According to, the word "may" is defined like this:

  1. (used to express possibility): It may rain.
  2. (used to express opportunity or permission): You may enter.
  3. (used to express contingency, especially in clauses indicating condition, concession, purpose, result, etc.): I may be wrong but I think you would be wise to go. Times may change but human nature stays the same.
  4. (used to express wish or prayer): May you live to an old age.

Let's take a look at the word may as it relates work life and to your Military-to-Civilian career transition:

May used to express possibility

  • You may run into companies who have negative impressions about military people. Your ability to overcome these mindsets, stereotypes, and beliefs may result in getting a job that may have gone to someone else had you not mastered the skill of turning a negative into a positive.
  • You may encounter companies who wish to hire military people on the spot. Military-Friendly companies recognize the talent and skills you received while in uniform. You might get hired BEFORE your civilian counterparts due to that companys ability to hire a certain type of person with a specific background such as military service.

May used to express opportunity or permission

  • You may enter the civilian sector if you so choose. How long you remain there depends on many things. Getting in may be easy or somewhat difficult. Staying there may be a challenge. My guess is that your ability to assimilate (as in fit in or adapt to your new surroundings) may dictate your success or failure in your non-Military career.
  • You may work in a Military-centric business as it may me a better fit for you. Your skills acquired during military service may translate nicely and seamlessly into a new civilian career. You may walk out one day wearing camouflage and walk in the next in civvies ready to go to work!

May used to express contingency, especially in clauses indicating condition, concession, purpose, result, etc.

  • I may be wrong, but I think many former military people treat their new civilian surroundings as if they were their old military surroundings. You may rub people the wrong way because you have not exchanged your military ways for civilian ways. Don't get me wrong, you may have learned a lot of immensely valuable skills while serving, but you need to know how to use these skills accordingly. This goes way beyond the eternal use of "Hoo-Ahh" in nearly every sentence uttered at the workplace.
  • Times may change, but the lessons learned while serving will stay with you forever. You may experience feelings of frustration while working at a loosely organized company with few protocols or standards kept in place. You may feel like you're constantly having to "enforce the corporate law" when your co-workers fail to follow the rules. You may recall the high standards you lived by while serving in uniform and wonder where in the world the standards exist at your new non-Military job. You may have to live & learn or learn to live with it or you may have to find a way to affect change.

May used to express wish or prayer

  • May you find a brand new civilian career that pays you more money than you ever imagined, doing work that you love, with people you enjoy working with, for as long as you wish to work. May your workdays be challenging yet rewarding, your promotions and pay raises plentiful, and your career something you'll never forget. May you find your calling so that what most people call work you refer to as a vocation. May you not lose sleep at night worried about documenting and implementing many ways to improve, discover, innovate, create, manage, lead, or solve.
  • May you find a career working in an environment similar to that of the career during your military service days. May you find satisfaction knowing that those around you have similar backgrounds and experiences and the bonds created came naturally as if you've served together for years. May your work days be productive, your impact profound, and your influence permanently etched on the lives those who continue to serve our country with your help in your career.

Can you survive in your new career? Yes you may!