BuildForce April 2024 Blog

Stepping into Civvy Street: Embracing Change after the Military

If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” Martin Luther King 

Leaving the Armed Forces can feel like stepping into a whole new universe. The transition from the structured life of service to the unpredictability of civilian life is a monumental change—one that’s packed with challenges, surprises, and a good dose of self-discovery. For those embarking on this journey, it’s essential to brace yourself for the twists and turns of Civvy Street.

First off, let’s acknowledge the enormity of this change. Military life isn’t just a job; it’s a lifestyle. The discipline, camaraderie, and clear-cut objectives become ingrained in who you are. So, when that chapter closes, it’s natural to feel a bit like a fish out of water. Suddenly, you’re faced with choices—career paths, where to live, what to wear (goodbye uniform!), and a whole new set of rules (or lack thereof).

One of the most profound shifts is in the pace of life. In the armed forces, everything has a rhythm, a structure. Orders come down, tours are planned, and routines are set. Civilian life can feel like a whirlwind in comparison—fast-paced, sometimes chaotic, and definitely more self-directed. This newfound freedom is both liberating and daunting.

Then there’s the job market. Finding a civilian job that aligns with your skills and interests might require a bit of exploration. The skills you’ve honed in the military—leadership, problem-solving, adaptability—are incredibly valuable, but translating them into civilian terms can be a puzzle. It might mean going back to education, undergoing training, or pivoting into a different field altogether. It’s about embracing the opportunity to learn and grow.

But it’s not all challenges. Life outside the military opens doors to experiences you might have only dreamed of during your service. Building relationships outside the military community can be refreshing and eye-opening. You’ll encounter diverse perspectives and lifestyles, expanding your worldview in ways you never imagined.

Moreover, don’t underestimate the power of your military background. The resilience and grit you’ve developed are assets that will carry you through any transition. Lean on your fellow veterans for support—they’ve been there too. Organisations like BuildForce exist solely to help veterans navigate this phase, offering resources, mentorship, and a sense of belonging.

Ultimately, leaving the military is about embracing change with an open mind. Yes, it’s daunting, but it’s also a chance to redefine yourself, pursue new passions, and create a life that’s uniquely yours. So, step into civilian life with curiosity and courage. The road ahead may be uncertain, but the possibilities are endless and BuildForce are here to support you every step of the way.

#InThisTogether #BuildForce #Change

Jessica Waller

BuildForce Support Manager