“People whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to an idealized past.”
- Canadian Journalist, Writer, and Professor Robertson Davies

This edition of Here We R might cause a reaction! Once you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have a good idea if you can be described as having a Reactionary mindset.


If you work in a civilian company and ever hear yourself say, “We never did that in the military,” you might be reactionary. Our military roots grow deep, and proven methods abound. We had Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for everything from how we exercise, to how we conducted training exercises. We tend to default with our past experiences and “go with what you know” so to speak.


Those things worked great in a military setting, but in a civilian setting, this might hurt you. (Variations on this theme might include: while you served, “we never did it that way at my last unit” or while working in a non-military environment, “that would never fly in the military”, etc.)


In other words, you can find yourself using these types of phrases as a reaction in civilian circles due to your military experience and the strict structure found while in uniform. I’ve seen many examples of Veterans who may have made the physical transition to the civilian world, but the mental transition appears as though they still wear the uniform.


Could this be you? Examples of reacting back to a military mindset might include:


• The Veteran who made a civilian Customer cry because they did not use their product.
• The Veteran who shouted out orders to his/her direct reports and created a “Zero-Defects” work environment where everyone was on pins & needles trying not to make mistakes.
• The Veteran who continually answered everyone’s question using military jargon.
• The quick-witted Veteran who seems to have a solution for everything imaginable – all based on military experience and not necessarily an appropriate fit for the particular civilian situation at hand.


When you leave the military, the experiences remain with you, but SOME of the military needs to stay behind. Yes, those things we did were the perfect match for the military work setting. Efficiency, predictability, speed, agility, teamwork, and mission accomplished described the way we got things done. But, as a civilian, if the things you do make others feel uncomfortable or limit your career progression, don’t be surprised by the response of those around you.


You can be tough, but you don’t necessarily want to end up pegged as that person that’s too tough to deal with. You might need to tone it down a bit and work on your interpersonal savvy (i.e. people skills).


Find a trusted Friend or Supervisor at work that can help you identify any potential reactionary habits that may be considered too military and how they might be negatively impacting your civilian work environment.


Have you or someone you know fallen into the trap of being a Reactionary person with too much of a military mindset as you make the transition into the civilian workforce?


Share your feedback below.


Related Story in the Here We R series:
Hold That Thought! 

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