Norman Rockwell

1. Stay in touch with some of the people you were there with. No one is going to listen or care as much as they do about that part of your life and probably no one will ever understand it as much as they do, so don't lose touch and check on each other.

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U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sean Martin

When I was a staff officer in the Army, once a quarter we’d meet for a day of the most painfully long PowerPoint briefs you can imagine. Quarterly training briefs (QTBs) would lay out all of our unit’s training goals and our overarching status on our mission essential task list (METL). These meetings were a long list of slides with red, amber, or green bubbles that gave a snapshot of how close we made it to our goals.

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U.S. Army/Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie

The concept of “coffee meetings” and the phrase “informational meeting” was foreign when I was in the Army. My unit’s “open door policy,” designed to encourage young soldiers to seek mentorship or report issues not addressed by line supervisors, in reality equated to avoiding senior leaders at all costs. It was just unthinkable for me, in the Army, to ask someone to meet with me so I could learn about his or her career. For one thing, no one had the time for that, and two, it just wasn’t done.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Ruth Wheeley

So the time has come where your disillusionment for continued military service trumps your misguided teenage visions of honor, conquest, and becoming the next Maverick. The idea of standing watch on the U.S -Mexican border or engaging in Byzantine nation building offers no appeal. You’ve made up your mind. It’s time to get out. 

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Marine Corps photo

Most veterans won’t deny that there were a lot of parts of being in the military that sucked — the PT, the food, the pay, the constant moving — but it’s a love-hate relationship that you look upon with nostalgia once you leave.

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Photo by Staff Sgt. Anna Rutherford

Resume writing can feel like a chore and let’s be fair, it is, but it’s also essential if you ever want to escape the unpleasant and often degrading rat race that is the job hunt.

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