Transitioning to the civilian workforce is a huge step. Going from the comforting arms of the ADF into the world can be daunting to say the least. Although your resilience may be high, your skills and experience don’t always translate. The civvies are talking in acronyms you don’t know and you’re starting to understand the blank stares you got from your missus/mister when you were talking about work.
But don’t let the fear phase you. There are some incredible rewards civilian life offers that makes the transition worth it.
1. Inclusive Management
My first week in a civilian job, the boss made a decision that affected a project I was working on. After he did so, he explained his reasoning behind the decision and then asked my opinion. I had never experienced this form of management before. This is how I learnt about flat organisational leadership. A lot of modern workplaces operate like this. Open plan, physically and managerially. It has been one of the most obvious differences between military and civilian workforces – and one of the best. Gone is the strict hierarchical structure of old. Now, I get to talk to my boss one-on-one almost every day, about both the job and my personal life. Far from being intrusive, this proves a commitment to the employees, and the amount they are willing to invest in their people – something that the military can be pretty hit and miss on. Although hierarchy has its place in the military, and is necessary to maintain a disciplined fighting force, it can be a wonderful change to come out into a much more individual focused work-space.
2. Autonomy in the Workforce
Autonomy and creativity are not only rewarded but encouraged. Obviously, this can be dependent on the job you go into, but the ability to define your own path and challenge yourself in many ways that aren’t limited to a strict career progression is obvious and empowering. There’s usually no institutionalised micro-management, no babysitting, no knife hands, but rather the chance to create a role for yourself; to upskill, grow and learn.
It’s a different kind of feeling going to sleep on a Friday night with a sound assurance that you won’t get woken early the next morning for a surprise drug test, a day of duty, or a mandatory activity for platoon bonding. And it’s a good feeling – one you’ll particularly cherish long after you wave goodbye to the military.
4. The Network
Your military life will reward you in civilian life through the benefit of your experience, making you a unique asset to any company. Your time in uniform gifts you with an incredibly diverse network from your very first day in your new job. While you may never regain the camaraderie of the military, you do retain the contacts, all over Australia and in many different industries. It’s an invaluable tool not to be taken for granted, especially when you are fresh out of service and need all the support you can get.
To find out how you can take the leap and transition from the military to the civilian workforce, email your resume to Steph at [email protected] or get in touch with a specialist Defence Industry consultant by calling 02 9492 7500.
By Emily Small