Re-Entering the Civilian Workforce After a War

posted in: News | 0

A civilian is a person who is not on active duty in a military, police, fire fighting or other belligerent organization. Civilians are not members of an armed force and are not participating in hostilities, although they may be affected by a conflict. In a democracy, civilians are the core of the political system, comprising all those who are not members of a militia or other armed force or party to an armed conflict (for example, military chaplains, journalists and diplomats). Civilians also include those not on the state payroll, such as unpaid volunteers and retirees.

Exceptional civilian actions in war involve life-changing decisions to flee, resist or build something new. But more commonly, civilians use ingenuity, energy, labour and social capital to survive through everyday acts that are endlessly repeated during a war, like avoiding dangerous people and places; subverting unfair systems; accommodating and negotiating with power; pretending loyalty and respect; queuing physically or digitally to get on aid distribution lists. The ingenuity, energy and social capital of civilians is essential to the survival of the people affected by a conflict and is why humanitarian organizations need their help.

There are many challenges that veterans face when re-entering civilian life. The biggest obstacle can be finding a community. When you leave the military, you are used to having a very structured and organized life where someone else manages your schedule and takes care of your physical and emotional health for you. In civilian life, you will have to take on more responsibility for your own well-being and will need to find new ways to develop a sense of community.

Another challenge is readjusting to the pace of civilian work. The work can seem tedious and monotonous, especially if you are accustomed to the fast-paced environment of the military. Keeping a strong network of military friends can be helpful during this time. In addition, it is important to try and stay connected with the military in some way, whether it is through an organization such as the VFW or by joining a support group.

The Army is committed to supporting its civilian workforce and providing growth opportunities for Soldiers and civilians alike. In fact, civilians have played a critical role in the success of the Army since its founding. The Army has the largest civilian workforce in DOD, supporting the nation and its soldiers in war and peace, and delivering vital services to our communities and the country.