When I got home this March, I started really trying to take a look at what I wanted to do in the future, and researching and looking into the different veterans groups. VFW is a great organization and I frequently spend time at mine, however, lest face it, guys our age are not there in the masses yet, the vets that are our peers there are a great group of guys to talk too for sure. But there are other groups out there that are awesome to get involved with like IAVA, and my very close friend Jessie Canella actually start an organization that is still rowing but is getting a lot of press called I mention all of these because I know just joining these organizations and connecting with vets and talking about my experiences as absoluely helped. It has also helped me gain focus, Mr. Barnes above really hit the nail of the head to be honest with you. It takes time that you cant put a date on. Talking to other vets and as well getting involved in different not for profits to help vets has really helped me adjust and shine some light on me.

I hope this helps, I dont know if I answered your post, but I had a hard time adjusting too and I can promise you we are by far not the only ones.


Randy Byrnes York, PA

I am going to approach your question from a different perspective on transition.
Frequently when one is engaged in a significanr personal transition there can be a disconnect between how they see themselves and how they are viewed by others. This dissonance between a personal identity and social identity creates ongoing anxiety between the "who I am" and "who others think I am".
My response to you is not intended as pedestrian counseling, as I work with business folks frequently who are in various stages of transition. If I can be of further assistance on a phone call or two I'm happy to do so.
To be clear, this is not a solicitation and there are no fees involved. This is an offer of support.


Anton Rasmussen Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Sergio,

What exactly are you finding difficult about the adjustment? I'm a 6 1/2 year Army veteran myself and I've been in college since 2009--talk about an adjustment! Feel free to email me at if you don't want to post specifics; I'm happy to provide any feedback that I can and I know some people in a similar situation as yourself (also in the NoVA area) with whom I wouldn't mind putting you into contact if you'd want.

Take care,

Anton Rasmussen

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