It’s probably the desire of most of us to remain in the job that’s comfortably familiar to us. We know the ins and outs, what’s expected and required, and how to navigate the social and political landscape that is the military. But sooner or later the job ends and you need to have prepared an ‘exit strategy’.
There are dozens of different transition scenarios that could be discussed, including involuntary, health related, reduction in forces, etc., but the most common are:
– Transition at retirement
– Transition beyond retirement
It’s not a matter of IF you stay or go, but rather WHEN.
Most will agree that having control of your destiny is one of the most powerful feelings we can enjoy, so in order to better prepare your ‘exit strategy’ it’s important to know your choices, options, and opportunities.
But before you begin the process you absolutely need to take full stock of your situation and at discuss the future with your companion, partner, or family. The next step in the process is to conduct a budget assessment. How much do you have coming in, how much do you have going out. Use this simple Budget Planner Calculator to give you a rough estimate of where you stand.
Whether your debt free or not, deciding to transition still requires a leap of faith. You will largely be leaving what you know and landing in the less known, which is why it’s vital to research, research, research, then go!
I recall a speaker explain how eagles teach their young to fly and was struck by how similar it is for we as humans to venture into the unknown. Typically an eagles nest is built using thorns and briers as its base and foundation. This is a lot like growing up or maturing through difficulties in our lives. In fact, if it were not for the thorns in our lives, we wouldn’t have the level of appreciation we have for the blooms of prosperity, health, ease, and success we enjoy.
The eagles nest is built at the highest most inaccessible place they can find for miles, and is subsequently covered with comfortable nesting materials, on which to comfort the egg. During the first few months of the newborn eagle’s life, they are cared for much like any other bird, but as the eagle matures the parents begin tearing apart the nest – moving from the rear of the nest toward the front (cliff facing). As the nest disintegrates the young eagle is forced to move away from the thorns and toward the edge where they eventually fall from the nest and learn to fly.
Relative to our government service it is inherent in us to feel compelled to move on, and rarely need to be edged out. But the difference is in the compelling; is it an internal feeling or sense, or an external force?
When we decide to transition, is it because we have grown beyond the boundaries of what the current position has to offer, or because we are no long physically and mentally capable of working at the same degree of competent we once were. Or, is it simply because we recognize that there is a time for ease after an arduous work life? The reasons varied, but the goal is the same – to do something we find meaning in.
1) Is our transition internally or externally motivated?
2) Do the pros of transitioning outweigh the cons of remaining?
3) Will the transition ultimately improve my life, my family, my health, my resources, relationships, etc., in some tangible way that staying will not?
If you have the choice, keep the options in your favor, consider how the transition will benefit you first, then others. This isn’t a nod to selfishness, but an acknowledgement that if you’re not satisfied with you, you can not truly help to satisfy others.
Take your first, second, and third steps toward a smoother, less anxiety ridden transition by preparing your plan today. Even if you don’t finish it today, if you get started today, then you’ll be that much more prepared for your tomorrow.
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