Editor note: The following article has been provided to AMAC Foundation and our readers by our Foundation Veteran Outreach Program (FVOP) team member Michael Teninty.
Completing the military transition training mandated by Congress was a check in the box and a complete waste of time, especially while I was still performing my duties in the Navy; the training got in the way and I’ll never get that time back.
Retirement approached quickly, as everyone who had gone before me said it would. The days were slow but the weeks, months, and even the last couple years were fast. During the last year especially, it seemed that the speed of time became the speed of light, and in general (like most people) I held on to a false perception that there was still time to prepare. That time evaporated. It’s as if I drove up onto a railroad crossing on my way in life, stopped for traffic (mandatory transition training), and when I finally noticed the train engine coming, it was too late to get out of the way and retirement hit me at full speed with full force.
Reeling with the disorientation that comes with the tornado of culture shock, completing job searches, cover letters, resumes, applications, don’t curse out loud, movement without a sense of urgency, what do you mean employers won’t even consider hiring you three months out, the military job detailer wrote my future six months to a year before my transfer! It was way too much to handle at once, there was no brotherhood or camaraderie there in the “in between,” no compass or plan of the day, no… uniform.
The “Little” Details
The uniform… In the chaos I found myself quite unprepared to figure out what to wear. I asked my wife “what is business casual? Where do I look this up?” I asked a friend still serving, what do you wear? He said, “go to the clothing store, look what is on the mannequin and buy that.” That seems legit, except when I arrived at the store, and saw the ensemble the 22 year old “first real job” post-millennial had chosen for the male shaped model, I was not at all inspired; bewildered would have captured the moment more accurately.
For 20 years, “what to wear” had never been a question. My uniform was comfortable. I never had to spend effort on which shoes or belt went with my shirt. This new consideration in my morning was in the way, unwelcome, burdensome at best. I settled on khaki pants and a button up shirt… remarkably similar to what I was used to, and way more expensive, generally acceptable wherever I went; and… I learned not to wear my dress blue uniform shoes with my suit…
Through trial and error, persevering through the lack of structure, I had finally solved the question of what to wear… That had not been addressed in “transition training.”
To combat the typical challenges and provide resources, AMAC Foundation established collaborative partnerships with Veteran-related organizations through the Foundation Veteran Outreach Program (FVOP). One of the objectives is centered on Veteran transition to civilian life.