Military to Civilian Transition Tips

Military to Civilian Transition – 5 Tips Your CO Didn’t Tell You

Being in the military is tough, demanding, and challenging. But the regimented lifestyle and mental and physical battle scars can make the military to civilian transition strenuous in itself.

It appears to be more prevalent with veterans who were active in the post 9/11 era although every era has its share of difficulty. According to the Pew Research Center1 “44% of post-9/11 veterans say their readjustment to civilian life was difficult.”

The Military to Civilian Transition. Making It Easier to Separate.

Separating from the military means a brand new chapter of your life. Your new future means civilian clothes, a new job, a more permanent home, and integrating into the everyday civilian lifestyle.

There are some simple tips to make your military to civilian transition as easy as possible.

5 Tips for Returning to Civilian Life

Be flexible.

This might sound foreign to you coming from the disciplined life in the military. But don’t feel like you have to take the first job offer or live in the area where you are expected to reside.

Explore your choices – and don’t be afraid to change your mind. If you take a position with a company that doesn’t suit you, try another one. You have the whole rest of your life in front of you.

Take advantage of available resources.

Never be afraid to ask for help. There are many organizations ready to help. Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides training and assistance to service members separating from the military. The VA also has transitioning programs.

Talk the talk.

You’ve spent years using military terms and military time. Now it’s time to change over to civilian speak. It is perfectly fine to use military jargon at home and with your fellow veterans. But when looking for a job or trying to integrate into civilian life you will be best served if you adopt a more neutral speech and body language.

Do your civic duty and give back.

Now is the time to spread your wings and become involved. You’ve served your time and honored your country with your military service. But that doesn’t have to be the end of it. Stay informed about what is happening with your government. Research candidates and always vote.

Volunteer at your local food bank, church, or animal shelter. Most of all, do something that makes a difference.  The ways to give back are practically endless.

Join Organizations and Network

When making the military to civilian transition you might find it a bit difficult to meet new people and integrate back into the civilian world. Be bold and get out there and join organizations. Be a part of your neighborhood watch, if your new home is part of a home owner’s association, start attending meetings.

Follow your passions. If you are sports minded – join a league or play in pick-up games. Are you more interested in the theatre or fine arts? Join a local theatre group or volunteer at a museum. Faith-based groups are another way to become involved with like-minded people.

The military to civilian transition can happen smoothly with the right help, attitude and knowledge. Have more tips for transitioning? Let us know in the comment section below.


  1. retrieved July 24, 2016