Friday, March 29, 2013

Year two.

Today marks the begining of my second year as a civilian.

One year ago, yesterday, I woke up in the morning, in my old childhood bedroom, at my mother's house in Houston, Texas.

I was 29 years old, with a pregnant wife, 3 months along, carrying twins.

I had no job lined up, no apartment, no home of my own.

A large dog and a couple of cats were already on my "payroll" as well.

I no longer had anyone to make me get up and out of bed, or telling me that I needed to put on a uniform and shave my face.

I was, after 11 and a half years of active military service, alone and adrift in the civilian community.

All I had was a few new suits, a decently polished resume, and a mountain of determination in my heart.

I had no option to hang out and meet up with old friends. I didn't have the time to kill, nor the money to burn through, to even realistically move into my own apartment.

I felt angry. I was upset at myself for all of the turmoil and chaos surrounding my transition to the civilian world. I wanted to be a civilian, but I also wanted more time to line things up and work out plans in order to become successful.

Time is never on your side when awaiting discharge.

It's never too early to plan what's going to happen after the last day you have to put on that uniform.

Once it comes off, and goes into the storage box, attic bound, a change seems to happen.

It is a change that can either go very wrong, or very right. And the decisions made at that point are so critical, as they can determine the next few years of life.

Will it be a constant battle and struggle? Or will it be a ride of excitement and creativity?

I have worked tirelessly to ensure the latter.

All of the skills that I learned in the U.S. Air Force have helped me to transition into a new position in life.

One that demands leadership, professionalism, and poise.

Many times during my duties working in the community, I am one of the few Veterans that people are exposed to. So the burden is on me to show that we are a capable and respectful bunch.

Over the past year of life, I had two beautiful children, started a brand new job in an industry new to me, performed weeks of charity work, given jobs to veterans, helped homeless veterans find a place to live, and networked with other successful veterans to continuously develop and enhance our local community and the lives of those around us. 

For me, the transition is scary and challenging, but is also the most rewarding time of my life.

What are you doing to plan your transition? Who have you networked with? Do you understand the value of personal presentation? Can you adapt your resume and skillset in order to translate your worth to a civilian employer?

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