Women to women: Advice on transition

Transition to life after service can be a complex process. Researchers like Dr. Maya Eichler believe that many Veterans often experience transition as “a culture shock.” Women Veterans encounter a unique set of challenges because they are more likely to medically release. Women also face a steeper income decline after leaving the Forces. If you are in the midst of transition or preparing for release, we have valuable advice for you from women Veterans.

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Women to women: Advice on transition

Always have a backup plan

Major Karen Breeck (Retired) says, “it’s really important for anyone who enlists in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to recognize that no one stays in the military forever.” The key takeaway? You should have a “plan B and C” prior to transitioning. These plans should include ways in which your transferable skills can be applied to your post-service life and career.

Get informed

Corporal Alexandra Shaw (Retired) has advice based on her experience as both a Veteran and an employee of Veterans Affairs Canada’s policy department. She wants anyone leaving the Forces to know you can apply your military skills to “many opportunities in the civilian world.” She adds: “Inform yourself about the programs offered by Veterans Affairs Canada. There are many.”

Be positive

For many Veterans, the transition from the CAF to life after service can be challenging. Former Leading Seaman Marie-Claude Gagnon urges her fellow Veterans to adopt a positive outlook even in trying times. The It’s Just 700 founder credits her unwavering optimism for setting her on a transition journey that led to a meaningful post-service career path. “I feel my life got richer in many ways from these experiences,” she says.

Stay connected

After 21 years in the Forces, Major Lee-Anne Quinn (Retired) can’t imagine what her post-service life would be like if she did not continue to engage with the military after release. She shares her advice on how Veterans can avoid isolation based on her experiences. She highlights the importance and benefits of staying connected with local Reserves or Cadet Corps during transition. “If you have any spare time, there are lots of services that you can offer your skills to.”

Date published: 2020-02-04

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