Saturday, 31 August 2013


 Right Time To Hang Your Boots; A Career Perspective -II

In our last article, We saw the various challenges faced by military officers at the time of transition; challenges at the career front and personnel front. Click here to read the article. In this article , we will see which all parameters can help these leaders in finding the right time for career switch from military to civil.

While some short service commission officers serve for minimum period of 10  years  and thereafter  call it  a day, many decide to continue till 20 years or ever further. Similarly, Though many regular officers decide to quit immediately after they reckon 20 years of pensionable service  and enter the corporate  environment,
there are many who continue even in re-employment roles in forces.  If you leave too late, in your 50s, The corporate sector may not offer you senior management positions, which you deserve. On the other hand, if you are a SS officer and you leave after  10 years, you may not get well paid opportunities until you do MBA from a top b-school, an option which is worth the Return –On-Investment( ROI). The question that “whether the decision to leave at 10 years is correct or to leave after re-employment is right” cannot be answered generally and is purely a case to case based decision, which depends entirely upon individual personality, preferences, job satisfaction, education, family and financial responsibilities, and  health issues.

 Having seen that there are many general points which are applicable to most of the officers and which require due diligence before taking the call for alternate career. Transitioning from the organized military life to corporate blues is not a decision that one can  take on a fine morning over a cup of tea. It’s one of the most important decision of one’s career and thus demands a lot of analysis, contemplation, thinking and rethinking,  planning and preparation on an individual’s part. Neither it is based on one single factor or another; rather the right time of career switch will be an ideal combination of a number of circumstances that affect your life at larger level. Let’s have a look at the factors which we need to consider while taking the decision.

Career Options
Since we are taking a call about moving from one career to another , it’s important to consider  at which juncture you are standing in your present career, what are your chances of career progression,  if a wait of a year or two in your present career will clear the hazy picture about progression in your present career,  or you find yourself at the crossroads where it’s mandatory to decide whether to stay or move.  If you have been superseded ,you know that future promotions aren’t going to be on your way anymore, and you are not drawing the job satisfaction that you used to draw earlier, It would be wiser and logical  to take the call to hang your uniform  provided there are no major issues such as those mentioned down below. An individual is the best judge of one’s capabilities and, after due deliberation, if one feels that he or she will be a misfit in business world, the better option would be to keep donning the uniform with pride. At the career level, The decision to stay or move out will be based on individual preferences, his or her career progression/growth in the present career or the lack of it, job satisfaction , and individual’s personality.

Family and Financial Responsibilities
Family issues play a major role in our decision making and when the members of the family are themselves at the crucial junctures, the decision to change career becomes even more difficult. If your spouse is at the initial settling down of  her career, or if your kids need to stay at their present location and relocation may have a major impact on their future or if your financial liabilities don’t allow you for a career change for a year or two, then you must take those circumstances in to account while analyzing the decision. If you feel that after two years you are likely to have some major commitments  on personnel  front  and you feel like taking the plunge now, go ahead and take the call. After all it’s one life and you must chase your dream if you have one in corporate or in entrepreneurship. However, if you’re fine and comfortable at both family and financial front, you've completed 20 years of pensionable service and you are willing to take on a challenging task in corporate, you must consider transition immediately rather than a few years later. Why? As I mentioned earlier, age is a major issue for veterans retiring in their 40s and 50s. If you want to reach high in corporate and on the financial aspects , the advantage of pension makes you comfortable, having no other major issues , it’s wiser to take the call early as this way you would be easily absorbed in corporate. Also, It’s pertinent to mention that  the chances of growth increases many folds with a regular MBA degree or an executive MBA from top b-school.

Career Options Outside and Your level of Preparation
There are times when one  knows that after a couple of years  he or she will not have  any choice but to find alternate career. Similarly, those who have decided to leave forces and they still have a few years to go, it is very important to understand the  challenges involved in transition from military to corporate and to see how best they can prepare for a seamless transition into civil.  Thus the right time will also depend upon the level of preparation that one has at the time of leaving forces. If you have brainstormed your next career path well and have kitted yourself with the munitions required to excel in your choice of field, There would be no stopping for you. Suppose  you have decided to do an MBA and you have option to be on extension for some more time, it would make sense to take the extension, clear GMAT, and write essays while still in active service.  Of course, one would be required to make certain arrangements but if planned properly and well executed, these arrangements will turn out to be career boosters for your good.

While there would be a number of issues for consideration such as health issues, or  disabilities, or many other, The above mentioned issues will most probably figure in most of ours life and thus takes priority over others. Even at the sake of repetition, It’s worth mentioning that evaluating the pros and cons, and exploring the options fully or even seeking career counseling will help a long way in arriving at a logical conclusion about the ideal time for transition.

Finding the right time to change career will not only remove the unwanted stress but it will also help you in planning your career post retirement in a much planned and organized manner. Soon we will present a time plan for transition which can help you in planning your transition in a much better way. How did you find the article? Do leave your comments down below to let us know  your views on the same.