Greetings USAA Military Spouse Community Members!

My name is Charles "Chazz" Pratt III and I am the Community Manager for the Going Civilian section of USAA's Military Spouse Community! I'm excited about the opportunity to share some helpful information that can help you plan and prepare for that day you become a civilian.

A Little Bit about Me

I'm a 1988 Distinguished Military Graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). My late Father commissioned me and 2 weeks later, performed my wedding ceremony that same year.

During my time in service, I served as a Fire Support Officer, a Battery Executive Officer and Acting Commander, an Assistant Secretary of the General Staff, and the Chief Personnel Service Branch (PAB/SIDPERS). I jumped out of perfectly good airplanes and achieved the rank of Captain (O-3).

Having worked with a Civilian Recruiter (in order to find a civilian career prior to leaving the military) taught me a lot about the process of going civilian. The fact that I still had a military mission made it difficult to attend hiring seminars and interviews. I had to cancel several interviews since the needs and demands of the military always come first.

I received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1994 and entered the civilian world at that time. This resulted in accepting what I like to call a "settle for" job. In other words, I had to settle for a job that was not the best opportunity or fit for me and my family.

In 1994 my first civilian job paid half of an O-3 Captain's pay. After 3 months in this "settle for" job I was unemployed. I did not have a job for the next 3 months after that.

Finally, I had to figure out how to get back into the ranks of the EMPLOYED.

Once I figured it out, I got hired by a Fortune 100 company. I've worked for several companies since then and experienced promotions, layoffs, restructuring, interviewing, training, and many other civilian experiences that can help you.

Several years and several successful career opportunities later (along with helping other Veterans make the military-to-civilian career transition), my wife encouraged me to write a book about how to go from "boots to suits". I wrote The Fort Living Room Transition Course book in 2005 and published it in 2008. I dedicated this book to my late Father, LTC (Chaplain) Charles Pratt, Jr., since he passed away before he was able to publish this book.

What to Expect from the Going Civilian Blog

My goal is to provide information that will help you successfully make the military-to-civilian career transition. We'll talk about important things such as; Interviewing, Resumes, Networking, Applying for Jobs Online, and many more topics. You even get to hear from some other former Military people who have successfully made the military-to-civilian career transition.

I'll share some personal experiences that I believe will help you.

The information will be helpful for Military Spouses - regardless if you're looking for a career yourself or if you're supporting your Uniformed Military Spouse who is about to make the military-to-civilian career transition.

You'll learn a little bit about the programs provided by your specific branch of the military, but my goal is to share some tips, tricks, and secrets to getting hired BEFORE you leave the military.

Most importantly, I will share some thought-provoking information to help you determine if getting out of the military is the right idea in the first place.

Let's Get the Conversation in Going Civilian Started!

No doubt, your decision to enter the military was tough. But just remember, you had lots of training once you joined. Making the decision to leave the military is a tough one! Just know that lots of helpful resources exist out there and knowing how to best navigate your way to success is essential.

Remember, you have invested your best skills and abilities in your military career. You've sacrificed countless times in support of our military and our country. Staying in the military may be the best thing for you! However, sometimes you may have some event that requires you to leave the military. For example; retirement, medical discharge, Guard or Reserve returning from deployment to unemployment or any other reason may require you to get ready to make the military-to-civilian career transition.

Just know that military service is an honorable profession. Your selfless service and dedication to what you do is something to be respected. My personal goal is to help military families get the careers they deserve! I hope you find the USAA's Military Spouse Community, Going Civilian blog helpful!

New Member
I am thrilled to find "Going Civilian" resources online! My husband has served 10 years in the Army and has just completed his 3rd , and very challenging deployment in 5 years. We have figured that he has spent 38 of the last 60 months deployed! The time away has taken a toll on both my husband and I, as well as our 4 young children. We have started the "getting out" conversation, but honestly I'm horrified and overwhelmed at times! We have about a year to prepare, which honestly feels like just enough time to do nothing! We are taking this transition one day at a time, and I am so excited to find your blog here with USAA! Thank you for your support.
Chazz Pratt
New Member
Dear beachykeen: The decision to get out of the military is definitely a tough one. The USAA Military Spouse Community is here to help! Please check out some of the articles on this blog. Feel free to comment or ask any questions!