I don’t miss the military life for one second. Ok, maybe I do sometimes. It’s been about a year since I “retired,” and I still have no regrets. I feel I always have to emphasize this point because, as I’ve said before, it isn’t a retirement but rather a transition from being in to NOT being in. The culture shock hit me hard when I realized that job security didn’t exist in the civilian world. To this day, I still struggle with finding employment. But, it has less to do with my job marketability than it does my desire to “change careers.”
I worked in intelligence for about half my enlistment and aircraft maintenance in the other. While I don’t mind going back to the former, I’m sure as hell in NOT wanting to do the latter. I don’t think I’ve reached that point of desperation . . . yet. I’m thankful for being a veteran, but they weren’t without conditions I couldn’t help being accountable to. It’s almost as if my situation was a series of double-edged swords.
I was fortunate enough to leave the military with some semblance of dignity (and sanity). But then I needed another to better provide for my family. As a veteran, they told me I’d have everything I’d need to find another job in the real world. And, they were right. Multiple organizations have websites, workshops, online communities, and programs to aid vets like me.
In fact, The U.S. Veterans Affairs paid me to go to school. And that was great, as long as I met the requirements. If I failed or decided school wasn’t for me, I’d lose that pay, most of which I use for all my bills and expenses. And while I did have other resources to guide me back into employment, their focus was towards the same occupations and positions that drove me to “retire” early in the first place. There’s a reason why the enlisted military is rated as the most stressful job five years running, and for obvious reasons, I’m not privy to go walking that same path to burnout.
Perhaps I’m too presumptuous in my decisions. Maybe my outlook on this need not be as grim as I’m making it to be. Should I bite the bullet and go back to aircraft maintenance? Well, I still get shudders at the thought, so, nope! But, every time I look at my shrinking bank account, my mind starts to shift farther from “nope” to “eh, maybe.”
The next time I get paid to do something, I keep telling myself it’ll be for something I enjoy (hell, I’ll settle for mild contentment at this point). That’s looking like less and less the case, and it worries me. Sometimes, I wonder if I should’ve stayed in the military. Thankfully, I come back to my senses. I believe I’ve mentally and emotionally recovered enough to the point where I can take to task whatever challenges I’m presented with to the best of my ability. But, I’d like to do that with something I like, like what I’m doing right now . . . writing.
In the meantime, I’ve been doing what most “recruitment gurus” suggest NOT to do, and that is rapid-fire copies of my resume to any and every online job posting that Linkedin and Facebook think I’m a match for. I’m pretty sure it’s counterproductive, and there are better, more efficient ways of approaching the job market (as in the many job fairs I apply to but always chicken out of at the last minute). Still, perhaps when I get desperate enough (as in my bank account starts dipping to critical, poverty-inducing levels), then I might just go about it in that smarter and less stupid way.