Top 5 Things to Expect When You Decide To Get Out of the Military

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Whether you are a Military Spouse or the Uniformed Spouse, this blog article may help you prepare for all that happens after you make it known that you're leaving military service.

Remember the day you were sworn in?

Initially, entering military service is like going on a trip without a map. You know you're headed somewhere, but you have no idea exactly where you're going, when you'll get there, or what to expect along the way. Without someone or something to guide you, you feel lost. Fortunately, help in the military is plentiful and provided by those who can steer you in the right direction. (Our goal at the USAA Military Spouse Community is to provide some information from those who have been there.) You'll never forget those instructors who guided and trained you to a standard of excellence. The instructor breaks you down before building you back up. They show you the way. You go from unsteady to "combat ready" in a matter of weeks!

No matter how long you serve, you might think about getting out from time-to-time. Sometimes a short-term situation such as; a tough duty assignment, an undesirable location, a tough boss, or a job or unit that's just not the right fit, might take you through the mental gymnastics to decide whether you should stay in or get out.

Although military service cannot always end on your terms, at some point all military careers must come to an end. Ideally, you'll accomplish all of your goals before making a military-to-civilian career transition. Yet maybe you will experience something that cuts your time in service short. Or maybe you make the decision to leave the service in order to attempt other pursuits. You might even plan to retire after serving for many years.

I believe that the decision to leave the military is as tough as the decision to get in. After all, you had to weigh the impact of the military service lifestyle on you and those you love. Getting out of the military is an important decision that cannot be taken lightly. You need to do a lot of soul-searching, consideration, and planning.

Since my military-to-civilian career transition in 1994, I recognized several things that typically happen once you make your intentions known. Time and again, these five things prove to be true with most anyone I meet who made a military-to-civilian career transition.

5 Things to Expect When You Decide To Get Out of the Military

1. Expect questioning yourself about your decision to get out.

In simple terms, you made a decision to leave a career that you understand. You built a fine reputation for excellence. You have a strong familiarity with the military system. You've now decided to leave and venture into the unknown civilian world. You might feel the same level of uncertainty getting out as you felt before you got in.

2. Expect to be treated differently.

Once you let others know that you plan to leave the service, not everyone is going to feel as good about your decision as you do. Many of your brothers and sisters in arms may feel bad about the fact that you're leaving the group. You might feel a bit isolated for a while. They may have trouble processing the change you're about to make. You need to share your reasons for getting out with those who you care about most.

3. Expect Temporary Duty Assignments or additional duties.

Since you're now a "short-timer", your availability to perform additional tasks and assignments may increase your workload. You might be asked or ordered to pull duty or otherwise step in during your transition. Remember, the military mission continues! These temporary duty assignments and/or additional duties might provide an opportunity for you to boost your resume or even get a letter of recommendation for a job well done, so make sure to perform these duties at the highest level possible.

4. Expect a high amount of scrutiny.

If you announce your departure from the service today, and fall out of the 4-mile run tomorrow, be ready to pay the price! Show up late for formation? Trouble will greet you! Miss an assignment? A counseling statement will be written on your behalf in no time! You simply need to step up your game and maintain a spirit of excellence until your last day in uniform, and beyond.

5. Expect lots of helpful resources.

Finally, you receive some transition assistance from the military for free. You need to take full advantage of the programs offered by your specific branch of service to help you make the best out of your military-to-civilian career transition. Don't miss these important programs as this will set the stage for your future success.

And remember, the USAA Military Spouse Community is a great place to find out more information too! Let us know how we can assist you!

The choice is yours. Just know that military service remains an honorable profession. You need to carefully weigh the decision to leave the military. And, don't forget that staying in might be the right option for you! Just recognize that leaving the military presents a unique set of challenges and your preparation involves much more than resumes and interviews. Continued success to you and yours as you weigh your decisions and prepare for the future!