So you've decided to get out of the military. This is a huge life decision. Chances are you’ve put in at least 4 years, and quite possibly more. You’ve gotten what you can from the military and are ready to see what civilian life has in store for you. But where the hell do you start?!
If you’re anything like me, the decision to get out was a hard one. I know that we all like to bitch about how much it sucks and how you can’t wait to be a civilian again, but when it comes to actually making that decision a reality, there are lots of reservations that go along with it. You’ve dedicated your LIFE to this organization. You may have gone to war for your country and this organization. You have definitely found camaraderie that is unparalleled outside of this organization. For me, it was a huge part of my life. During my time in the Marines, friends of mine from home graduated college, went on to grad school or law school, or at the very least started working in the industry they are succeeding in now. And then there was me. I was going to get out a 29 year old without a degree and only a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do. But I made the decision and started planning.
The first thing I had to come to terms with was that once I informed my chain of command I would be completing my service, I didn’t quite feel the same level of support. I wasn’t tossed to the side or anything like that. In fact, my Platoon Commander and Platoon Sergeant made it possible for me to take college courses as I prepared to get out. But still, I wasn’t staying in. It’s something we all have to get used to. The fact that the organization doesn’t have time for those who aren’t staying in makes sense, right? You’re getting out so they have to focus their time and effort on those staying in.
I guess what I’m getting at is no one’s going to do anything for you, or hold your hand along the way. It’s up to you to decide what you want to do and figure out how to do it. Hopefully this will help a bit.
First and foremost you have to at least have an IDEA of what you want to do. Do you want to do something that requires a degree or certification? If so, what degree or certification do you need? How long does it take to get it? Is there anything you can do while you’re in to get a head start? These are just a few questions you are going to have to answer as you prepare to transition out. Oh, did I mention you probably want to be asking yourselves these questions at least a year in advance? Well I have now. Whether you are reenlisting or getting out, you need to be planning at least 1 year in advance.
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. You’ve been told this over and over when it comes to mission planning, so why would it be any different as you prepare to transition to life as a civilian? It’s not. It’s actually MORE important because it’s YOUR life and YOUR future. I’ll be going into the different paths and how to plan for them in future blogs, but for now, I’ll leave you with that.
Through this whole process, the most important thing to remember is that NO ONE OWES YOU SHIT.
This is part one of a blog series focusing on assisting military service members transition to civilian life. Opinions are that of Match Grade Founder Alec Reisberg related to his experience transitioning out of the US Marine Corps. Stay tuned for additional installments.
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According to Hello Handbag founder, Anna Shelton, "I am personally honored to count many veterans as dear friends. One of those incredible people is Alec Reisberg, who founded Match Grade Apparel as a way to continue serving his country beyond his time as a Marine. Alec, his wife Nicole (a badass in her own right), and their beautiful baby make up this service-focused powerhouse."