For those who have decided to end their military adventure, whether it is three years or 20, there is plenty of advice available that reminds you to start planning 18 months before ETS (Expiration—Term of Service). It begins with recommendations to build a profile on RallyPoint, a website very much like LinkedIn, designed by Iraq veterans in 2012, for those in the Services.
RallyPoint for Retiring Military
In particular, RallyPoint offers listings for 13,000 employers, most with multiple positions, who are looking to hire veterans. As well there are over 2,000 universities that want you to take advantage of your GI Bill to obtain further education to make you a more valuable asset to the employment market.
RallyPoint, and other similar services, advise using automated translation services to convert your military experience into something that civilians will understand. For example the skills translator at www.military.com, requires at least one entry in one of three fields. You can go through it in a systematic way and select your service (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy), and then select your pay grade (E1-E10, W1-W5, O1-O10), and finally, your military job title, or the numeric designation.
For example, in the job title, if I just enter 0101, it immediately knows that is a Marine Corps designation for either an Officer or Warrant Officer, under the designation Basic Personnel and Administration Officer. It then tells me that there are 500 matching jobs for that particular designation, in locations all over the country from Maine to Florida, from Washington to California—just about anywhere you can imagine.
Currently there over 300,000 members on active duty, and well over a quarter of a million veterans, ready to offer advice. The latter have already gone through much of what you’re about to go through. Their experience can smooth your exit and employment process.
Companies Focused on Hiring Service Members
Just about any company you can imagine wants to hire you, at least the particularly clever ones. Their HR (Human Resource) people know that, although you come from a strikingly different working culture, your training is second to none, and superior to most. They know they couldn’t ask for a better employee.
A quick search at the first few pages of potential employers for just that single designation reveals names like Spherion, Amazon, Comcast, Sears, Randstad, Reynolds, United Health Group, U.S. Cellular, Manpower, and so on. So there is really no shortage of companies who want you. It’s more a question of what sort of job would you like and what state would you like to live in.
If Afghanistan or Iraq made you hate the heat, the sand, and the dust, maybe a stint in Alaska will serve to cool you down. Or maybe consider the menu in your venue! Down Louisiana-way you can get Cajun food, or try Maine for lobster, Wisconsin for cheese, and I hear you can get crabs in Maryland!
Recruiting Firms for Retiring Military
Firms like LUCASGROUP make a particular point of seeking out retiring military. Their military recruiters are former military personnel themselves. They are experienced and equipped to deal with your questions. Any problems you run into, they’ve seen dozens of times before, and they have ready answers for you.
Similarly, Bradley-Morris, Inc. is part of the solution as well as your advocate, because their military recruiting personnel are also a former military. Like they say, it takes one to know one.
If you happen to be a JMO (Junior Military Officer) it could be that Cameron-Brooks is the place for you, since that is all they do. One of their customers even went so far as to say their training system is like giving each JMO a mini-MBA.
As well, Booz Allen has been in business for a century and is an “Employer of Choice” for former and transitioning military personnel. They have page after page of positions available.
There are plenty more available that are easily located with a simple Google® search. Some will be better than others, but try to find one that is reasonably close, to facilitate face-to-face meetings.
Military Job Fairs
Veteran job fairs roll around fairly regularly. Since one-third of the U.S. workforce is comprised of ex-military, recruiters are anxious to get their fair share. One veteran-owned site, recruitmilitary.com, tells what is happening over the course of the next month, but if you click “See All Events” the schedule opens up and actually shows events as far ahead as December 2016.
Attending one of these events that happens to be close by is not a bad strategy, but while you’re on their website, don’t forget to look at the 986,000 jobs that they have listed.
Surmounting all is a map of the country showing where the fairs are going to take place. Sadly you won’t find any events in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, New Mexico, Arkansas, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Hawaii, or Alaska, but for the continental United States, in most cases there is something else nearby.
The Failure Point—PTSD
Finally, this is the sad part. Undoubtedly there are lots of opportunities, and the biggest failure point seems to be returnees not accepting the fact that they might have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and seeking appropriate treatment for it.
Some ex-military personnel, both male and female, are homeless and living on the street because they can’t cope; they assume that PTSD is a weakness—a failing of some sort—rather than a very treatable psychological disorder.
Not getting treatment is an incredible waste of resources and very expensive training. If you have any doubts, or experience rages, sleeping problems, or mood disorders, schedule an appointment and get assessed. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that you don’t drive a vehicle until it breaks; everything, including you, requires maintenance. Get that taken care of ASAP. It’s not your fault and you really can’t fix it on your own.
It might take a lot of work over the course of months with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or it might be individual or group sessions for just a few weeks, and, in concert with your physician, a prescription might be in order for a completely non-psychotropic drug (does not affect your motor skills, your ability to think, cause drowsiness, or make you feel “high”, except occasionally for transitory side effects during the first 24 to 48 hours which usually dissipate). It simply allows your brain to cope with stress more easily.
Being on full-time, high-alert changes your brain chemistry. Get the help you need now. That might include a modality consisting of multiple regimens. I truly hope the preceding section doesn’t describe your current situation but, if it does, get help and get it handled. This is not a one person job. It requires a team. Think of yourself as the sniper and the Doc as your spotter. Without each other you are both helpless.