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Returning home for good

Posted on January 23, 2012

Quest Resettlement Magazine (February 2012)

It doesn’t matter at this juncture why your leaving the Services or why your now going to be 24/7 at home (you know what I mean) what matters is making the “transition” to civilian social as smooth and as rewarding as possible. There is huge support for your career transition and you should fully exploit this but Service leavers must also be aware that there is another form of transition pending.

When your away and have those special private moments when on deployment thinking about your loved ones it must make the final journey back to civvy street even more exciting and perhaps even more nervous. No harm in either.

While as a writer of this article I have never served and will never fully understand the pressurised environments that our fantastic armed forces have endured away from family, I have in my career spent hundreds of flights, and I exaggerate not, many flights travelling country to country daily (within Europe) to conduct my (Sales) duty. Perhaps there are some similarities as I too missed my special ones.

Children: – you can’t stop them growing up when away. Photographs don’t change, they do. Partners experience new things and new environments and they will need to share this with you. You, however, may be tired and don’t want reminders of being away.

Finance: – You ask everything of your partner when away, electricity, gas, community charge, school fees and the list is endless. Your back and perhaps you are the “bread winner”. It is hard for both to come to terms. Are you really expecting your partner to suddenly stop doing what they do to make a safe and homely environment just because you are around 24/7?

Honey I’m home: – Remember when you never to your partner anything “real” about what happened to you as you need to protect them. Well, easily done on sporadic communication channels and seconds on deployment. Now, however, you are (and I make no apology for this) 24/7 with them. Your wish has now come true and you experience the kids changing and growing and slowly get involved in the finances and decisions and the new social. It may now become harder to “protect” your loving partner from their wish to know and to help.

Lastly, your partner is a military partner, not a military person. They will have social or civilian friends who likewise will know your coming back and two things will happen; they will be happy for your partner and they will be curious. During my conducting CTW I always try to raise that civilians whom you join in a new career will likely want to know about you in a different manner than simply “new colleague”. You know what I mean, so, this is also likely to be the case with your partners trusted friends. Remember, I deliberately used “trusted friends” so they care.

It will be hard but is anything worthwhile ever easy? You have the CTP, you have a resettlement consultant you have your original friends and existing colleagues, and, you have your partner who only has one objective: your well being. Civilians can actually be very hard to get to grips but you are the highest trained and most professional Services so together this is actually a winning formula for a smooth transition.

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