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After the Military: Deciding Where to Go and What to Do



Article  
After the Military: Deciding Where to Go and What to Do
[10/23/2004]

Source: By P.S. Kunze for LIFELines


Whether you plan to leave the military after your obligation of service is up or stay until retirement, it is almost certain that the jobs you've done and the places you've lived have been decided with "help" from the Navy or Marine Corps. Now that you are transitioning to civilian life and all that it entails, it is your turn to make key decisions about career, location, and life after the military.

While you may be incredibly excited about entering the next phase of your life, you may also feel this newfound freedom is a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, the Navy and Marine Corps have numerous resources to help you in launching your second career and finding the ideal location to do it.

Transition Assistance

Once you've decided to retire or transition to a civilian career — or better still, before you get to that point — visit your base or command's transition and employment office. Most have informational pamphlets and handouts that are yours for the taking to read at your leisure. While you're at the transition office, take a look around and you'll probably find a schedule for classes on resume writing, interviewing, or even starting your own business. Additionally, many offices offer professional loan libraries, interest inventories, vocational counseling, information on veterans benefits, and other helpful services that are all free of charge for military members and their families.

Location, Location, Location

A large piece of the transition puzzle is deciding where you will live once you leave the military. Many transition counselors recommend that you choose your general career direction first and let that choice drive your decision of location. Oftentimes, your ideal location may be determined by where you find the ideal job.

Another strategy is to frame your job search using general ideas about your living preferences, such as a desire to live in the heartland in a small farming community, or an urge to surround yourself with the fast-paced lifestyle and cultural stimulation of a large metropolitan area. While these preferences are crucial to consider during your job search, they should not be the sole basis of your transition decision. The ideal location with few or no employment prospects tends to lose its appeal rather quickly.

Regardless of the approach you take, an excellent site to assist you in finding your best place to live and work is The Job Hunters Bible. Designed to supplement the highly recommended employment guide, "What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers," the site has links that allow you to research locations by criteria ranging from weather, to housing costs, to unemployment rates.

In addition to links and guidance for location considerations, the "Parachute" manual and supplemental site provide comprehensive advice and research tools for countless other career considerations. This is a good site for any job hunter to add to his or her "favorites" for future reference.

Your Second Career

Deciding to transition from the military to the civilian sector is one of the most difficult and exciting choices you may ever make. Making that decision with as much information as possible is one good way to ease the difficulty and increase your excitement at all of the prospects that await you.
Researching your options and making informed decisions now can help ensure success in your next career — and life — after the military.


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