It’s incredibly heartening to see how the number of resettlement events and activities has grown over the past few years. There are so many charities and individual companies laying on events that, as a service leaver or veteran, the difficulty you face is where to start looking. One can happily potter along to an employment fair run by any one of a number of organisations, and wonder around, chat with people, hand over a CV, pick up some business cards and load a goodie bag with ‘gizzits’. The Career Transition Partnership has 32 events listed in September alone, a mixture of online and in-person. If you’re looking for employment this is a good place to start, except that it shouldn’t be your start point.
I wonder how many of those leaving the service are asked, “well, what do you want to do?” If you’ve been serving since you were, let’s say, in your late teens or early 20s, unless you’re following in family footsteps, how can you possibly be expected to know what you want to do as a second career? Often, and it’s disheartening, the first words coming out of somebody’s mouth are ‘project management’ or ‘health and safety’. Which industry, discipline, specialisation, project managing what?Not very helpful, for anybody. And all of this because often people miss a key part of the transition journey.
So what to do? Anybody doing a ‘mission analysis’ in preparation for leaving the service, will consider factors such as geography, salary expectations, family needs and spousal employment prospects, existing qualifications as an indicator of potential future employment, schooling, amenities and local facilities to replace those in place in and around Naval bases or Army camps, and that’s all well and good. But what is often not well understood or considered, and, it could be argued, are more fundamental to get right, are the more intangible factors, specifically identity and purpose. A military career is underpinned, from day one, by identity and purpose. The factors which define a service identity are things such as uniform, history and tradition, lived experiences (and the often unbreakable bonds of friendship built during shared periods of adversity), a unique role in society…the list is long and infinitely explorable. Purpose is potentially, slightly easier to define….for the good of humanity, in the pursuit of peace, ridding the world of evil, defence of the nation etc. But how does all of this impact on finding a new role, becoming a valued and valuable member of society out of uniform, ensuring long term stability, guaranteeing successful transition?
This is a short blog and not the place to answer the question posed above, but if you’re a Navy or Royal Marine service leaver and if any of this chimes within you please do get in touch, via the website and book a call.