This blog was written by Evan Anderson, a Global SOF Foundation Member who is sharing his experiences and lessons learned as he separates from the U.S. Army.
My name is Evan, I have been in the U.S. Army for 12 years. Most recently, I have had the honor of serving in the Special Operations community, but I came to the realization that I was ready to move to a new stage in my life.
My transition journey began the day I hit 18 months from my separation date.
Getting through the TAP Gaps
After enrolling in the mandatory Transition Assistance Program (TAP) classes, I felt like there was a lot of lag time where I didn’t really have any guidance. There were weeks, even months, between the classes, and due to ongoing complications with COVID-19, classes were held telephonically. I am the type of learner who needs to both engage and be engaged to truly absorb information, so the virtual environment made that difficult.
The TAP classes checked the boxes, but I was often left with more questions than answers. I started Googling to fill those gaps.
I connected with several Veteran Support Organizations (VSOs) to see what else I could do to prepare myself. I started to build resumes and was encouraged to start a LinkedIn account. With some hesitation, I started the account and pieced together what I thought was a solid “digital resume.” I don’t have any social media accounts, and on first glance, LinkedIn just looked like Facebook with CEOs.
My breakthrough happened when I connected with a friend who was on my team during selection years ago. After some quick coaching, I realized just how powerful of a tool LinkedIn could be, when used properly.
I started to connect with leaders in VSOs, transition coaches and mentors, even potential employers from my destination city. As I became more connected to the community, more and more opportunities arose to network, build my skills, and expand my potential.
Finding Additional Transition Resources
I was approached and eventually secured a DoD Skillbridge Internship, which was a huge goal of mine that I had no idea how to get to.
By chance, I was connected to The Honor Foundation, and accepted into a transition class designed to help transitioning SOF truly understand what we want both out of our transition… and out of life.
I participated in a Vets2Industry Virtual Networking event that featured transitioning service members, veterans, VSOs, recruiters, coaches, mentors, and much more.
Through this program, I have been able to speak to CEOs, CMOs, and COOs of companies, as well as the hiring managers of many of their companies. It’s great to see that organizations are creating hiring initiatives for Veterans, ensuring that our community is being brought onto industry teams. We have a lot to offer the civilian world, and sometimes it just takes a toe in the door to get us where we need to be.
Organizations like THF and GSF are there to keep those doors open.
My journey into transition has really just started, but each day, and each connection makes me feel a little better. It is reassuring to know that there are so many resources out there for us.
My experience in SOF has always been with scenarios where there is not enough manpower, not enough equipment, and not enough time, to accomplish an impossible task. Yet somehow, we do it. Transition is no exception, and we owe it to ourselves to create our own success.
Are you +/- 2 Years from Transition?
If you’ve recently transitioned, please take the SOF for Life Survey to help us gather data to support future SOF operators:
If you’re planning to separate from the U.S. Military in the next two years, here are some resources I discussed:
- The Honor Foundation: https://www.honor.org/
- SkillBridge Internships: https://dodskillbridge.usalearning.gov/
- Global SOF Membership: https://gsof.org/individual-membership/