Veteran’s Spotlight: Tips to Ease the Transition to Civilian Life

March 24, 2021

Here at PAC, we value the skillsets and real world experience that veterans bring to the team. Our company was founded by veterans, and to this day, we continue to deliver superior capability to the Defence force thanks in large part to the veterans that comprise 77% of our workforce.

A common pain point that many military service members share is: what comes after this? Preparing for the return to civilian life can be a formidable task for any service member. With that in mind, today we’re sharing a few resources especially for veterans, as well as candid advice straight from some of PAC’s own veteran teammates.

Work Your Network (Yes, You Have One!)

When it comes to reintegrating into the civilian workforce, Nagel Sullivan, PAC’s Director of Aerospace Acquisition and Sustainment Services, emphasizes the importance of early and frequent networking. “Almost everyone I know that transitioned out of the military got their job via some form of networking,” Nagel noted. “Either a referral to a particular company, getting a job that wasn’t even posted anywhere yet, or through introductions through mutual friends.”

Networking doesn’t always have to mean attending formal events, either. In a world that’s booming with inauthentic noise, a simple text to an old shipmate or a neighborhood barbeque are refreshing and sincere ways to maintain and foster your network. Even if you don’t realize it, it’s almost certain that you have established a network outside of defense – in a supporting or similar industry.

Do Things Your Way

On the subject of separation, IT Specialist Darren Goodloe suggests that military service members do so on their own terms. “Nobody can stay in the military forever, so don’t wait until you’re forced out,” says Darren. “Do the best you can for yourself and your family while you’re serving, while also planning for civilian life.”

Dan Olvera, a Senior Program Analyst at PAC, found that his new role provided a bridge from his military experience to civilian life. “PAC gives me the opportunity to continue supporting the USN while supporting the RAAF,” Dan shares. “Best of all, I get to work with old friends in the maintenance community and use my career knowledge to work on many of the same problems I was working on before I retired.”

If you’re wrestling with this transition, know that there are myriad resources out there to help you succeed. Be sure to plan for and take advantage of what is offered – capitalize and leverage as much as you can! PAC is proud to be a Pledge Partner of Soldier On, a charitable organization on a mission to enable Australian veterans and their families to thrive. Soldier On offers job connection services, educational programs, and family activities to help them build links to the community.

Purpose Beyond the Uniform

While leaving the military may sound daunting now, know that infinite opportunity awaits you on the other side! Alex Weston, PAC’s Director of Information Dominance and Interoperability, notes that upon separation, he was excited to drive necessary change from within the industry. “PAC empowered me to assist the war-fighter and drive capability change,” says Alex. “It is extremely rewarding to see this technology being fielded and the reaction of Defence operators when using it.”

His civilian role allows Alex to pursue other goals, too. Alex is also a volunteer firefighter and medical first responder in his local community. The flexible framework of his role at PAC has allowed Alex to balance his work and volunteerism in new ways, especially during the 2019-2020 Black Summer Australian Fires and most recently during the floods in New South Wales.

You Aren’t Alone.

In closing, we want to share that if you’re struggling to find your way after military separation, you aren’t alone. Each of our veterans reported some level of discomfort upon separation, whether it be at home, beginning a new career, or simply having to choose an outfit each day now that the uniform has been retired. “It is a monumental leap, and a huge change in life direction,” notes Ben Shepherd, Director of Mission Enabling Services. “This transition takes time; and not everybody will thrive in a new environment immediately.”

Veterans make up the majority of PAC’s workforce. We don’t just understand or empathize with their pain points – it’s our lived experience, too. “PAC bridges the gap by employing veterans who care about the impact of their job,” Ben continues. “For example, many of our staff want to go ‘the extra mile’ because they have a personal relationship with the Defence community; the direct recipients of our work. They understand that PAC success will directly translate into mission success; therefore they approach their roles with the utmost professionalism and care.”

We hope this glimpse into the lives of our veteran teammates has been helpful! If you’re ready to join a team where your experience is valued, visit the Careers page to see open opportunities.

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