Step 6 – Retirement is a Four-letter Word in the Military Transition Job Search
You are proud of the fact that you served your country for 20 or more years, as you have every right to be proud. However, this is not something you should broadcast when making the transition from the military. The negative effects of using the word “retired” in your job search can be detrimental to your transition success.
The “retirement” stigma.
When we hear the word retired, many images come forth. They bring to mind that a person who is done with their career – ready to play golf or travel the country in a motor home. The term retired indicates that the person is “retirement age” – even though many military retirees are only in their forties. This perception may cause involuntary age discrimination. Age discrimination can be based on fear that you lack energy, are unwilling to learn new skills and technology, or that you are so advanced in your career that you may demand a higher salary.
A perceived lack of flexibility.
Military candidates are already perceived as inflexible; calling yourself retired simply heightens this fear. If an employer hears that you have only known military life, they may doubt your ability to make a smooth transition. You must demonstrate that you are embracing the civilian work environment and prove your adaptability. Aside from avoiding the word “retired”, you can show adaptability by translating your military skills to civilian language, avoiding acronyms and military terms, and transitioning to the civilian method of stating dates and time.
Salary negotiation considerations.
Another consideration is the fact that when you retire from the military, you receive a pension. If an employer knows that you are already receiving a healthy pension check, they may be more likely to give you a low salary offer. Avoid this issue in the negotiation phase by not bringing up the fact that you are retiring.
Don’t subject yourself to these red flags and stigmas. Instead of calling yourself retired from the military, mention that you enjoyed a successful career in your particular branch of the military and you are ready to leverage the skills you gained into a new career with their organization.