Transitioning to civilian life after the military can be challenging, whether it’s adjusting to family life again, finding accommodation, or settling into a new career. But you can take steps to help you prepare for the switch.
Being proactive and preparing early will help ease the transition and ensure you start in the best possible position to succeed in your new civilian life. Whatever type of transition you or someone you care about plans to make, the following steps will help the switch from military to civilian go as smoothly as possible.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
One-third of veterans have a mental health condition that needs treatment. However, military life’s routine, familiarity, and camaraderie can sometimes mask these mental health issues. It’s only when a person changes civilian life that these underlying mental health issues come to the surface, and the coping mechanisms you’ve developed in service may no longer help as a civilian.
Change can often trigger stress and anxiety, so it’s important to find ways to help you mentally prepare. Look into your VA mental health and therapy options to find out what’s available in your area and begin working on your mental health treatment plan as soon as possible. Don’t wait until a crisis occurs.
Get Help With Housing
While there are around 1.4 million veterans at risk of homelessness in the US, as a veteran, you are eligible to apply for a home loan from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to help you buy a home. A VA home loan mortgage calculator will help you find the best rate for your needs.
Whatever your plans are for when you switch to civilian life, you should start looking into your post-military housing options as soon as possible. It’s not easy to check out properties to rent or buy while still in service. It’s a good idea to take advantage of a TDY option or take leave to house hunt before the end of your service.
Embarking On A Civilian Career
For 95% of veterans, the main goal is to start a new career when leaving the military. However, entering the civilian workforce can be challenging, especially if it’s the first time. Nevertheless, several large employers across the US prioritize recruiting veterans, and it’s not just out of patriotism.
Your rigorous training, experience, and great work ethic are huge incentives for employers. The US Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service offers training programs, including training for those veterans who want to start their own business. Most Americans prefer to purchase from a veteran-owned business which makes becoming an entrepreneur a viable option.
Transitioning to civilian life after the military, even if it’s been a relatively short service career, can be extremely challenging. You’ll have to prepare yourself mentally for the change in lifestyle, secure housing, and a brand new civilian career.
Fortunately, there are several local and national programs and organizations that can help veterans find their way and make a success of their new civilian life.