Have you ever seen the movie Varsity Blues? There is a scene where the head football coach gets frustrated with a player trying to change up the fundamentals during practice. Coach grabs the player by the helmet and begins tapping his whistle on his helmet and saying, “Stick to the basics! Stick to the basics!” I have not seen that movie in 10+ years, but I have always remembered that scene. Sticking to the basics seems, well basic and boring to some, but there is a necessary foundation of fundamentals. When one chooses to comply to the primary fundamentals of the transition process; success is always inevitable. As basic needs of the human body are essential to our livelihood, so are the basics of proper planning and understanding of the transition from the military. It cannot be adequately executed by winging it or making up plays as you go. It may get a single touchdown, but one goal can’t win the game. The ultimate goal is to win and winning starts with the fundamentals and creating a solid foundation. This solid foundation creates an environment for successful growth and execution.
Your transition from the military and job search can happen at any time of the year. However, there are a few things you may not know regarding the structure in which a company hires, that could affect your timeline. For most corporations, their fiscal year ends in September, rather than the regular calendar year of December. Doing so allows organizations time to compile data and analyze the companies current finances and create an effective plan for the following year. The beginning of each calendar year, January, a company releases the budgeted funds to do much more than pay their marketing and overhead costs. They also budget in employment costs based on the growth and data acquired during the close of their previous fiscal year. Once all budgeting is in place, the hiring department can then get to work on posting potentially new job listings or the replacement of an existing position. On average corporations spend the majority of March through June taking care of all of their potential hires for the year. Though, this is not always how it goes, the majority of the time it does. There are always job listings online, so when I say that March through June is prime hiring season, I am only informing you of when most companies are doing the majority of hire for their business that year. As it gets closer to close of a fiscal year, it isn’t alway wise to bring on new employees, until they can evaluate their current year and analyze the risk of their potential loss/growth for the following year.
I have some advice on how to combat this issue when you are considering getting out of the military. Make a long-term plan five years before getting out. If you have 6-months left and haven’t started your long-term plan, get to work on it, like yesterday! Make a checklist and educate yourself on the options for those transitioning out of the military. Many organizations are out there now helping the military transition. There are tools and helpful tips all over the internet and at your local USO that are there for the transitioning veteran. These tools and tips can give you the help needed to navigate through the transition process. The most important points to understand about your transition, you must plan, and you must be responsible for you transition. Leverage your networks and connections. You never know who someone is connected. If you do not ask, you will never know.
Once you have made a plan, stay focused. Find the answer to questions you should be asking yourself. Will you need further education for your next role? Do you have at least 6-months of expense payments saved up in case you do not secure a job as soon as you separate or retire? What if you have not secured a job, come separation date? Could you support your household until you did? Discover the answer to these questions for your transition.
Take ownership of your transition and don’t assume you can figure it out after you separate or on the fly. Get a plan in place. You may have 10 ideas and you need to get them on paper and find a concise plan to execute said plans. Don’t put this off for another day. Make time for proper planning. This is your future riding on the line.
Transition Check List: - 6-months Savings - Education - 5 Year Plan (on front and back side of your transition) - Stay Focused - Ask for Help - Leverage & Expand your Network - Create a Budget for Attire and Interview Expenses -Find Mentors to keep you Accountable for Your Transition