Posted on November 24, 2017
So, when do you think that you should start your resettlement? 2 years before departure? 18 Months? 6 months?
Hold that thought!
I have presented on many occasions to serving members of our Armed Forces, and on many occasions, receive the answer that 6 months is sufficient. Applying for jobs before that is pointless, as employers are not interested in waiting long for successful candidates to finish their current role.
While there feels that there is an inarguable logic to this response, I find it so incredibly myopic a view that it is near blind belief!
Follow my thinking here, please indulge me, and see if I can open up the curtains to some possibilities.
Joining the Forces is somewhat of an anomalous career choice, isn’t it? We go to the Career’s Office, and then tend to be put onto a conveyor belt, where many of the choices are made for us in relation to trade, branch, etc. Our age dictated the level at which we joined, our trade dictated the possible rank advancement, our postings supported in determining career advancement and whether or not we enjoyed the trade we were pushed into, this is “all we know”. The corollary is that this then tends to be the maintained trajectory, in the vast majority of cases, when considering our second career upon leaving the Service.
The services provide, by necessity, a very insular employment environment, and this is positive, insofar as it is the founding of the ongoing “friendships” we build and enjoy beyond service, irrespective of whether or not we have served together. However, the insularity of the working environment also engenders a sense of security which is non-existent upon leaving. The insularity also provides the deep sense of security to carry on and keep doing what you’re doing. Time passes, and people tend not to think about leaving their service until around 2 years before they depart (in the mid length (9 – 15 years) careers) and some even closer to their departure date.
The Forces, in response, have done some great work in getting their Trade and role based accreditations reviewed and recognised by civilian equivalent organisations, such that people departing have a recognisable certification. However, if this is not a certification in line with another option on the career spectrum, then it serves little value, other than to demonstrate learning ability. The Forces have further (although sporadically) introduced a Career Management process. Again, some great thinking and foresight, but it is for people that have been fed into the front end of the “sausage machine” and positioned into a trade/role that is required against establishment needs.
How about we upset the applecart a little, and get further foresight into the equation, by providing some free, and readily available process into the recruitment contract, whereby people looking to join the service are not only evaluated on capability, but their needs and wishes are also considered. In so doing, they are put onto a career that they are going to enjoy post service. OK, so there might not be the exact civilian parallel role/career, however, there is enough awareness and software out there to be able to ensure that the Military service becomes less anomalous, and then the second career becomes part of the natural career progressions, albeit with some additional and less savoury experiences.
If our soldiers, sailors and airmen join the Colours with a view to what career they are going into when they leave, then, wouldn’t this decrease the perception that the Forces are an anomalous choice of first career? Might it THEN, just help with the recruitment of people?? Might then, if we can get our politicians to stop prosecuting us for doing the job we were recruited to do, we have a Defence Force that we require??
Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!