Its six months before your military retirement date. You have made several preparations for your transition into the civilian world. The one thing you want to do is make sure you have all the checks in the block so that you have a smooth transition where you do not have to worry about anything after you have gone on terminal leave. Even though through the leadership and management styles picked up through a military career, you think you are ready to step out in the civilian world.
Military personnel must realize that their lives will soon change; some may have a difficult time transitioning. Suddenly it is your last day in the military. Shock has come upon you. Either let the stress get to you and let life become a living nightmare or take what you have learned over your short or long career and become just as successful as you have been. It is your choice. Depending on the outlook of retiring or getting out, transitioning into a civilian is a life-changing experience. You have had a secure income for the time you have served and no worries of getting fired if you did what you were told.
The thought of getting out or retiring may seem like a very easy decision at the time you make it; however when the time comes that you have to get prepared for it is the moment reality hits. Quite a bit of soul searching should take place as with any transition in life. Some of the questions that you have to ask yourself is “what do you want to do with the rest of your life, are you leaving the military for greener pastures, or are you more concerned with finding a rewarding job or pursuing a satisfying lifestyle? (Savino & Kranich, 2009, p. 1). Do not delay any preparations in your transition. The time you have spent in the military should have turned you into an action-oriented warrior. You know the earlier you start, the better off you will be as with any operation you have prepared for. The first thing you should schedule is your Transition Assistance Program (TAP) class. This class is mandatory for any transitioning member of the military.
The week that you spend in this class will give you the tools to work on getting successful for your transition. If you think that you will be automatically successful after completing this class, then you are wrong. The time that you spend in transitioning before separating will pay off when you are ready to seek another career or even go to school full-time. Taking advantage of the services available to you and your transition process will certainly be more productive (U. S. Department of Labor, 2002, p. i).
One of the most important processes that you have to do without delay is getting evaluated for any service-connected injuries so that a determination is made on if you will receive any disability benefits. You must visit your Disabled American Veterans (DAV) local chapter to get your medical and dental record evaluated before going to a Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP) workshop. The DTAP workshop provides individuals transitioning additional information about disability benefits and vocational guidance (U.
S. Department of Labor, 2002, p. 156). Your medical and dental record will be given to a Veterans Affair (VA) representative at the conclusion of the workshop. You will receive a package, phone call, or e-mail from the VA requesting that you set up a physical with a VA contracted doctor. The physical will be given and based on the findings, a disability rating will or will not be awarded. There are many things that you can do personally in developing a successful military to civilian transition.
Everyone thinks that a successful transition will follow if they take all of the steps laid out for them. Some will be successful whereas others will have a rough time. Whether it is finding a job before you transition or not being able to cope with civilian life, all of the resources are right there in front of you to use. So get up off your rear end and start making those plans early instead of being caught off guard when the day comes that you are officially out of the military for good.