Coming back from a tour can be tough, with its own challenges that we all know far too well. Finishing your duty and returning to a normal 9 to 5 can be even more difficult, particularly when surrounded by civilians instead of fellow veterans. Adjusting takes time, but here are 7 tips to try and make that time flow by a little smoother and faster.
1. Find something that suits you
The temptation is to go for the first job you find, or for something you thought you might like to do before you went into service. But think about your skills and you may find you are better suited to a specific area. Remember that government agencies and some other companies actively look for veterans because of their particular skills and experience.
2. You don’t have to rush in
Having a bit of time to decompress before you rush in to a new job is a really good idea. Adjust to life at home and around civilians a little more before you head into the workplace. This personal time is needed for a lot of people and helps take away some of the stress of adjusting.
3. Connect with others
If there are other veterans within your company, try to connect with them. They have been standing in your shoes and they can help you out now. Sometimes it’s enough just to have a friend who understands what you are going through, ready with an open ear whenever you need it.
4. Develop a routine
Civilian workplaces can be ambiguous, but developing your own routine will help combat that. Set up your day in a certain order: check emails when you arrive for a certain length of time, then start your next task. Have lunch in the same place and time, and stick to a schedule throughout the day. This will help you to get into the swing of things.
5. Find a mentor
Even if there are no vets in your company, you can still find a mentor. This should be someone who can coach you towards the place you want to be in your career, so ideally they should be there already or even have surpassed it. They can help you with career issues like resumes, interviews, and developing career skills. They can also help you with workplace expectations and figuring out how to adjust quicker.
6. Go to the gym
Adding some gym time to your daily schedule may be a big boost. You will be able to retain the shape that you gained in the military, as well as blow off steam and frustration when things don’t go your way. It also helps with that feeling of routine and giving you more structure to your day. If you can’t make it work daily, try to head down at least once a week, or invest in some weights you can use at home.
7. Get involved
Does your workplace have any sports teams? Do colleagues meet after work or at weekends for drinks? Are there projects or initiatives within the company that are looking for volunteers? Get involved, and be sure to talk with your colleagues. Let them know you are interested in getting to know them, and ask questions about the company too.
It’s a slow struggle, but if you take your time and use these tips, adjusting doesn’t have to be quite so painful. Getting used to civilian life can take a while, and that’s fine. Cut yourself some slack and try relaxing as much as possible.
Sophia Mest is a Content Manager at BizDb, where she aspires to put her writing passion into practice and spread her words across the world. She spends her free time travelling and exploring the wonders of nature.