BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Dear Jane

Posted by sailorcindy on August 31, 2009

dearjane

BPW Foundation is teaming up with women veterans on an exciting project we call the “Dear Jane” campaign.

The purpose of Dear Jane is to have a woman veteran write a letter to a soon-to-be veteran to supply practical advice on making the life change from military to civilian life.  The letters so far have offered wonderful anecdotal advice to women who are preparing to make the transition into the civilian world.  Here are a few excerpts from the letters we have received:

Nothing could have prepared me for the problems that I have encountered with the VA.  It has been an on going struggle and I find it appalling that anyone who has sacrificed 20 years of their lives and their family lives to serve their country would be pushed out the door upon retirement.

Coming “home” … was a big shocker to say the least.  I felt like Alice dropping into the rabbit hole.  My first trip to Wal Mart resulted in a tearful meltdown – we never had choices like that at the PX/BX/Navy Exchange!

In the civilian world, many people look at a woman veteran as if she is an alien from another planet.  […]  The civilian world is full of insecure people, especially men, who might be intimidated by you.  […]  Keep trying to build a life for yourself.  It takes time.

If I were to do it again, I would have started doing a ton of networking before I left active duty.

Transitioning back to civilian life certainly has its rewards – you trade your boots for heels, sandals for comfortable shoes[.]  […]  [M]y dilemma now is deciding what to wear each day to work.

Whether you are single and trying to move back to old friends/hometowns or married and reconnecting with your family, you are different now.  They may or may not be different.  Give yourself time to recognize things have changed.

I have written a blog post about learning to give up my Navy identity after transitioning from the military into civilian life.  Reading these letters from women veterans has helped me realize that I am not alone.  Yes, the transition to civilian life can be challenging, but it can be accomplished.

For all you women veterans out there who relate to difficult transition from military to civilian life, please consider sending a “Dear Jane” letter.  Reach out to a young woman who is about to go through the difficult transition of leaving the military for civilian life.

Here’s how to join the campaign:  www.bpwfoundation.org/dearjane.

Dear Jane has been made possible, in part, by Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust

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