A Charity offering personal help and advice for all serving and former members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, their Reserves and Families

Early Career Planning - Considering the Basics

Published 17/08/2017 13:17:00, by Dominic Hill

One of the first things we at the WEA recommend that people who are looking to move into the civilian world of work, or change their career, should do is to take a step back and look at the basics at a very early stage in their planning.  When deciding on a future job or career there are three equally important and interdependent questions that should be considered but, astonishingly, these are often overlooked or neglected.  They are the foundations of the planning process and getting them wrong can result in a less than ideal transition:

- What do I want to do?

- Where do I want to do it?

- How much do I need or want to earn?

Many people overlook this start point, yet it is vitally important in ensuring sound planning and increasing the chances of a successful employment outcome.  Often, one or two elements of this ‘employment triangle’ may need to be compromised in order to accommodate the other(s) and it is crucial to work out which one is the most important and use this as the basis for further planning.

Good research, coupled with sound planning, will not only increase the chances of success in a new career but may also avoid an individual spending money and using resettlement time on courses or other preparation that turn out to be a waste of both.  Often, just having a 15 minute chat with someone who is in the industry you are thinking of going into, or checking out if your chosen industry pays enough for you to meet your commitments in the area you wish to live in, can make all the difference.

These relatively simple actions can help someone decide, at a really early stage, if something is for them or not.  They will either reinforce a person's instincts and give them the confidence they need to forge ahead with their plans, or it will highlight some potential difficulties and perhaps save them a great deal of money, time and effort further down the line.


Consider the example of Marine X and his family.  X is a skilled Mountaineer and wants to work in Search & Rescue when he leaves the Corps.  He spends all his Resettlement time, MOD funding and a significant amount of his own money in gaining the civilian certifications and qualification he will need to enable him to apply for jobs.  X's wife is from East Anglia and is determined that the family will live there when X leaves the Corps.  As a family they want some stability and to live together after years apart during X's service.  Those who know East Anglia will know that it has a distinct lack of mountains.  So, X will be the best qualified, most experienced Mountain Rescue operator in the East of England.  But he will also be unemployed!  Something will have to give - either the family will have to live somewhere there are mountains, or X will have to begin training and preparing for a totally different career, spending yet more time and money in the process.

This is a very simple example but it makes the point.  Early planning and considering job choice against location and salary requirements would have meant that X had a much smoother transition from the Corps than would have been the case in the example above.  He would have trained in something that was in demand in East Anglia - Port Operations, Agriculture, the NHS, Rail etc.

Make sure you plan carefully and, at the very ealiest stages, consider all the elements of the 'Employment Triangle'.  It could save a lot of time, money and family stress if you do!


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