Career Transition Tips # 2- Start Early
We understood the importance of accepting the change from military to corporate in our previous article( click here). In this second article of this five series articles, we will understand the importance of starting early and what role it plays in the seamless transition to civil world. But before that, An exercise we all must do is to find out the right time to hang your boots. This will not only bring clarity to your thought process and allow you to prepare better for your second career but it will also prevent you from taking knee-jerk decisions during transition. We have adequately discussed the ways to find the right time to hang your boots. ( click here and here ).
In military whenever we’re assigned with a mission or task, we generally execute the task in a meticulous and organized manner, applying time, effort and skills in ensuring the success of it. However, we don’t apply the same process when it comes to planning our career post retirement from military; rather planning for career transition is given the least priority in our scheme of things. Why do you have to wait till the last day to see a career possibility outside. Why don’t you start preparing your career transition diligently when you have about two plus years to retire. Although it looks like a very general point, however, if executed properly, it will pay you rich dividends in terms of progressive career and high salaried job opportunities. Starting early will place you in an unimaginable comfort zone much ahead of your counterparts who started late. One analogy that has been most commonly heard across the board in military is that there is a lot of time in the transition and one must live in the present. This wrong analogy is the reason why many of us don’t get successful at the first hand in the corporate world and it increases the difficulties of the challenges faced by military leaders during career transition( click here) . Why we didn't apply the same analogy while preparing for staff college or some similar exams for which we start preparing a year plus in advance. Preparing for career transition is no different than preparing for staff college exams. Let’s see the disadvantages of not planning your career early:-
- Unaware about the most suitable career at the time of transition, high probability of choosing the wrong career path.
- Lack of knowledge about the industry and the current practices in corporate.
- Lack of corporate munitions such as professional certifications/GMAT score.
- Poor networking in corporate.
- Unaware of the right practices for job search.
- Difficulty in transformation from military to corporate and problems in translating skills
- Extremely stressful career transition.
Having realized that starting late is an extremely wrong decision and having found out the right time to hang your boots, The question arises in our mind is what is the right time to start your preparation. The ideal time to start with serious preparation for your second career will vary from individual to individual as those who have been well connected with the corporate world, into reading about the industry practices, and networking with the right connections in corporate will probably require less time than those who have restricted their vision to four walls of military compartment. Ideally one must retouch with the lost civilian connections irrespective of the years left in transition. Networking is the most important tool now a days for finding the right job and therefore it pays to network with the right set of people. As a broad guideline, starting two years before your retirement will provide you the right start for your second career. Again, It is important that we keep our-self abreast with the issues of career switch, know the latest trends in market, and gain knowledge pertaining to your selected domain as much as possible and not wait for last two years.
Starting early has overwhelming benefits and it gives adequate time to you to choose the right career path, gain knowledge and certifications about that career, prepare and give GMAT for MBA, network with the right people, and exercise the right job hunting practices. If you have time for your career transition, a career counseling can help you in finding the right career and how to employ your efforts in the right direction, resulting in a successful career transition( click here). To read the second article of this five article series, click here