Adapting to Civvy Life

Posted on December 7, 2017

The vast majority of us joined the services at a tender age, and the Forces dictate to us how we act and react.  Instilled standards of dress, time-keeping, behaviour, respect remain with us when we depart the Services “Family”, and it is frequently these standards (or rather lack of) that surprise us as we migrate into civilian life and employment.

There many stories of people settling into their new environments, and I certainly found it most frustrating when my new work colleagues did not stick to the agreed deadlines for delivery, and then did not feel the need to even make an excuse for their inaction.

Having worked with ex-Forces people, and supported many in the transition to civvy street, I have enjoyed a number of stories, and this has peaked my curiosity in what others might be out there.  I will share one of my favourites with you here, and claim no knowledge of its source, credibility nor the locale.

As we are all aware, the Forces are well known for a very healthy amount of banter: inter-regiment, inter-branch, inter-service; it’s almost unescapable.  It is something we do, and while many of the comments have some very sharp barbs, our skin has been thickened through the regular onslaught, and we have been desensitised to it, as a part of daily life.  Migrating this to Civvy street does not always end well.  The story is an example.

A guy has left the military, and taken up his new and first role in civilian life.  He works hard at work, let’s say, for the sake of the story, it’s a warehouse.  After a few months he has built some close acquaintances in work, and there is a level of “banter” going on, but nothing as caustic as the Forces.

Further, this guy has not had the regular access to the Camp Gym, nor the enforced exercise and Wednesday sports afternoon.  In brief, he has put on some post service weight, as many do.

One day, one of his acquaintances suggests that he is putting on some “timber”.

 

“I thought you Army guys were supposed to be fit?”

 

“What do you mean?” asks that ex Soldier.

 

“Well, look at you.  In the last four months, you must have slapped on a good stone or so!”

 

“It’s your wife’s fault!” says the Squaddie, “she gives me a biscuit every time I shag her!…”

 

In terms of the Forces banter, a fair retort, but in Civvy St, according to the “myth”, there was an interview without coffee, and a “verbal warning”.

 

What experiences have you had, and what have you heard about?

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