Post Military Careers

Which Military Habits Should Veterans Keep or Reexamine in Their Post-Military Careers?  

Transitioning from military service to the civilian realm is a significant, and challenging, milestone for veterans. Military experience instills a unique set of qualities and values that can be both beneficial and challenging in the post-military career landscape. While some habits may seamlessly translate to success in the civilian workplace, others may need to be adapted or left behind.

Explore the military habits veterans should consider refining, as well as those they might want to discard, in order to thrive in their new professional endeavors.

I. Keeping Leadership and Teamwork

One of the habits veterans should hold onto is their leadership and teamwork skills. Teamwork is the backbone of every military operation, and effective leadership can make a life-or-death difference to a situation. In the civilian world, these qualities are just as essential for workers to excel. They are also a primary reason that companies hire veterans. Employers value candidates who can lead by example, collaborate effectively, and inspire their teams to realize common goals. Veterans can leverage their experience to excel in managerial positions, fostering a culture of excellence and discipline.

II. Adapting Communication Styles

While clear and concise communication is a must in the military, veterans should be cautious about directly translating military jargon and acronyms into their post-military careers. In the civilian world, communication styles differ, and excessive use of military terminology may alienate colleagues and clients. Veterans should adapt their communication to be more inclusive, avoiding jargon while maintaining the directness and professionalism they acquired during their service.

III. Maintaining Discipline and Punctuality

In the military, punctuality and adherence to deadlines are ingrained in the culture. These habits are equally vital in civilian careers, where meeting deadlines and being punctual reflects reliability and professionalism. Veterans should continue to prioritize time management and self-discipline, setting an example for their colleagues and ensuring success in their new roles.

IV. Letting Go of the “Command and Control” Mentality

Hierarchical “command and control” structures not only work well in the military = they are also the norm. However, they may not prove as effective in the civilian workplace. In the corporate world, decision-making often requires collaboration and input from various stakeholders. Veterans should be open to a more democratic approach, embracing teamwork and seeking diverse perspectives to arrive at well-informed decisions.

V. Embracing Flexibility and Adaptability

The military teaches adaptability in the face of rapidly changing situations, and this skill can be a game-changer in any career. However, veterans must be mindful not to let rigidity hamper adaptability. In the civilian workplace, being open to change, learning new skills, and embracing innovation are vital for personal and professional growth. Flexibility allows veterans to thrive in diverse environments and navigate through challenges with ease.

VI. Managing Stress and Resilience

Veterans often face high-stress situations during their service, and learning to manage stress is an essential skill. However, the stressors in the civilian world may differ significantly. While veterans should retain their ability to handle pressure, they should also develop strategies to cope with new stressors specific to their post-military careers. Building resilience and seeking support when needed will help veterans maintain a healthy work-life balance and achieve sustainable success.

VII. Balancing Independence and Collaboration

Independence is a key trait in the military, in which soldiers must think on their feet and take initiative. In civilian careers, striking a balance between independence and collaboration is crucial. Veterans should embrace teamwork, sharing ideas and resources, while continuing to demonstrate their ability to work autonomously when necessary. Finding this equilibrium enhances productivity and fosters positive working relationships.

VIII. Leaving Behind the “Always Mission First” Mindset

Dedication to the mission is ingrained in every soldier, but in the civilian world, it’s essential to find a balance between work and personal life. While the military often demands the sacrifice of personal time for the greater good, veterans should prioritize self-care and create boundaries in their post-military careers. A healthy work-life balance is vital for long-term success and overall well-being.


Transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce opens up new opportunities and challenges for veterans. Retaining valuable military habits such as leadership, teamwork, discipline, and adaptability can lead to thriving careers. On the other hand, adapting communication styles, embracing flexibility, and finding a balance between independence and collaboration are essential to excel in the corporate world.

By identifying what to keep and what to divest, and with a little help and guidance from their military spouses, veterans can leverage their unique skills and experiences to make a meaningful impact in their post-military careers. Embracing these changes will undoubtedly make their journey from battlefields to boardrooms both successful and fulfilling.

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