For so many people, their careers are how they define themselves, and how they become relatable to their peers. We live in a society where most individuals are so engulfed with their careers, that their identity is wrapped up in their work and they can’t describe themselves without bringing up their jobs. I like so many others suffered from this when I transitioned out of the Navy into the civilian world. The thought of not being able to identify as a military police officer was terrifying, and the struggle to understand who I would be after this long chapter of my life would come to a close. My efforts to maintain some sense of financial security for my family involved taking a dead-end job, that I worked for two weeks and realized that it wasn’t for me. I was at my wit’s end and felt very hopeless, so as a last resort I was invited to attend an info session at UNR about their veteran’s services department, and the benefits I had available to attend school. Not only did they explain all of the different education benefits that I was entitled to, but they provided me with a sense of comfort and relatability at this time in my transition. Their staff was highly trained and equipped to assist veterans who had recently transitioned out of the military, to find their new way, and redefine themselves. This was what provided me the tools and support to productively transition from military life to civilian life, but for so many service members they are not equipped to deal with these struggles, and sometimes the consequences can be catastrophic.
The connection and need for belonging is something that many service members struggle with when they leave the service. Many people find themselves lost, and lacking a sense of purpose in life. Most service members don’t realize their need for this until they don’t have it anymore, and not properly dealing with these emotions can trigger feelings of loneliness and rejection. The importance of finding the proper support system when you transition out of the military is crucial for success, no matter how prepared you think you are for the transition, there will be things that arise that can be very difficult handling alone.
“Ask for help, not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong”