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How To Find Your Purpose After Transitioning Out Of The Military

How To Find Your Purpose After Transitioning Out Of The Military

A career dedicated to the military is one deeply embedded with training, organization and purpose. However, when the time presents itself, a post-military life can be intimidating. We can begin to doubt ourselves both personally and professionally. It’s important to take a step back and assess where you are and want to be so you can make the most of your life post-separation.

Here are some of our favorite ways to find your purpose after transitioning out of the military.

Find Your Focus
Finding one’s focus in post-military life should be an exciting opportunity that inspires you to refresh your goals. In order to find your focus and passion, we recommend asking big questions first. This will help you identify your passion and where your true interests lie. Some things to ask yourself include:

  • What are the most important things to you? Is it your family? Financial security?
  • How would you like to spend your time? Giving back to your community or volunteering? Or pursuing a new career?
  • What excites you most about living life as a civilian? Access to education? Achieving a regular schedule with other civilians?

Once you determine the answers to these questions, you’ll achieve a clearer focus regarding your goals. This, in turn, will help motivate you to achieve success, no matter what path you choose.

Investigate Opportunities
Once you find your focus, it’s imperative to investigate how you can best achieve your post-separation goals. This process can include contacting fellow service-members, reaching out to a mentor for guidance, attending a seminar, participating in an internship or apprenticeship, or asking to shadow a professional in your field of interest. It may also include travel to a new location or seeking new employment opportunities. Whatever your path, do not be afraid to seek advice or help–you never know what new opportunity could present itself by just asking a simple question. Above all else, this process will ensure that you’re always taking the right steps to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Evaluate and Pursue
The information you have gathered on your way to finding your purpose is powerful, necessary and important. You have the ability to take charge and make positive changes in your life. There is no wrong answer or question. If you truly want to find your purpose after transitioning out of the military, you have to practice patience. Simply take the time to evaluate the information and resources you have collected. Eventually, you will be right on track to discovering and pursuing purpose.

Finding your post-military purpose is vital to your success as a civilian. If you need help finding or achieving your true life’s purpose after separating from the military, let us know. We have specially designed programs to help you, free of charge. Plus, we offer mentorships and guidance on VA benefits to make sure you have the tools and resources you need to go after your goals.

Visit www.savivets.org/veteran to learn more and get free resources to aid in your transition today!

How to Use Your Military Leadership to be Effective in Business

How to Use Your Military Leadership to be Effective in Business

In many ways, the military prepares its members for service well beyond the parameters of its branches. The leadership skills alone that are pushed upon soldiers are unparalleled in the civilian world. And with a quick Google search, it’s easy to see how these particular skills can specifically translate to the world of big business. Just type in “US military has more training than CEOs” and you’ll find studies and stories of former military personnel who have gone on to become highly successful in the world of business — mostly due to their military leadership training.

You, as a Veteran, are among this crowd of elite leaders. Here are a few ways in which the military taught you to be a leader in business.

Be, Know, Do.
Though the Be-Know-Do method is an Army-specific leadership mantra, this mentality can apply to military training across the board. In the service, you are taught that your subordinates will follow what you do far before they’ll follow what you say. The same rules apply to business. As a leader, if you set the precedent of being late to meetings, talking negatively about company leaders, or dress below standard, the rest of your team will follow suit. If your objective is to motivate, you must first become what you want them to emulate, know the right thing to do, and then do it.

Lead instead of manage.
The military is run with a top-down organizational approach, meaning there is one centralized leader who is responsible for all successes and failures of the team. Often, the civilian workplace runs in a bottom-up capacity, which also comes with its pros and cons. Though you aren’t there to revamp the company hierarchy, your top-down experience gave you valuable lessons in leading others that can still translate well on business teams. When tasked with leadership, you’ve been trained to develop your team members both professionally and personally. If one is failing personally it often affects their ability to succeed professionally. When that happens, you take the heat as their leader. Mentoring them to succeed in all aspects of their lives, not just the one at work, is also a true relationship-building technique that will win you trust and respect.

Loyalty.
Your time in service has bred in you a sense of pride and loyalty to your order of business. You were a part of something big, whether fun or not, and you knew where your commitments stood. Use this mindset in the business world. No matter what you do, do it with all your attention. That’s what the military taught you and it will serve you well with your civilian peers.

It’s impossible to cover all the ways in which Veteran skills are translatable to the “real” world. Visit SAVI to learn more about how we can help you reach your full potential on the other side.

What’s Important to You in a Post-Military Location?

What’s Important to You in a Post-Military Location?

What’s Important to You in a Post-Transition Location?

From Austin to Colorado Springs to Seattle to Boise, there are so many U.S. cities that cater to the Veteran community in a way that makes them desirable for a post-separation dwelling. But as with each of these cities, every Veteran is different. What is it you’re looking for in a post-military location? Maybe it’s proximity to extended family, your chosen career path, or a pretty landscape. Maybe you have no idea. That’s OK. To help get you thinking, here are a few things to consider when deciding where to put down your roots and actually stay a while.

Cost of Living — This is an important one. Though Forbes ranks Seattle as one of the best places for Veterans to settle, it’s worth noting that this city also ranks as one of the most expensive in the country. This may not be a deal-breaker for you, but it’s always wise to know how much your location will cost you. In every city you consider, we recommend looking up median mortgage and rent payments, sales tax, average salaries, and school tuition rates. These are all good indicators of what your financial quality of life will be once settled.

Community — If you’re retiring and not just shifting career paths, your interests may be something you can actually plan your choice around. If you’re an outdoorsy, trail-biking, fly-fishing mountain man at heart, a look at Colorado Springs could be a good place to start your search. Likewise, if you’re more interested in a city lifestyle with art and music and restaurants, oh my, Austin could be the place for you.

Family Career Goals — If you’re in a relationship, your next move isn’t just about your career anymore. Talk to your spouse and determine what their career goals are now that you’re getting out. If they’ve had to put their dreams on hold while living the ever-mobile military life, this is a chance for them to blossom in a career track. As you have these discussions, look specifically for areas that offer the best opportunities for your spouse to reach those goals.

For more reading on where to live after the military, check out our June blog post on “10 Veteran-Friendly Cities to Consider.”

Building a Support Community Post-Military

Building a Support Community Post-Military

Having a military background has trained you in many ways for a future on the outside. We’ve already told you about the many skills that transfer with you into the civilian workplace — effective communication is one of them. Yet, no matter how trained you are in this area, speaking civilian can come with its challenges for any military Veteran.

Here are our top three tips for becoming an effective communicator among your civilian peers.

Style matters. How you say it is just as important as what you say as a communicator. Working with civilians, you have to learn to be more diplomatic with your tone. The military taught you direct, mission-focused, and maybe even slightly aggressive speak. There’s often little time or patience for ambiguity. But in the civilian workplace, it’s as much about relationship building as it is getting the task done. An overtly direct and to-the-point email may come across as cold and detached. Likewise, an “order” to get something done will not be seen as “business-as-usual” as it was in the military. In essence: friendlier is best with civilian communication.

Follow their lead. Every business is going to come with its own set of rules you must adhere to as a communicator. In the military, decisions are made from the top down. Out of necessity, there is no negotiating this type of approach. In the civilian world, it may be top-down, bottom-up, side-to-side, or everything in between. It’s important to learn these guidelines and play along. Although decisions may come at a slower pace when more voices are involved, collaboration can often lead to better outcomes — especially in the business world. This is also a great opportunity for you to get your own ideas heard.

Learn the why behind the way. It’s crucial to your success as a civilian professional to learn the ins and outs of your new industry. As mentioned above, each business comes with its own style of doing things. In the military, you had little room for expression. The civilian world, on the other hand, is full of individuals with all types of backgrounds, allowing communicators to develop a unique style. And every single industry can look different. Find a mentor at your new place of work, learn your business handbook, invite trusted colleagues out to lunch, and ask thoughtful questions. The more you seek to learn the why, the faster you’ll learn your way.

How to Speak Civilian and Be an Effective Communicator

How to Speak Civilian and Be an Effective Communicator

Having a military background has trained you in many ways for a future on the outside. We’ve already told you about the many skills that transfer with you into the civilian workplace — effective communication is one of them. Yet, no matter how trained you are in this area, speaking civilian can come with its challenges for any military Veteran.

Here are our top three tips for becoming an effective communicator among your civilian peers.

Style matters. How you say it is just as important as what you say as a communicator. Working with civilians, you have to learn to be more diplomatic with your tone. The military taught you direct, mission-focused, and maybe even slightly aggressive speak. There’s often little time or patience for ambiguity. But in the civilian workplace, it’s as much about relationship building as it is getting the task done. An overtly direct and to-the-point email may come across as cold and detached. Likewise, an “order” to get something done will not be seen as “business-as-usual” as it was in the military. In essence: friendlier is best with civilian communication.

Follow their lead. Every business is going to come with its own set of rules you must adhere to as a communicator. In the military, decisions are made from the top down. Out of necessity, there is no negotiating this type of approach. In the civilian world, it may be top-down, bottom-up, side-to-side, or everything in between. It’s important to learn these guidelines and play along. Although decisions may come at a slower pace when more voices are involved, collaboration can often lead to better outcomes — especially in the business world. This is also a great opportunity for you to get your own ideas heard.

Learn the why behind the way. It’s crucial to your success as a civilian professional to learn the ins and outs of your new industry. As mentioned above, each business comes with its own style of doing things. In the military, you had little room for expression. The civilian world, on the other hand, is full of individuals with all types of backgrounds, allowing communicators to develop a unique style. And every single industry can look different. Find a mentor at your new place of work, learn your business handbook, invite trusted colleagues out to lunch, and ask thoughtful questions. The more you seek to learn the why, the faster you’ll learn your way.

EDUCATION TRACK

Transitioning into higher education after years of military service can seem overwhelming. But SAVI’s Education Track is designed specifically to support Veterans like you from start to finish — academic advising, walkthroughs of your VA education benefits … and everything in between. 

All transitioning Veterans in SAVI’s programs gain access to our carefully developed tools for post-military students, including the SAVI Student Transition Incubator℠, Student Track Transition Program℠, and Student Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our personalized career path determination assistance. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition. 

EMPLOYMENT TRACK

Continuing on your professional journey after military service can be an amazing opportunity to find a new career that fulfills you and lets you thrive. Yet civilian workplace etiquette and the hiring process can be much different than what you’re used to as a service-member. The job search and performance evaluation processes are much more employee-driven, for example, and the workplace can be more isolating without the shared objective of high-stakes national defense.

SAVI’s Employment Track delivers start-to-finish support to help Veterans navigate a new career. From skills assessments to professional networking strategies, SAVI offers custom-built tools — including the SAVI Employment Transition Incubator℠, Job Networking & Search Service℠, and Employment Benefit Assessment Service℠ — as well as job retention and mentoring services to help you every step of the way. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to military-to-civilian transition.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRACK

Chasing your dream of self-employment can seem daunting after years of a highly structured military life. But SAVI provides the resources to help you turn this dream into a fulfilling reality — and so that you don’t have to go it alone.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive our comprehensive tools for personal business success: the SAVI Entrepreneur Transition Incubator℠ and Entrepreneur Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our opportunity consulting and our funding exploration  support. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.

RETIREMENT TRACK

After serving your time in the military, it’s time to look forward toward your retirement. SAVI is here every step of the way to help you transition from service-member to thriving retiree. We’re here to ensure you don’t have to muddle through the financial, personal, and emotional aspects of retirement on your own.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive comprehensive tools for a successful retirement: the SAVI Retirement Transition Incubator℠ and Retirement Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our one-on-one ongoing assistance and assessment services. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.


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Getting Connected with Your Local Veterans Organizations

If you’re a military Veteran, then you’re a part of a very niche group. Active military personnel make up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population today, so it’s not surprising that so many Veterans feel isolated as they start their transitions into civilian life.

Yet this issue isn’t a new one. Since 1899, organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion were created to offer Veterans a place for camaraderie, to feel empowered, and to help boost troop morale for those still in the service.

Fast-forward to today and Veterans groups have emerged in nearly every community in the country and boast a wide variety of scope and missions — such as the career program by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the suicide prevention work by The Military Veteran Project. The benefits to getting involved with one of these local groups include much more than just gaining buddies to swap war-stories with. Veterans can also get assistance with job placements, career counseling, emotional support, and finding resources for disabled Vets.

Not sure where to begin to find your local Veteran connections? Here’s a list of a few national Veteran groups with various local chapters across the nation.

The American Legion ​
AMVETS
Disabled American Veterans
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Korean War Veterans Association
The Military Veteran Project
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars
• Student Veterans of America
• Vietnam Veterans of America

For a more comprehensive list of military charities, organizations, and government contacts, click here.

Get Squared Away: A Comprehensive Checklist for Transitioning Service-Members

18 Months Before Your Discharge
• Review GI Bill and tuition assistance benefits
• Review GI Bill transferability requirements (Transferring your benefits may require re-enlisting or incurring an additional service obligation.)
• Use the DoD Online Academic Skills course to prepare for the SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT Exams
• Take a skills/interest assessment through your local ESO or career counselor
• Consider taking CLEP exams to complete your general education requirements
• Reach out to your SAVI mentor for tips from someone who has lived through the transition experience -Start developing your personal and professional networks
• Review your post-separation budget, and start planning for your financial transition
• Register on LinkedIn to get ready for networking opportunities
• Research the job potential, affordability, and community where you plan to live

12 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start developing an Individual Transition Plan
• Review your Pre-Separation Checklist (DD 2648)
• Get your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD 2586)
• Research the cost of living where you plan to live as a civilian-Learn about your VA home benefits -Make an appointment with your local Transition Counselor
• Attend a Transition GPS five-day workshop -Check job boards, and start exploring the right career options for you
• Start exploring the right degree and college for you -Request “house hunting orders”
• Enroll in a SAVI Transition Incubator℠
• Use a skills translator to begin developing a civilian resume

9 Months Before Your Discharge
• Continue building your networks through LinkedIn and elsewhere
• Consider an employment assistance program
• Start writing your resume
• Search for jobs in your field and area to see what’s out there
• Arrange for HHG transportation counseling -Research your healthcare options, including Employer-Provided Civilian Care, CHCBP, Transitional Health Care Benefits, and CHAMP
• Make a budget, and prepare to pay for health insurance coverage

6 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start applying for jobs -Start building a wardrobe for the civilian workplace
• Continue to expand your career networks
• Attend career fairs
• Review and update your will and financial documents
• Consider whether to take terminal leave or sell back your balance
• Schedule appointments for household goods (HHG) shipment and storage
• Schedule final medical checkups for all family members
• Visit the Legal Assistance Office for help updating your documents
• Determine if you’re eligible for separation pay or early retirement
•Begin your PCS and housing checkout procedures -Begin looking for VSOs to join

3 Months Before Your Discharge
• Consider job placement services
• Use the VA Pre-discharge program to determine your eligibility for VA Disability Compensation
• Review your finances to ensure your budget will work in civilian life
• Compare SGLI to VGLI and other life insurance options
• Get to know more about where you plan to live
• Contact your Military Treatment Facility, and get copies of all of your health records
• Complete a physical with your MTF or a VA Medical Center
• Take advantage of the two-day TAP GPS program for education and entrepreneurship support

1 Month Before Your Discharge
• Finalize your relocation appointments, and review your benefits
• Arrange for inspection of any government housing
• Choose your transitional healthcare plan

Enrolling in VA Healthcare

1. Make it easier on yourself: Start with support from VA’s Concierge of Care. Enrolling in VA care isn’t as tough a process as it used to be. In October 2017, VA launched its Concierge for Care (C4C) program to enhance its support for transitioning Veterans in getting VA healthcare. The C4C initiative educates and empowers Veterans while simplifying the healthcare application and enrollment process. This means that, shortly after you separate, you’ll get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions, process your VA healthcare enrollment application, and schedule your first VA medical appointment.

2. Get notified of your application status. After your application is submitted, you’ll receive another phone call from VA to let you know whether your enrollment is approved. VA will also send you a Veterans Health Benefits Handbook with information on your healthcare benefits, Enrollment Priority Group, copay status, and other information you’ll need as a new enrollee. Handbooks also include information for appealing a decision if your initial application is rejected.

3. Get your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). Only Veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system can receive a VHIC. Once your application is verified, contact the enrollment coordinator at your local VA medical center to arrange to get your picture taken for the your card either in advance or at your next VA healthcare appointment.

4. Keep your information current after you enroll. Enrolled Veterans can update your personal information (such as income, address, and insurance information) by completing VA Form 10-10EZR online, by visiting a local VA facility, or by calling 1-877-222-VETS between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Project You: Top Self-Development Courses to Take

Create a Perfect Morning Routine
You will learn how to create a morning routine filled with purpose, presence, and peace. You’ll be more energized, productive, and content — all before the start of your workday. Start your morning by doing things that feed your soul and make you happy.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
If you’ve been searching for your true purpose in life, Eckhart Tolle has some straightforward advice: Stop struggling. This is because the primary purpose of every human being is simply to be: Be fully engaged in this moment, and be aligned with the natural flow of reality itself.

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
This course is designed to show you how to look at what you’re learning, and your place in what’s unfolding in the society around you, so that you can be what you want to be. You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more than you might have ever dreamed.

Achieving Personal and Professional Success
You'll learn how to find your passion and core values, how to apply these values to your own life, how to work well with others, how to communicate effectively, how to set goals, how to use influence to achieve these goals, and even how to say you are sorry. Through exercises, self-diagnostic surveys, quizzes, and many case studies, you'll discover how to define not only what you want, but also the best way to get it. These courses provide key insights into successful personal practices, whether you are in the office or in your home. We all bring ourselves to work every day, and these courses will help you be your best self wherever you are.