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Three Things the "Short Timer" Should Do Their First Days in "The Real World"

April 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 134

You made it. You finished your obligated time in military service. You have your discharge in hand (and hopefully the home and e-mail addresses of your buddies), and now you're ready to get back into civilian life. Well done!

Once you're back in civilian clothes, shift your transition into high gear by taking these three steps:

1. Have your county clerk make a copy of your discharge papers to keep in their files.

I was told this bit of advice when I got out and it proved to be invaluable. Your discharge is one of the most important documents you'll ever get. It's the proof you'll need for your veteran's benefits, and for the training you received while on duty.

Unfortunately, bad things can happen to your most valued possessions. Natural disasters, fires, theft, or even moving from one home to another can be among the reason you lost your important papers. Having a backup copy of your discharge on file with your county clerk ensures that you'll have a notarized copy of your papers in another location in the event your copy is destroyed or lost.

2. Start networking

It's not what you know. It's not who you know. When it comes to your civilian career and associations, it's how well others know you (and you know them) that will count.

Now that you're available for work, you'll want to let people know. You'll also want to be able to tell them what you're looking for, and what you bring to the table, in a concise way. "Government-speak" is not the order of the day in the civilian world.

Take some time to learn effective networking techniques. Networking is much more than handing out business cards to everyone that you meet. Practice your answer to the question "What do you do?" Can you do it 10 words, or in a 15 second sound bite? A great way to tell if you have this mastered is to find a child between the ages of five and eight years of age. If they understand what you do, then you're ready for the more mature crowd.

Another great skill to develop is speaking in front of a crowd. Those that do this well are remembered by their listeners and are in great demand. If you're not comfortable speaking in public, seek organizations or take classes that specialize in teaching and practicing public speaking techniques. Make yourself available for speaking engagements to gain experience and confidence. Start with small groups and work your way up to larger gatherings.

3. Stay in shape

You're probably in good physical condition now. It's a good idea to stay that way to avoid any health issues down the road. If you've read almost any magazine or watched the morning television shows in the last 10 -20 years, you're well aware that the diet industry is huge! Millions of dollars are spent every year on weight loss programs, or in the control of the effects of poor physical conditioning and diet.

I'm not saying that you keep up the daily five-mile run if you don't want to. Instead, make sure that you do keep up a regular exercise/activity routine that will help you stay in shape. Most experts recommend a 30 minute workout every other day. Talk to your doctor or a physical trainer to help you design workout activities that you'll enjoy. That will make sure you'll stick to the routine over the long haul.

You've done your service to your country. Because of you and your fellow service members, we were able to go about our daily lives in relative safety. Now that you're returning to civilian life, take these three steps to help your next phase in life get you started on the right foot.

Leon R. Scott is a Certified Master Life Coach specializing in Career Transitions for veterans, upwardly mobile employees, and those wanting to change career paths.

Get free access to Leon's advice and tips about changing careers in the report entitled "So You Want To Change Careers. Are You Sure About That?" Go to

Source: EzineArticles
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Civilian Life


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Stay In Shape


County Clerk

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