Ma’am to Mrs

A career transition journey from Military to Civilian

Defining Personal Values and Drivers — 14th Jun 2021

Defining Personal Values and Drivers

I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values, and follow my own moral compass, then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.

Michelle Obama

In a response to one of my previous posts about completing self-awareness and trying to discover ‘who’ I really am, I was very kindly advised to consider working on discovering and understanding my values (thank you Sara Smalley).

This reminded me of one of the first exercises I completed on the CTP Website when I first logged in over a year ago. Since I hadn’t properly engaged with my transition at that point, I didn’t really understand what this meant or why I was doing it. So I thought I’d go back and take another look to fully understand my values and drivers. The following are the main points I picked out from that exercise:

  • Loyalty, Integrity, Honesty
  • Alignment with Organisational Values
  • Teamwork & Collaboration – There were a number of divers that fell into this scope, such as good working relationships.
  • Learning & Development, knowledge & helping others
  • Autonomy – to work to my own methods, having manageable stress levels & Life Balance
  • Challenge, Variety, Fulfillment, Achievement

What does this mean? Well, many of the military ethos values and standards are there – and why shouldn’t they be? Who doesn’t want loyalty, integrity and honesty from an organisation that they’re going to devote their time and energy to? These are comfortable for me – as well as the majority of service leavers I would hope. We have an expectation that these values will be present wherever we are and therefore an immediate and innate trust in the organisation which we will work tirelessly towards.

This leads into an alignment with organisational values – if you don’t agree with something that the company stands for at it’s core, why would you want to work for them (and vice-versa of course)? This is why it’s important to research the company you’re applying for. Ensure you’re clear on their values and that you feel you can help them achieve their goals.

Teamwork, collaboration, good working relationships are essential to me. I’ve spent years practicing these things and I’ve also had the displeasure of experiencing a broken team and awful, toxic working relationships. The latter was incredibly distressing for me and my well-being I really suffered – I know for certain how important this is to me and I won’t sacrifice it for anything.

Learning & development opportunities, knowledge building and helping others is also a very important value for me. I love to learn, develop myself and apply this to my workplace. I also enjoy affording opportunities to others and take great pleasure in seeing others succeed in their goals. I firmly believe that we are here to develop the next generation to take over and exceed us. I’ve worked with people who have clung on to their knowledge, making themselves a single point of failure and refusing to pass their knowledge on. It’s very frustrating to work with and they’re not remembered particularly fondly.

Having the autonomy to work to my own methods, employing manageable stress levels and creating a life balance is also something that I’ve come to realise I enjoy. I have very good organisational skills and have no problems working to deadlines – just don’t micro-manage me or insist I work a specific way. I know when my stress levels are up as I start to miss things, which adds to the stress levels. Being able to de-stress at the end of the day and spend time with the family should (I believe) be on everyone’s to do list. Don’t get me wrong, I work incredibly hard when I’m in work, but I rarely have to stay late – and I really don’t want to.

Finally, having a varied, challenging role which makes me feel fulfilled and gives me a sense of achievement (in whatever form that may be) sounds like bliss.

This feels like a good start and gives me something to look for when I’m looking to match my values to an organisations, thank you again for pointing me in this direction, it’s been a great exercise to complete with more understanding of why I’m doing it – and it makes feel feel proud to acknowledge these as my values and drivers.

My Career Transition Activity – May 2021 — 10th Jun 2021

My Career Transition Activity – May 2021

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.

Abigail Adams

Wow – I can’t believe it’s the end of May already! I knew it would, but the time is going so fast!

I’m finally settling on one area that I would really like to focus on for my next career, which is something that I’ve been trying to work on recently. I’ve had a couple of threads that I had pulled out of my first round of self-reflection, but having then concentrated on those two, I now know that I want to solidly commit to joining the Learning and Development community.

How have I come to this decision? Well really it’s thanks to the CIPD L5 Diploma in L&D that I’m currently undertaking. I’ve learned so much already and have been fascinated by the course content, which has inspired me to research models, strategies and techniques that I’d only previously been vaguely aware of (or not at all) or didn’t have a name for. It’s been a great realisation that I really love this form of work, which I didn’t realise was so closely linked to coaching as well, which someone very kindly suggested I look into. This all seems to fit into the natural way in which I’ve undertaken my path so far – I have a desire to always be learning and the prospect of helping others develop themselves to be the best that they can be is incredibly appealing.

Whilst completing a recent assignment for my course, I came across Insights Discovery & Colour Types in which I discovered that I was classified as a ‘helper’, which is a mix of the green and yellow personality types. It also explained that I had the following characteristics: Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Thinking. For me, this helped me realise that whilst I am introverted, I have the ability to think like an extravert. This makes sense to me in that I am writing this blog and putting myself ‘out there’ on LinkedIn. I’ve always had really great and positive comments about my ability to communicate and build communication networks etc. I tend to do this online rather than face to face, which leans towards the introvert side – I’m fascinated by this!

Anyway, I’ve also been busy doing other things this month. I’ve taken up some of the events on the CTP website.

The first one of the month was the Transition to Teach event. This was really interesting and included a number of ex-forces personnel who had made the transition following this pathway.

The next one was my very first Employment Fair. There were a large number of companies here, some which I recognised and some that I didn’t. I was really nervous attending this – especially when I went into rooms and I was the only one there so I had to converse with people! CTP very handily sent out a document beforehand detailing the industry, role types and locations that all of the companies were involved in, so I at least had a clue about what I wanted to ask. This additional document helped me to pick out the ones that would be in my location and figure out whether we were suited to each other.

A third event I attended was the Women in the Military event held Eloise Cheales This was really interesting and very inspiring. There were a number of ex-service personnel present, who had left at varying ranks and stages of their careers. They discussed their journey’s so far and were available afterwards for a Q&A session.

Next, I undertook the LinkedIn Masterclass held by trishmullen via the Forces Transition Group – FTG. I would say that this has provided me with the most value so far in my journey – bearing in mind that I’m not actively looking for work at this point. The key takeaways from this for me was surrounding connections, posting content, keywords, things to post about and general advice to get yourself out there.

Since this masterclass and the realisation that I want to go into the L&D industry, my LinkedIn presence, learning and connections have increased massively. The posts I now see are focused towards L&D, I’ve either followed or connected with leaders in the industry and commented on their posts – which I would never have done before – and I’ve found them nothing but helpful and positive (rather than patronising and dismissive as I’d previously assumed they might).

Due to the work I’ve put in to my transition so far and the fantastic support of John Stephenson , I’ve been asked to participate in some amazing things – all of which will be coming up soon!

I’ve learned a lot in May 21 and I’m really looking forward to June!

5 Steps for Transitioning Military Personnel — 4th May 2021

5 Steps for Transitioning Military Personnel

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

George Eliot

Coming to the end of your military career is daunting, no matter how long you have served. Thankfully the Military have put into place some great steps to help all service personnel through their resettlement period. The terms of this help depends on your length of service and I can only really speak from my own experience of having served (almost) 24-years.

The following are the first few bits of help that I have received and am grateful for so far. Some of these are provided by the military, but others I’ve sought out myself.

  1. Meeting with a Resettlement Officer
  2. Pension Society Membership
  3. Career Transition Partnership Website
  4. Career Transition Workshop & Careers Advisor
  5. LinkedIn Contacts

Meeting the Resettlement Officer

I didn’t have to make a move to start the resettlement process, it kicked in 2 years to the day. JPA asked me for contact details and the Resettlement Officer was in touch very quickly. When my Resettlement period began, we were a couple of weeks into the first COVID-19 lockdown out in Cyprus. I wasn’t put off, I’d been waiting for this time for a while now. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to meet her face to face, but we had a really helpful talk through the process and entitlements that I’d receive over the next 2 years.

This was really good to know – I hadn’t really taken much notice previously so was really grateful to have it all spelled out to me; leave I’d be entitled to above my individual leave allowance for courses and termination time to sort out my final move etc. I also discovered I was entitled for some money towards training and development for my next role.

I was still 2 years out at this point but found it really helpful to have an understanding of these things and appreciated not being left to figure it out for myself. It was explained at the end that I would need to register with the CTP and to expect a call from them in the future regarding attendance of a workshop.

Membership of the Forces Pension Society

The next thing I decided to do was look at the Pension Society. Again, it’s not something I had really concentrated on as I’d floated through my career, but now needed to have an understanding of what to expect. Especially with the McCloud Hearing and the potential disruption that could cause to projected figures etc. I’ve not had a lot to do with them so far, but as I get closer, I envisage I’ll be in touch with them to ensure that everything I receive is correct and ties together.

Career Transition Partnership Website

Upon receipt of the brief by the Resettlement Officer, I was given access to the CTP website and created my login. The site is really helpful I find that I check back regularly. There is access to industry specific information, jobs, training, workshops and events plus much more. There is also career assessment tools, which can help you to bring out your strengths and preferences. You can also utilise the CV builder within the site and much, much more.

Career Transition Workshop

This was a real eye opener for me and I’m so pleased I did it. It was a 3-day course with Amy Campbell from the CTP. We covered all parts of the CV and interview techniques as well as receiving a really helpful handbook and going over LinkedIn profiles. The most impactful part for me was identifying transferrable skills. After my meltdown a few months earlier about having no transferrable skills, I was really pleased to be able to come up with a number of ways my skills can be used in the outside world and boosted my confidence no end. Almost immediately after the course, I received a call from my new Careers Advisor Leigh Stobbs, who advised me about the ways in which he can help. The first thing to do was use the information from the CTW to create my first CV in over 20 years, which we could then bounce between ourselves and tailor it appropriately towards the civilian market – no mean feat!

LinkedIn Contacts

Again, this was not included in the ‘official’ offerings, but it becomes apparent very quickly that LinkedIn is a hugely important factor for any person looking to transition, grow their visibility and learn how to network. We went over the site during the CTW and were given a number of helpful hints to tailor your profile. Whilst I’d had a profile before, I never really used it properly as I didn’t need to, but now it was apparent that it would be an important part of whatever future path I take. Whilst searching around I came across a guy called John Stephenson and his company, the Forces Transition Group. After taking a look at their website and reading some of the articles and information posted I liked what I saw and decided to get in touch. John has since been a massive help by providing CV advice, webinars, links to others as well as general confidence building.

Other things to consider

The CTP website offers Housing briefs and Financial briefs for those who are interested – I’ve not attended any of these yet so I can’t really comment.

I’ll go more in depth into the things I’ve learnt from the CTW and from the FTG in a later post, but I’d definitely say that these are the first steps to take once you reach your resettlement window and that HM Forces have set up a good automatic system to ensure that nobody is left out of the process. At the end of the day, it’s always up to the individual whether they choose to act on the information afforded during these offerings, but I’ve found them invaluable for my confidence and self-belief (so far).