Be Realistic About Post-Military Job

Interesting Things About Your First Post-Military Job

Amongst the many people I talk to over the course of a day, there are certain groups. New to the military, new parents, mid-career, nearing retirement, recently separated, each group has some unique concerns.

At any given time, there is a significant group of people who are thinking about what life is going to look like when they leave the military. Whether it is a 22-year-old sailor who isn’t re-enlisting, or a 54-year-old Marine facing mandatory retirement, most of them plan to continue working after leaving the military. From their comments, and the research done on the subject, two things are clear. If you’re also thinking about a  post-military job, understanding these two items may make the process a little easier.

It Takes Time

Many separating service members are surprised at how long it takes to find a job. We’ve all heard stories about friends or colleagues who leave a job in uniform on Friday and return to the same job in civilian clothes on Monday. While that makes a great story, it’s pretty rare. Even when starting to job hunt months before separation, many veterans don’t have a job when they leave the military, and the job search can take months.  The process can be further complicated if you’re leaving the military from a remote or overseas location, if you have a specific geographic area in mind, or if you are looking for employment that may be subject to rules about how quickly a veteran can be hired.

You May Change Jobs Soon Anyway

The statistics are surprising. In a study conducted by the Institution for Veterans and Military Families, 43% veterans left their first job after less than 12 months of employment, with an additional 22% changing jobs in the second year of work. The average amount of time in the first job was 25 months. After years working for the same organization, many retirees think that they are searching for another long-term position. Understanding that the average civilian changes jobs every 4.4 years impacts the way you search for and select jobs. You’re not always searching for a “forever” job, you may just be searching for a job, or a job that meets certain characteristics, or a job that will help you work your way into the next job.

If you’re looking for a post-military job, or just starting to think about job hunting, be sure to check out’s Veterans Employment Center.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.