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What are some ways to transition from military to civilian work teams?

Posted in Transitioned Military Officer on February 14, 2012
There are (2) comments permalink


Jay, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, after serving his time in the military, returned to civilian life and joined corporate America.  Jay was happy with military life, with the camaraderie and always feeling like he fit in.  However, he was not fulfilled in his career and wanted to find a leadership position in civilian business.  Jay took a job working for a large do-it-yourself retailer in their management program and worked toward his MBA.  He did not feel like he fit in despite his ambition to be part of the team.  He took a job at another company in business development, was promoted several times but still felt unsettled.  He did not feel like he got sufficient feedback, felt excluded from office dialog and did not like the fake politicking that occurred around him.  He was starting to think he did not fit in anywhere; feeling very isolated and uncomfortable discussing it with people at work.

  • What can Jay do at work to feel like he is part of the team?  
  • What can he do, if anything, to receive the kind of feedback he needs?  
  • Are there any support groups Jay can contact to discuss his concerns?

Comments (2)

amazingleaders posted on: April 18, 2012

The best transition help is to network with others who have gotten out too.

djw2012 posted on: March 31, 2012

The biggest support group I could recommend is to network and stay in touch with those you worked with in the military. They are a good source of "sanity check" and you can at least ask them if you have lost your mind somewhere along the way.

At work, being part of the team certainly means something different than it did in the military. If you can find other military that helps.

Regarding feedback I would suggest a candid sit down with your supervisor and having a candid conversation about what you are used to and that you would appreciate some formal feedback on a consistent basis. This doesn't need to be a document, but a scheduled sit down to get some candid thoughts/comments.

Also, to the extent you can find a "mentor" to help guide you through corporate America it can be a great resource.

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Do you feel comfortable as a member of your civilian work team?