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Career Tips For Military Veterans Starting to Work in Civilian Positions

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Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There are so many articles and sites with tips on how to find a civilian job when you have served in the military and are now a veteran seeking employment. Now here you are one of the fortunate veterans to have found a job, you have been hired and next week you start. Now what? First accept the fact you are in transition mode. The majority of people will accept the fact you are in transition mode initially. Many people will respect and admire you for your service to our country. Everyone should, but that is another article topic.

For the purposes of this specific article let’s assume this position is a civilian job in an office environment and does not necessarily have the majority of it’s business with the U.S Government. This may be the most difficult item to deal with so recognize it may take some time. Lose the code speak. Terms with initials, insider code names for events, people, food and anything else really work on utilizing long form regular English words which the majority of people understand. This would be in speaking and writing.

1. Use regular english words.

2. Dress to fit in with your co-workers or your customers or in line with the people who are a level or two above you in the organization.

3. Approach every single day with a great attitude. There is no one in the office who has a better reason than you to have a great attitude. So reflect this in your approach each and every day. You are home now and you have a job and a career to launch outside of the military. Your military experience will always be something you should be proud of and now it is time to shine in another stage of your life. Show your appreciation each day with a great attitude.

4. You may have something really important to ask or to offer in a conversation. Do your best to not interrupt others. Hold onto your thought and wait until the others are finished with their conversation.

5. Take an assessment of the environment. Is the culture you are now in a team environment? If it is embrace it. If it isn’t are you the one to help create a team environment there? Work with your manager and their manager and determine what is the best way to move forward in this arena.

6. Take notice of your volume when speaking with others or when you are on the phone. There have been reports of some veterans trending toward the loud side. This may be due to high noise levels from their previous surroundings or other reasons. Pay attention to your own volume and to those around you.

7. This one should be easy. However, you would be surprised how often it comes up. Keep your work area clean and clean up after yourself. Many office spaces have a variety of waste bins, one for paper, one for cans, one for plastic, another for food waste. Understand the system and follow along. Become part of the recycling culture in the environment you are in.

8. The concept of commuting is new to you. Give yourself extra time and always be on time or early for everything. If your commute is thirty minutes or longer each way consider some type of listening device for learning and personal development or a book which is read to you for your own enjoyment.

9. Unless you have been specifically assigned a top secret project, communicate with people in the workplace about work. Make certain you and your manager and the next level manager are communicating. If you are on a deadline make certain your co-workers are aware of what your situation is as much as you should be aware of their situation. This is where the team work aspect shows up as well.

10. Respect the fact that everyone is different. Many of the people you work with have always worked in an office environment, maybe even this one. You may feel uncomfortable at first. This will pass. Create good habits for yourself and follow these tips. You will do a great job!

Thank you for your service!

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