Wednesday June 29, 2011 at 8:59am
After 26 years service in the Army, I was now looking at a total of 13 weeks (4 weeks termination leave, 7 weeks GRT & 2 weeks annual leave - not necessarily in that order) to do before being officially classed as a civilian, I dared myself to start dreaming about what may lie ahead for me. How I wished I had listened to the advice of previous service leavers before who said "it doesn't matter how long you have left, start planning your future now".
Well I didn't plan because that was never going to happen to me. Oh boy was I wrong!! But by the time my last 'working' day in green skin had come around at least I had a plan, albeit a fairly loose one.
I had applied for a job and was offered a second interview. During the initial interview, I mentioned that I wasn't going to be doing a resettlement course as I was prepared to do a work placement instead. I then received the phone call 2 days after the second interview informing me that I hadn't been successful. I was naturally disappointed, but the company was still interested in a work placement and invited me back the following week to talk about it.
I returned and we spoke about what was on offer and I asked the company if they could give me a few days to consider, as like every service leaver you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket. After weighing up my options, I decided that I would like to take them up on their offer. A date was agreed to start and finish and I went about my merry way for the next couple of weeks before starting. During this time I continued to look for work as although there was a possibility that this could lead to a permanent position there were no guarantees and on leaving the Forces I would still have a mortgage to pay.
As I write this blog (there will be more to follow over the coming 5-10 weeks), I have just finished my first day. Was it what I expected? Did I enjoy it? What did it feel like to go to work in a collar and tie? Did I fit in? Did I feel like a young kid on his first day at a new school? Did they like me?
So many questions going through my head and I don't have all the answers, not yet anyway. But my initial reaction is that I have made the right choice by not doing a course in bricklaying or plastering or something else that I probably wouldn't use again in the future. Whether this leads to an offer of a permanent position, time will tell.
But what I can say is that at EndEx on day 1 is, if like me the vast majority of your CV has been made from the university of life and you don't have a whole host of letters after your name, do not underestimate the value of a work placement. After all, what have you got to lose? You are still being paid by your respective service. Food for thought if nothing else.