Something to Think About (STTA)
The below is a compilation of inputs from veterans gathered over the years. It is not an end-all or does it provide every answer, but it is something to think about (STTA). With some slight spelling or other modifications, quotes weren’t changed. There were many who have contributed, but a special thanks to the research done by Bruce Hickson, CMSgt (ret) and John Doyle, CMsgt / Sgt Maj (ret)
· It's not over, only a different direction in your life. There is a good life after the military, so prepare for it. Time will change for you if not working, its OK!
· Watch out for the dang TV, while a good distraction, it can distract from life. Limit yourself daily. Also limit time on the Web, unless researching and job hunting.
· There is a rewarding life for you after the military. Have a plan no matter and if you are mad when leaving the military; three-days after you retire or separate (cuz one usually retires on a Friday) when Monday comes around everything that you are mad about doesn't matter anymore. Let it go.
· You will likely gain weight. Keep on top of it. Buy a scale & a big mirror to keep an eye on yourself. Use them both daily/weekly. Can't keep eating the carbs (pizza, bread, rolls etc.) like you use to.
· Attend the transition brief/classes that your service offers, very valuable. Be sure to network.
· Get a copy of your medical records before you get out & make a digital copy of everything.
· Get your paper records/files (Military Personnel File (MPF), jump, flight, etc.) & make a digital copy of everything. Don't wait till the last week.
· Make sure you get your final dental exam either by the military or get an unbiased one from a civilian dentist. Valuable for later.
· Keep only one set of all your military uniforms (svc dress, mess, fatigues, flight suit, helmet, boots). Get rid of all the rest of that hoarder stuff, yard-sale or donate everything else (strip the names and rank). Purge, down-size.
· If you are getting out early think about joining the Reserves or National Guard. You'll be 60 before you know it.
· Talk to former vets about what they would have done different, if at all.
· View, be aware the following registries:
· Gulf War Registry, https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/benefits/registry-exam.asp
· Burn-Pit Registry https://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry/#page/home
· Million-Vets Program. https://www.research.va.gov/mvp/
· Check out https://VA.GOV one stop shop
Social and Other Support
o Depression, likely you will have to deal with it at some level in your new life, It's real, be aware. Aging, evolving health issues (i.e. back pain, joint pain, foot pain, loosing hair, cancer, weight-gain, etc), family stresses, relationships, job rejections, a changing sense of purpose will be factors. https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ForVeterans.aspx
o Social media helps/works, use it, BUT BE AWARE OF ITS LIMITATIONS, THERE ARE DOWNSIDES. Limit your time.
o Have an up-to-date smart phone & lap-top / tablet computer w/keyboard w/the word processing MS office suite. (get rid of your flip-phone for crying out loud).
o Stay away from negative people / relationships. They are bad luck & will suck the life (positive out-look) out of you. Run! Hang out w/doers & people that make shit happen >> transformational leaders/managers, not transactional.
o Stop dipping, chewing, smoking, watch the drinking.
o Consider a couple of small dogs or any dog. Reasonably easy to take care of, great loving temperaments & good for your heart. Thoroughly socialize them after you get them & they'll love you & everyone else you introduce them to. OK to baby-talk to them. Good for you & them. be sure you can take care of any animal., busine
§ Do not file a VA disability (compensation & pension) claim without going through/utilizing a veteran service organization (VSO) like the DAV, PVA etc. Note: Would be like representing yourself in civil-court trial w/out an attorney. You just don't do it.
§ Make sure you, your spouse, partner, kids all have a copy of your DD-214(s). Paper & digital.
§ Own some nice clothes for doing an interview or meet n-greet. (i.e. business suit, tie, sport coat, slacks, nice shirt or blouse). Get a haircut/hair-do, get groomed. Doesn't have to be a high n-tight, or go out to the gala just groomed & well dressed. Shoes matter, clean and in good repair. Appearance still & always will matter.
§ Look into your local state property tax exemption.
§ Create an account in USA Jobs today & work-up a resume (look at the resume builder at thatothersmayrise.org) & upload the supporting documents you will need for applying for jobs you are interested in.
Now get out there and prepare.