Despite being the majority of our population, civilians are often underrepresented in the media and political arena. Often, journalists and politicians focus on the military, which has its own set of challenges and rewards. A civilian’s unique perspective, though, can be a valuable addition to these discussions.
According to international humanitarian law, civilians are “persons who are not members of the armed forces or who do not take part in hostilities.” This differs from a non-combatant, which is more restrictive and does not include religious workers or some other categories of personnel. Civilians are also entitled to certain privileges, such as the right to leave besieged or encircled areas.
Many civilians work in government, education, healthcare and law enforcement, or other fields that are considered public service. A civilian’s background can make them an excellent candidate for political office, as they understand how societies and public institutions work. This is important for a politician to have, as it allows them to develop the best policies for their community.
It’s also possible to find a career in these fields that is more than just lucrative, but rewarding. The work of a civilian is valuable in its own way, and many people find the satisfaction of helping their community or society as a whole. This can be especially rewarding for those who may not have the financial means to do other types of work, such as a military officer or teacher.
Another benefit of working as a civilian is the access to benefits, such as medical care and pensions. The military offers a retirement program called TRICARE that pays its members a portion of their salary after serving for a minimum of twenty years. The pension value increases by 2.5% for each additional year. This is a very attractive feature for those who are considering a transition from military life to civilian life.
One of the biggest challenges for transitioning service members is learning to live in a civilian community that may not be as understanding as their military family. Whether it’s the rigid schedule, the tone of voice or how one dresses, many things about military life are foreign to civilians. Finding a new civilian group that can relate to their experiences is sometimes challenging, but it’s important for those who have served in the military to continue to network with others and try to build that sense of community once again. This will help them stay grounded in a difficult time and continue to grow as individuals. These examples are automatically selected from various online sources, and do not reflect the views of Merriam-Webster or its editors.