What Role is Best for You After You Leave the Forces?

September 27, 2023

If you want to carry on working after you leave the forces, you have the option of applying for a role within a company, starting your own business (which may also involve training for a new career) and/or volunteering.

If you like the way things work in the forces, then some of the best companies to work for after you leave may be those who employ other ex forces personnel. As a result you, will generally find similar work ethics and standards that you have been used to. It’s also not uncommon for a mate to recommend you for a role in a company they are working at and this works really well.

As a former member of the Armed Forces, you will be used to performing at your best and serving overseas will have honed your combat mentality; it’s about being flexible, creative and open minded. You have learnt to detach and problem solve by re-evaluating quickly. You can often spot issues before they might occur, but you can also see more opportunities. De-briefing with your team and commanding officer after a mission, regardless of its outcome, is a norm; it’s about being open and honest, both individually and as a unit. These are all very valuable skills to any employer.

For those of us who choose to start up a small business, there are no manuals; we educate ourselves from others, providing we are open to this and thereafter by learning from our own experiences and mistakes. It can be a lonely path, but at the end of the day, you are accountable only to yourself. As former President Truman used to say: the buck stops here.

As a SME owner, it’s also really important to develop certain skills that make you more resilient and perhaps the best ones are learning to walk away from what does not serve you and no longer allowing yourself wound up by the behaviour of those with low self esteem, however high up they might be in an organisation you are dealing with.

However it can be too easy to allow the actions and behaviour of certain people in the workplace to impact us in a negative way. When you have tried pointing out where things can be improved /need to change and people take what you say defensively, their only recourse is usually to point the figure at you.

Which makes you then want to stand up for yourself and try to show them where the problems (which they have often caused themselves) stem from and the whole thing just escalates because they then go behind your back to recruit others. If someone can’t accept they have listed the wrong price on a website or that they haven’t updated it for 3 months, words fail me. Clearly the fact that you have pointed this out means that you have a vendetta against them; bad person, you should have kept your mouth shut !

Teams rarely work when some of the people involved want it to be solely about them: they may make it seem like a group discussion, but in the end if they don’t get their way, it’s distressing to them and they will react.

Community projects sometimes attract those with low egos /a high degree of self importance. Once established, these individuals will actively recruit volunteers to join the group, for no more reason that they crave having people around them. They also need to maintain control on the team and feature in social media -so easy to spot them in any local press photographs – they will be the one in the middle!

If any behaviour in the workplace irritates, you need to be able to control it to minimise the impact it has on your life. This can be hard to do when it’s a source of your family’s income, because you may feel that pointing negative behaviour out with have an impact on your employment. On the other hand, you may be lucky and find that others are experiencing the same concerns and together, this can be raised for action.

You could put yourself forward for another project within the company or otherwise reduce your interactions with staff you cannot work alongside in a positive way.

But sometimes, the only option is to move on; your mental and personal life are more important in the long run and you can’t take the problems home with you. Leaving also opens the door to new opportunities that would not have been possible if you had stayed where you were.

What problems at work have you encountered since you left the Forces ? Is there anything we can help with?





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