So You’re Out, Now What??

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The military objective for new service members is to change the way they think, act and work. The focus for change does not take into account anything beyond a member’s time in service. For clear reasons, the military must train a person to become a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or, Airman which can often contradict a person’s inherited way of thinking and coping. When a member’s time in service is up they will have spent years never wondering what to wear or where to be. There has always been someone who cared about where they were and what they are doing. The structure, albeit required for running a military, can be a devastating loss once gone. In addition, stepping into a civilian job after the experience of military service, deployment, and loss can seem mundane and unfulfilling. The idea of being around people who ‘just don’t get it’ can also bring on feelings of detachment and isolation.

The military does have programs that work to help with transition like the SkillBridge program which allows service members to experience civilian work life before officially leaving the military. Oftentimes though, service members just want to totally disconnect from the military and they don’t take advantage of these types of programs.

The question is, what does a service member need once they leave the military? Sure, they need training, mentorship, and opportunity but, they also need to maintain some level of military camaraderie.

Toni Hedstrom

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