Engage others

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So I’m about two months late on this final post to close out the DARE framework for veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce. My apologies.

As a reminder, DARE is an acronym that summarizes a framework of key considerations for veterans transitioning from the military (whether one tour or an entire career) into the civilian work force. As I mentioned in my first post on this topic there are many aspects of veteran transition … education and training, finding a job, transitioning into the job, and performing successfully in the job to name a few. The focus of the DARE framework is the veteran who has accepted a job offer and is now faced with the task of transitioning into a new work environment and culture.

D: Define success
A: Adapt to the culture
R: Recognize your strengths
E: Engage with others

In previous posts I’ve elaborated on D, A, and R. In this I’ll wrap up this topic, for now at least, with a discussion of E – Engage with others. Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape (1)

Perhaps the first thought that comes to mind when you hear “engage with others” in the context of professional life is networking. Indeed networking is generally an important component of any successful career, military or civilian. According to www.entrepeneur.com networking is:

“Developing and using contacts made in business for purposes beyond the reason for the initial contact. For example, a sales representative may ask a customer for names of others who may be interested in his product.”

That’s a reasonable definition but I think reveals the understandable bias for a site about entrepreneurship toward business development (and there’s nothing wrong with that … business development is a key component in the professional services firm for which I work). I think for the transitioning veteran, however, this definition from www.businessdictionary.com is more apropos:

“Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question ‘How can I help?’ and not with ‘What can I get?’”

HandshakeThis definition sums up well why “engaging with others” is so important for veterans (for anyone really) transitioning into the civilian workforce. By creating a network you have resources to whom you can reach for a wide variety of questions, which will not only aid your transition (make it more smooth) but may also open up new opportunities for you down the road. We have a saying in my firm (it’s been attributed to many wonderful people but I’m not sure who said it first): “There are two sins here. One is to not ask for help when you need it. The other is to not give help when you’re asked.” It too captures well why engaging with others is so important.

There are many other benefits to engaging with others: brainstorming ideas, venting frustrations, and enjoying yourself more at work (we spend a heckuva a lot of time at work … we might as well get to know the people we work with!) come immediately to mind. There are doubtless many others.

So let me wrap up by saying to the veterans faced with transitioning into the “civilian world:” good luck, thank you for your service, and be confident in the many lessons and positive habits you’ve developed in the military because they will serve you well in your new journey. Godspeed.

Copyright © 2015 Robert E. Goodson Jr. All rights reserved.

First image courtesy of FlashBuddy/morguefile.com

Second image courtesy of adamr/freedigitalphotos.net

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