Regardless of our work, most of us are focused on our career growth and development, rather than what happens when it’s over. For many, the transition from their roles in the Australian Defence Force back into ‘normal’ civilian life can be one of the greatest challenges of your employment life.

The type of work you’ve been doing for so long is often quite removed from life away from work, and its normal to struggle with finding your purpose, and a new sense of your own personal identity. Your transition into life after service also affects more than just you. Many ADF families have structured the whole family unit around the job, meaning everyone needs to make some adjustments once it’s over.

The importance of transition planning

ADF members are advised to plan ahead for their transition and your unit or commanding officer can assist you with the logistics of your transition. A transition plan will be developed, implemented and monitored before you leave your unit and the service, and for at least 12 months afterward. This plan will include dealing with the administrative requirements, as well as finalising necessary documentation you will need going forward – including service, training and health records. It may also include assistance in transitioning to new employment, which in some cases can be facilitated through being connected to other Defence and government opportunities and veteran support options.

Support into the future

The assumption many Ex- servicemen, and women make, is in assuming it will be simple and they can go it alone. One of your key priorities is to get support. The ADF deals with the transition of its employees all the time and is your best starting point. Connecting with your local transition centre will engage you with the right people to help you manage yours and your family’s needs into the future. These include things such as employment, housing, mental and physical health and wellbeing and other veteran support services specific to your situation.

Transitioning to life after service doesn’t mean you leave the ADF family. There is plenty of ongoing support and opportunities for connection for ex-servicemen and women and their families. The Australian Government Department of Defence offers a Member and Family Transition Guide, as well as good information and support on the transition section of their website. Also worth considering are the Member and Family Transition Seminars, held by the ADF twice a year (in Victoria).

Once you are officially back in civilian life, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website offers handy resources that you will need from time to time. The Victorian State Government website also has a dedicated portal for those transitioning into life after service, in Victoria.

If you are experiencing hardship and not finding the support you need through any of those resources, you can also contact us on +613 9629 2648 at Carry On Victoria and find out how we can help you.