I love Veteran’s Day because it is a day to honor those who have served. For those of us who served, it often is a reunion and reflection with our comrades-in-arms. As opposed to Memorial Day, when we are wistful and reflective as we remember our fallen brothers and sisters, Veteran’s Day is like college homecoming for us. We reunite over food and drinks, swap sea stories, tell jokes, and welcome the newly separated veterans.

Blue Yonder is my first job outside the military after spending 35 years in the U.S. Marines. Having joined the company in January 2022, this is my first Veteran’s Day as a civilian. Right around that time, the company was spearheading a new Associate Resource Group (ARG), Veterans of Blue Yonder.

In August, my colleague and fellow veteran Bill Gross shared more about the Veterans of Blue Yonder ARG. The goal of this ARG is to serve, recruit, retain, mentor, and advocate for all Blue Yonder veterans, including veterans of military service, law enforcement, and emergency services. This group will also support families of veterans and enlisted members while providing educational opportunities for allies.

Sadly, many servicemembers are not adequately prepared to “switch gears” to settle into the civilian world. In my case, the most difficult part was transitioning from a highly structured military work environment to a more relaxed civilian work environment.

My advice to anyone transitioning is to be patient and give yourself grace, as it will take time to delve into your new work world. For me, the Veterans of Blue Yonder ARG and our Blue Yonder Associate Success team have helped “nursemaid” me through my growing pains. I want to offer three points that Associate Success gave me to share with new hires who are veterans:

  1. Seek and Obtain Balance: At Blue Yonder, our Core Values (Empathy, Relentless, Results and Teamwork) drive who we are. And while we have goals to achieve, nothing should supersede your well-being, family time, and work-life balance. As a veteran transitioning to civilian life, you should be open with your manager and team about that need for balance and seek it out.
  2. Map Out Your Transition Plan: One of my favorite sayings is: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. In conjunction with your team lead, map out objectives and milestones to help facilitate your transition, establishing a pace that works for you. This activity will help ensure your success and keep you moving forward positively.
  3. Accept That You Don’t Have to Fix Everything: In the military, we are taught to seize the initiative, and in the absence of orders and direct guidance, we should “step up” and take charge. In the civilian world, it’s okay to ease off the throttles and be humble. Be patient with yourself. Start out by listening. Show your interest and engagement by asking good questions instead of espousing what you think you know.

I have truly enjoyed my transition to civilian life at Blue Yonder. If you are thinking of transitioning to civilian life, don’t be scared to make the leap. Seek out companies with initiatives that help mentor, support, and advocate for veterans in similar and continued ways the Veterans Affairs Transition Assistance Program has ushered our transition.    

This Veteran’s Day weekend, when you thank a veteran for their service, also take a minute to ask how their transition to civilian life is going and how you can help be part of their success!