Dates’ success is specific to him and his military experience, but there are common threads in his story. Ryan, for example, encountered a similar situation when he made the transition out of the Marines. While he’d been supervising teams, training people and overseeing the maintenance of sophisticated aircraft in the armed forces, he didn’t know how to turn that into a civilian role. So, he took a job installing luxury closets.
“It was tough,” he says. “You have to make money. You can’t just sit around and look for the perfect thing, because your paychecks are over. You know where you’re at in terms of your skills and level of responsibility and leadership capability … but how do you communicate all of that military jargon into civilian terms? That is a skill in and of itself.”
Underemployment, in fact, is one of the biggest challenges military veterans encounter when making the transition to civilina life, according to UOPX career advisor Greg Lewis. He explains that nearly one-third of transitioning veterans are considered underemployed, despite their extensive experience and skills.
The “2021 Military Transition Survey Results” report paints an even darker picture: 51% of respondents felt like they were underemployed.
“Underemployment for transitioning military is real,” Lewis says. “However, it can be avoided with proper planning, an evaluation of your transferable skills and a proactive approach to networking.”