One of the primary reasons this blog exists is to discuss the transition from Active Duty to Veteran Life (civilian) specifically from a Female Veteran’s perspective. Not everyone will have the same views or experiences and that’s cool. We are all different and we all react to life’s challenges in our own way. I want to be clear that everything here is based on either my own personal experience or that of family and friends, and by no means is it to be held as “gospel” regarding transition or life as a female veteran.
From my bio (About Tee), I’ve brought up the fact that I come from a military family, Mom & Dad, plus Uncles, my Grandfather, and a few Cousins. To say that experiencing life as a “civilian” was challenging at times would definitely be an understatement.
Since I’m not trying to write you a book (at least not at the moment, wink ), I’ve broken my transition process down into 4 Parts: The Decision, Contractor Life, Starting Over, & Where I am Now.
During my 2nd deployment to Iraq, I decided I wanted something different out of life; between school, being with family more, and pursuing a career doing some type of Social Work or Criminal Investigations, and was not quite sure I saw that path through the Air Force any longer.
After an interesting conversation in the office upon my return, I decided I was officially D-O-N-E and started my separation paperwork. The process went by surprisingly quick (2-3 weeks ), since I was within my re-enlistment window. I was literally In-Processing from Deployment & Out-Processing the Air Force at the same time. My decision came as a surprise to colleagues, my supervisor, and my mentors. Everyone was confused, I was the chic who came in with a 20-year plan. My parents were completely thrown off by my decision as well, especially with an economic recession at hand.
However little did they know, I had already begun working on my exit strategy while I was deployed and had made the decision to take the contractor route. Thanks to one of my #besties, I had already spoken with a company with positions open for my specific job (AFSC) and they paid well for working in a combat zone. As soon as I was officially separated from Uncle Sam, I was golden to start my new job as a contractor. SCORE!!!!
My Separation Timeline
In/Out Processed : June
Terminal Leave: July thru August
Began Contractor Job in September
Taking the contractor route seemed like a no-brainer move. I was under the impression by this point that my entire Post-Active Duty experience would be this easy.
Boy was I wrong…
What about you?
Are you planning to or have you already transitioned from one chapter of life/career to another?
How did your family and friends react?
Did you do something unexpected or did everyone have an idea of what your next move was?