Neil Dean served in the Royal Artillery for 15 years, as a Command Post Detachment Commander. He served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq and various other places around the world.
Why did you join the Army
I grew up listening to my fathers and grandfathers' stories, I knew early on that it would also be a part of my life. It seemed like it would also be a part of my life. It seemed like it would be an adventure, that would provide me with a different challenges weekly. For the main it didn't disappoint me, I was naive though.
Why were you naive and what did you get out of your service?
Even if I listen to other people's stories now, it sounds like an adventure. It sounds easy, fun, everything you want in life. The truth is; it is only an adventure because it is challenging, and at times I nearly quit on myself. Luckily you are surrounded by people who won't let you quit, they make it easier, they make it fun. Every day was an adventure, it was uncomplicated. Far too often since leaving, I have seen people make things way to complicated.
The military has a habit of getting the details right, without making it complicated. A great example is a drill movement timing 123, 1. As a leader, you need to be aware of your own strengths and weakness and those of your team, this enables you to build the strongest team possible using everyone strengths to ensure you maximise the teams success every time.
What were the most important lesson that you learned during your transition?
The adjustment to being a civilian is absolutely S***. You need to find a sense of purpose as soon as you can, otherwise, it will eat you up. I felt alone, I felt i was no longer contributing to anything (to the bigger picture), which impacted on my family and my job.
Don't be one of those Veterans who sits behind a computer full of self-entitlement, get out there and get your hands dirty and be part of the solution. Stepping up and being proactive like you have been trained to be, will increase your chances of a successful transition, a successful life.
If you see an opportunity, don't scoff or belittle it because it doesn't meet your lofty aspirations. Be part of the solution and pass it on to another Veteran looking for work.
How does it feel to continue to support our Armed Forces Community through your work at BFRS?
It's very fulfilling being able to oversee programs and projects that support, the Armed Forces Community. I love working with companies, who are committed to offering the same opportunities to the Armed Forces Community. Each day a new company the huge demographic, of skill-sets military people have, and when BFRS talks to them we are pleasantly surprised that they are the ones selling us their soft talk.
It's a struggle at times! Fighting against organisations who continue push out, over the top, negative facts about people who have been in the military. Most Veterans, are not all homeless, we haven't all killed someone, we are not going to shout at everyone. Some of us do need extra support for all sorts of issues that afflict us, BFRS's jobs is to try and help with one of those areas, EMPLOYMENT.
Most of us will need help at some point in our lives, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Just remember our values and standards are for life, it's what our stories are about, embrace your next challenge.
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