Get ready to cue your inner sloth, Veteran. Summer means a vacation from worrying about military transition, because nothing is really happening in job-hunt land.
Hiring managers can barely think about getting to work in this heat, much less pick someone else to join the group. The entire human resources (HR) department seems like it is on permanent vacation. At least until September. Does that mean active-duty service members, veterans and spouses can take the rest of the season off, too?
Surprisingly, you can. You did not think I was going to say that, did you? As Military.com’s transition master coach, I see a lot of value in backing off the usual grind. Instead, this is a really good time of year to do the kind of nonwork that truly moves your military transition and job hunt forward.
Here are some fun things you can do in the most slothful way that will make all the difference:
1. Let Introverts Rule.
Introverted veterans are different from extroverts in job-hunt world. Instead of urging veterans to “get out there” and network with hordes of strangers this summer, we have found it is an advantage to you on the job hunt to “stay in here” using your introverted strengths.
This summer, stay home and catch our newest master class, The Introvert Advantage: How Introverts Can Beat Extroverts to the Job Offer, on Thursday, July 20, 2023, at 4 p.m. Eastern. Sign up today.
2. Take Leave.
Practice being a civilian and take some leave this summer. Ignore the urge to save it for terminal leave. Too often, service members get so nervous about missing a job opportunity that they postpone the vacation they wanted and go straight into another job instead. Six months later, they wonder why they were in such a hurry to get back to work. Take the leave this summer and actually have the rest (and romance?) you need.
3. Take a Road Trip with Your Spouse.
Strange things happen on a road trip, especially to military couples. If you and your spouse are PCSing this summer, road-tripping to visit the in-laws or just headed out to the beach, prepare for some of the best transition work of your life. Something about sitting next to each other (not across from each other) encourages people to open up.
Talk about where you want to live. How you want your work life to work. What you want in your post-military life besides work. Talk about your spouse’s work life, your forever house, that funny spot on your scalp that you think is growing. This is the stuff dreams are made of, Kid.
4. Hit the Brewery.
The trend toward outdoor breweries, wineries and independent coffee bars gives you a low-key reason for a meet-up. Invite friends who recently left the military to get together with you to try out one of these outdoor spots. If the subject of transition comes up (and it will), be ready to ask a few questions. Try out our perfect questions.
5. Take a Personality Test.
Military transition is a great time to take a personal inventory. Try one of these 14 Best Career Aptitude Tests for the military. Or pick up one of my favorite career books of all time, “Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type“.
6. Take a Sloth Day.
Let’s face it: The pace of summer is slower. Friday afternoons are particularly a drag. Get in step with corporate America by introducing summer hours. I call it a sloth day. Put away your military work. Pour an ice tea. Get out your phone and make a few calls about transition. Schedule your medical appointments. It is all good.
7. Send the Kids to Camp.
Not every military couple has kids at home, but if you do, try to find some kid-free time in your summer. Even if it is just a weekend, you need some time to talk when their young ears (and young fears) are not around. If you haven’t set this up already, look at some free or discounted military kid camps.
Audiobooks are a gateway to your next profession that do not even require good weather. The DoD Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) library offers a ton of audiobooks and e-books for free. It is one of those military benefits you will want to keep forever.
9. Savor Your Military Life.
This could be your last summer in the military, which might be good news for you. Savor your military life while you are still in the thick of it. Summer is a perfect time to notice the things you love and hate about it. Write them down. For inspiration, check out Robert S. Lanham’s essay, “I Love the Navy.”
10. Take Us with You.
It is not fair that you get to do all the slothful things for transition while we grind away at the Veteran Employment Project. Take us with you and listen to the master classes you missed during your busy winter and spring in our video library.
Military transition can be stressful, but if you do the fun work as diligently as you do the hard work of military life, you may be surprised at how well it all turns out in the end.
Jacey Eckhart is Military.com‘s transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website, SeniorMilitaryTransition.com. Reach her at [email protected].
Find Your Next Job Fast
Transitioning military, veterans and spouses may be qualified for the job, but they are missing the secrets of civilian hiring. Find out everything you need to know with our FREE master class series, including our next class. You can view previous classes in our video library. Questions for Jacey? Visit our Facebook page.