What It’s Like to Transition Off Active Duty (In GIFs)
As of November 1, 2020, National Veterans Intermediary (NVI) is called the Local Partner Network. Older content may reference our original name.
At NVI, we love to talk about “user experience” (check out any of our previous blogs here, here, or here on the topic). Part of user experience is perspective taking, or walking a mile in your user’s shoes. To that end, we’re inviting you to join us on an emotional rollercoaster full of anticipation, promise, disappointment, and resilience. Welcome to the life of one transitioning veteran.
Part I: Getting Out
Your separation request has been approved. This is happening. It’s really happening.
You get a date for TAP (now Transition GPS) and don your finest (OK, only) business casual duds (or, if you’re me, drop some serious coin at Ann Taylor Loft because you own no business casual attire). Turns out you clean up alright!
Welcome to your Transition GPS. Cue three-to-five days of sipping from a proverbial firehose full of PowerPoint presentations. Job search, interviewing, benefits (oh my). Not exactly how a soon-to-be veteran spends every single day for umpteen years until this day, but onward.
To be fair, you’re also guided through exercises like a financial wellness worksheet that alerts you that, without BAH, life’s going to be tough.
Then, you get to the section on labor market information and find out (shock, horror) that your hometown has precisely zero jobs matched to your career field. Guess it’s time to consider your soft skills…
At the end of the program, you’ve got a signed transition plan that says you know what you’re going to do and you’re clear on how you’re gonna do it. In reality, it’s more like this:
Oh well. Onward to outprocessing!
For the uninitiated, this bureaucratic rite called “outprocessing” is essentially a quest for about two dozen signatures. Your mission is complicated by your signatories’ preternatural ability to have just stepped out when you show up. Challenge accepted.
A few weeks and a couple dozen signatures later, it’s your special day. The much-fabled “final out.” If you’ve satisfactorily completed your quest, you’re outprocessed! If you bungled any of your tasks, do not pass “go” or collect 200 dollars. You’re in for a wild goose chase (and possibly a stern talking-to). Time for the most sacred of paid time off: terminal leave.
Continue to Part II: The Final PCS