Leaving the military life and its great benefits and job security for a civilian job might seem scary for some still serving on active duty. For Reserve and National Guard members the situation may include working odd jobs or still trying to find a career that fits. For Active Duty service members that decide to stay in and retire, there is still a life after the military. Regardless of your military situation, your experience, level of leadership and training, combined with the Armed Forces and government support system, this still does not guarantee that you will be successful outside the military.

There are several questions that you must consider several years prior to exiting the military.

  1. Do you have a career plan?
  2. Will you be making more or less than what you did while in the military and how do taxes affect your income?
  3. A job is not a career.
  4. How are you going to stand out among the tens of thousands of Americans trying to land the same position you are interested in?

These questions are the very questions I wished I would have asked myself many years prior to my retirement from the Army.

To be honest, it did not occur to me until my last year in the Army as a Recruiter that I wanted to be an Entrepreneur. I changed my degree program several times before I decided to pursue a Small Business Degree. Knowing what career fits you and what type of education if any is required, can help save you time and money.

If you’ve been in the service for more than a day, then you would know that only your base pay is taxed, your BAS and BAH, and Special Duty Pay are not taxed by the IRS. Your medical and dental care are free, unlike civilian workers who have to pay a portion of their income to receive these benefits. This can significantly impact your lifestyle.

Believe it or not, a job and career are two different things and here are the reasons why: A career is long term with an end goal in mind. It offers a future of growth with increase pay. Careers usually require some years of experience and post-secondary education. A job may not require any educational skill or experience, are usually short term and little to no room for growth.

Having served your country, gives you the upper hand in landing most jobs. However when it comes to a career, employers most likely will not take the risk of hiring without experience or an education background. Standing out to employers who are looking for the right person to fill high paying positions takes the right mindset and preparedness. Who knows more about preparation than service members? Throughout your military career, the one basic part of being a service member is preparation to win in war. In the service, you’ve spent weeks training to get things right, then a month or two putting your training to the test. You know what it means to overcome and adapt, you’re a team player, loyal, selfless, and dedicated.

There are plenty of veteran support groups that have built relationships with employers across the nation, to help with your transition from military to civilian employment. There is no better time than now to start planning for life after the military.

MyMapPlan is the first step to finding out what career is right for you. It’s free and easy. Sign up now at www.mymapplan.com

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