Kara’s transition story

I am delighted to offer the next in our series of transition stories, this time submitted by Kara.

To me, it reveals the importance of seeking and receiving support when approaching and undergoing transition, and not to feel too proud or busy to do so.

It also supports the common experience that many transitioning people feel — especially when transitioning from a military career — that the first job we get may not be the one that provides (or replaces) a sense of personal and professional meaning, purpose, reward, direction and satisfaction.

Most of us need to earn a living, and a job — often any job — can be better than no job. However, a role that offers a sense of belonging, acceptance, reward and growth can be a powerful additional motivator and driver. Consequently, it is worth digging deep within ourselves and our backgrounds to determine the essence of what drives and motivates us (you can find out more and try that here).

The final message, as Kara says, is one of hope and never giving up, just as in a previous story received.

I joined the Army aged 17 years old in 2000 and left thinking I had no transferable skills, wondering who on earth would employ me (with my mental and physical injuries) and what I had to offer. All I knew was I needed to have a job to keep a roof over my head, so I didn’t care what it was.

Although I left in September 2018, I began my transition out in 2016 via a Personal Recovery Unit (PRU) while having treatment for these mental and physical injuries, including surgery.

However, I received one-to-one support from an amazing woman from the PRU Career Transition Partnership team who supported me, mentored me, coached and assisted me with CVs, job applications, and bringing out my transferable skills from tasks I had completed during my military service.

I attended workshops, open days, visits for job shadows; all to try and find what I wanted to do career-wise, yet at the time I was still fluctuating from career idea to career idea, unsure what to do. I kept applying for job after job and tailoring CVs, until I finally got a job offer with the DWP. While this was not necessarily what I was wanting to do, my foot was in the door, and it’s better to look for a job while in a job.

I was then offered another job within the HMRC, which I transferred to. Sadly, this didn’t offer the job satisfaction I was looking for either, particularly when compared to having served in the Army and helping others, working as a team, and planning and organising. To lose that sense of meaning and purpose hurts, and you feel grief. So to have a job with satisfaction was key to me.

As a result, I used the government guaranteed interview scheme and transferred to HM Land Registry. I found this a fantastic, loyal, and supportive place to work — offering excellent personal growth potential, along with acceptance of disability and time for medical appointments. However, neither did this role offer me the emotional reward I was looking for.

But I didn’t give up trying, and I applied for a job in the Home Office as a casework manager for modern slavery and human trafficking. This turned out to be the best move I made, as I find myself in a team trying to make a difference to others who have suffered so much. This, for me, is Job Satisfaction.

Therefore, my transition message is that you can never give up hope. However, you have to work for it, connect with others, collaborate, ask for assistance, tailor your CV for each job, rehearse and find what you love, and find what’s going to fill that hole you lost from losing your previous career (through medical discharge in my case).

never give up hope

I cannot thank ‘C’ at the CTP enough for helping me with all the courses that were provided to me in order to move forward and believe in myself.

Kara as a veteran

If you feel inspired to comment, please leave a reply below (or on the social media feed that brought you here), or use this link to send in your own experiences and tips. These can be anonymous if you wish. Please also watch this space for more tips and transition stories.

Meanwhile, while you are here, please consider contributing to the upkeep of this site, which is personally funded.

At writeforyour.life, coffee’s our currency (well, sort of).

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Many thanks in advance, Graham Cable

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