What do I do now?
Many Veterans ask themselves that question at some point during their transition from the military. Concluding the chapter of their military service and beginning a new chapter of civilian life can stir up feelings of overwhelm, confusion, and placelessness.
For Women Veterans, those feelings are often more intense.
In fact, two-thirds of Women Veterans describe their experience transitioning from the military as difficult. Many report difficulty accessing resources, connecting with peers, finding a job, and understanding benefits.
But, transitioning from the military can be made easier with the right steps and the right support.
Why Transitioning from the Military is Different for Women
Often, service members hear the cautionary advice to “start early” when they begin their transition process. Transitioning from the military involves participating in TAPS, preparing finances, finding a civilian job, moving (yet again), understanding VA benefits, and more.
A standard rule of thumb advises that service members “start” as much as two years in advance.
But, this process is complex, daunting, overwhelming, and packed with major responsibilities.
For Women Veterans, this process is complicated further by:
- A loss of identity, as the general public doesn’t often recognize their service
- The pressures of childcare, as many are single mothers
- A lack of female-focused resources, as much support was originally designed for a male-dominated military population
But there is hope.
New programs, resources, and legislation have begun to pave the way to ensure Women Veterans transition from the military smoothly and experience post military success.
And, WVIF has been working as a part of the solution for over a decade.
How to Experience a Smooth Transition Process
Recent years have seen an increase in healthcare programs and resources, designed just for Women Veterans.
To start, take the online, self-paced Women’s Health Transition Training. This training familiarizes Women Veterans with women’s health services at VA and how to access them.
Engage in Peer Support
Transitioning from the military is a major life change. You shouldn’t have to go it alone. Find a group of peers or join an organization that supports Women Veterans. Share experiences, ask questions, and learn about resources that can help.
Throughout the year, WVIF members gather to learn, grow, feel empowered and support each other through all stages of our transition experience. Check out our Programs page to learn when programs and events will be held.
Network in Your Niche
Plug yourself into local and national networks that have regular opportunities for networking. This can take place online, in person, or both! When you actively network within circles that interest you, you’ll uncover opportunities for jobs, friends, mentors and more.
Find a Mentor
As you search for a job and a new way of life as a civilian, learning from someone who aligns with your goals, values, and experiences will help.
Think of someone you admire in a career field that interests you. Or, think of a trusted friend and fellow Woman Veteran who is well on her way toward post-military success. Ask for her help as you navigate the hiring market, take steps through the transition process, and settle into civilian life.
Pursue Training Opportunities
As a Woman Veteran, you have tons of valuable skills and experiences to offer any workspace. If you feel like additional training would fill in gaps or enhance your marketability even more, go for it.
Access training resources to help you prepare for job applications or build your own business. You can even use education benefits to advance your education in a targeted way.
🌟 Trust in Yourself 🌟
As a Woman Veteran, you’ve seen and accomplished more in your active service years than most people have in a lifetime. While the road through transition might not be easy, it IS accomplishable.
So push through challenges, remember what you’re made of, and get on your way to empowered, post-military success!