A year after the military

Why so serious, me?

It’s been about a year after I “retired” from the military. I feel I always have to emphasize this point because, as I’ve said before, you don’t so much retire as you do transition from being in the military to NOT being in the military. When you get used to that kind of job security, you tend to get a sort of culture shock (socio-economic shock!) hits you with the reality that it’s not that secure out in the civilian world. I still struggle with unemployment, although admittedly, it has less to do with my job marketability than it does my desire to “change careers” as it were. I worked in military intelligence for about half my enlistment, and aircraft maintenance in the other. While I wouldn’t mind going back to data analysis, I’ll be damned if I have lay hands on another plane again, or even manage the salty gearheads that work on them. I don’t think I’ve reached that point of desperation . . . yet. I am fortunate to have the advantages that I have as a military veteran, but I do ponder at times that they are not without conditions, and that I cannot help to be beholden by them. It’s almost as if my situation is a series of double-edged swords.

image from wiki.c2.com

I was fortunate enough to leave my last job with some semblance of dignity (and sanity) but now I’m in need of another one in order to better provide for my family. I was told that, as a veteran, I’d have all the resources I’d need to find another job in the real world. And they were right. There are websites, workshops, counselors and programs a plenty to get you started. In fact, I’m getting paid to go to school. And that’s great. But, I’ll refer again to that double edged sword. if I choose not to go to school, I lose out on the money I’m given, of which a majority of I use for all my bills and expenses. And, while I do have those venues to lead me back into employment, it’s directed more towards the same occupations and positions that drove me to “retire” early in the first place. There’s a reason why enlisted military is rated as the most stressful job 5 years running, and for obvious reasons, I’m not privy to go walking that same path to burnout.

Perhaps I’m being too presumptuous in my decisions. Maybe my outlook on this need not be as grim as I’m making it to be. Should I just bite the bullet and go back to maintenance? Well, I still get shudders at the thought so, nope! But, every time I look at my shrinking bank account, my mentality is shifting ever so farther from “nope” and ever so closer to “eh, maybe.” I keep telling myself the next time I get paid to do something, 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. I shouldn’t be though. I believe I’ve mentally and emotionally recovered enough to the point where I am able to 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) but 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.

And try not to make this face whenever I land an actual interview.

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