Veterans Employment Toolkit

Remember the movie ” Scent of a Woman.” It’s about a retired lieutenant colonel, an incredibly unbearable man whose own family does not want to take with him on holidays, does not want to let his brother into their home. When you meet this character, you get a very repulsive impression. But throughout the film, you are imbued with sympathy for him, learning the story of his life, the experiences he has gained during his years of service to the country. Of course, this is just a feature story. But ordinary viewers have no idea how many such people there really are. And the fact that this film shows not even a fraction of the troubles a veteran may encounter. 

Challenges During Re-adjustment to Civilian Life

The adjustment period is a complex and lengthy process in itself. Being away from your family and loved ones, you hope to return as soon as possible and cross the threshold of your own home, where everything seems to be stable and unchanging. Memories of your father cursing at the television, your mother and wife cooking dinner, and setting the holiday table rage in your head. These thoughts sustain the lingering anticipation. But when you get home, you notice that things are no longer what they used to be. And it’s not clear. Whether you’ve changed or whether everything here has changed. The habits that the service brought up in you are at odds with everyday civilian life. Your family doesn’t understand what you’ve been through. They may not even realize it. It would seem that who can understand you better than your loved ones. But when they don’t give you the support you hoped for, the more disappointed you are. And on the other hand, you catch yourself thinking that there are many things that you lived with, put up with, and experienced in the service before you retired. They shouldn’t know.

In addition to the things that happen in the home, many problems await you outside its doors. For someone who is used to being in action, clearly aware of the job and tasks ahead, it is tough to face the uncertainty and insecurity of tomorrow. The search for a new field of employment begins. And here, too, there are many pitfalls. The resume, the interview – the stages that, up to this point, there was no need to go through. The language you’re used to is not understood by people sitting in cozy and spacious offices. And for the big bosses, your service record, which describes your merits, by which you would appreciate all the candidate’s values – remain without proper attention. So you have to translate military vocabulary into the civilian language. And if you are lucky enough to find yourself in a new place, you, as someone who is used to finishing everything until the mission is accomplished, may not understand the new rhythm. At the end of work hours, there is an opportunity to go straight home and devote time to yourself. After all, there are many things to which, out of your interest, you can set aside time before “retirement.” Don’t forget that retirement implies such occasions when you have to build up and learn new skills. After all, this is an integral part of rehabilitation.

Another important nuance is that now you have to take care of the things in your props previously provided to you by the army. You were only given necessities and in limited quantities. This also applies to the services you were provided with. Now you have to think for yourself about your insurance, about where you can get medical care.

So all the problems come down on you like a snowball. You are torn out of your usual way of life, where everything was evident and mechanical. But the world of the civil jungle lives by entirely different laws, which you, a prepared person, should initially learn. After that, work out and start the mechanism of rehabilitation. But the main question is not only what difficulties await you when you return home. It is more important to know how to cope with them, which doors you can knock on, and ask for support. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable. But are you used to impossible tasks?

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