Thinking about Transitions
Posted by Joan Grey on July 9, 2012
Guest blogger, Vera Steiner Blore, has transitioned her career throughout numerous military moves across the United States as the spouse of a retired Coast Guard officer. Vera holds a masters degree in public administration from Columbia University in New York and has worked as a consultant, nonprofit executive director, lobbyist and Flag spouse. Her hope is to use blogging to begin and sustain a dialogue between senior active and retired military leaders and their spouses, the Armed Services and the agencies, companies and communities that seek to support smooth military to civilian transitions.
Separating from military life can be a challenge whether you are a military spouse, a female veteran or fit into both categories. There are personal and professional hurdles you can expect to face as you step out of the familiar cocoon of the military family. The structure changes as do the support networks and it takes some time and effort to rebuild and establish new personal and professional relationships that will propel you forward in civilian life.
Finding out what will work best for you in civilian life is going to be different for everyone. There are many valuable transition resources at your fingertips if you just seek them out. One of the most helpful can be connecting with a mentor who can serve as a sounding board and share practical and personal experience with you. The mentor’s role is to help you identify your personal and professional goals and the keys to achieving them.
As the spouse of a 36-year military veteran, I was very grateful to have found some amazing mentors who supported both my professional and personal achievements and aspirations. Being able to learn from them as I ventured out to try new careers and experiences helped further strengthen my confidence in my own abilities to succeed at whatever I set out to do. Their encouragement helped me to find fulfilling professional positions as a lobbyist, nonprofit executive director, adjunct professor and board consultant, even as we moved from location to location around the United States.
BPW’s JoiningForcesMentoringPlus™ http://www.joiningforcesmentoringplus.org/ program provides a great opportunity for YOU to connect with a mentor who can make a real difference in where you head next. Connecting with someone who can point you in the right direction or steer you away from unproductive paths can be a real time-saver!
In addition, take advantage of networking groups through LinkedIn through which you can connect with other women in professional fields of interest to you or with others going through similar transitions out of military life.
After my husband’s retirement from military service, and after watching many colleagues wonder how best to move forward in civilian life, I decided to launch a blog called Military Leaders in Transition. I invite you to visit the site, whether you are a female veteran and/or a military spouse, to pick up some tips to support your own successful transition. www.seniormilitaryintransition.com