From Active Duty to Civilian Life: Entrepreneurship is the Path, Startup Weekend is the Vehicle

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(The following post was originally published via UP Global)

by Dr. Sean Siebert

Transitioning military personnel from active duty to civilian life has always been, and continues to be, an ongoing challenge for our country. While returning to civilian life presents new opportunities, including the ability to spend more time with friends and family, there are many challenges that our Veterans face during this transitional process. The acclimation to a civilian life that encompasses an entirely different structure makes anxiety heighten around finances, family/friends communication and what comes next. Particularly, a substantial amount of servicemen and women find it difficult to exit the military and transition to a civilian job. And, as a civilian society, we compound this problem through our devaluation of the military experience.

I teach for Columbia College of Missouri, a military-friendly institute, as an adjunct faculty member in their business program both in-seat and online. Through this relationship, I have had the opportunity to teach, advise, and mentor hundreds of veterans and active duty military personnel over the past five years. Sadly, I have come to learn a pain point of this transition process all too well. On many occasions I have witnessed how civilian society “casts away” our Veterans skill set, experience, and military education as if it never happened at all; their entire military life is discounted because it did not happen in the “civilian” world. As a byproduct, a substantial amount of former servicemen and women end up in jobs they are way overqualified for.  From there, the cycle of setting a Veteran up for professional failure is set. Is it a struggle to understand why many Veterans never truly find satisfaction in most civilian jobs?

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