Readjusting to Work
Coming back to your old work place – whether it’s an active duty post or a civilian job – can feel like starting from scratch. Things may have changed a lot while you were deployed. Maybe your office has been used by someone else, or old procedures have changed.
When you get back, the greeting may be lukewarm. Your co-workers may have had to work extra hours, or pick up extra tasks while you were gone. Maybe they had to cut vacations. Maybe your boss had to pay out a lot of overtime.
On top of all that, you might miss the military routine, the organization and order, or the purpose-driven sense you had. “You go from telling your platoon to do something and they get it done, to telling a 16-year-old to mop up the bathroom and he tells you to F-off,” one vet recalls.
You might find it hard to relate to co-workers who punch in only for a paycheck. You’re bored. You miss the intensity and importance of your mission. You resent the naïve questions co-workers ask about what you did over there.
You’re distracted too. You might feel guilty about buddies who got hurt or killed and those still in harm’s way. “Most of my thoughts were with the guys who were still over there,” one vet remembers. “The war was over for me, but they were still dealing with it every day.” The same vet says he also carries guilt about not being able to help people he came in contact with in the war zone. “That stays with you.”
Your attitude is important. After finding a new job, one vet had to remind himself he was lucky to have a steady source of income. “I just have to step back and look at the whole picture.”
If you’re looking for a new job or need job training for a disability, there are lots of vet-specific services and job listings available.
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