Adapt and Adjust Advice For Civvy Street

Civilian workplace culture can be quite different to how it is in the Military. To be successful in the workplace, you are going to have to adapt, communicate, and influence.

The civilian workplace can be less structured than what you might have been used to in the Forces. The two differ in many ways, one way being the language we use. The formality of verbal and non-verbal communication, openness to opinions, and differing leadership styles.

For this reason, you may experience a period of adjustment when transitioning.

Communication in the workplace can be key, just like it is in the #royalnavy #royalmarines #britisharmy #royalairforce. Whenever I visited a Royal Navy base (I know ship) I would always ask where the cookhouse was, just for fun, knowing it would be corrected to the Galley… Once inside, I’d ask for a brew, again, knowing it was a wet. Like the Services, all workplaces use unique jargon and acronyms, and it’s important to take the time to get to know the jargon and communication styles in your new workplace.

In the Forces we share similar cultures, and even then, these cultures are unique to the different Services. It’s obvious that moving to a new company can be quite a learning curve for any new staff, but if you’re a member of the Forces moving to a new company, you have an even steeper learning curve as you’re moving from a place of military culture to one of civilian culture, and that takes a period of adjustment to get used to.

Leadership styles can be different in the civilian workforce. Successful leaders are more often influencers than commanders. It is quite common for civilian employees to expect to be listened to and heard, and not usual for them to be given orders or issue harsh reprimands, which is something Forces members are familiar with from their time in service.

Work styles are different, and it’s important to take the time to understand the different work styles of your civilian colleagues and management. Even though these ways of working are likely to be different to what you expect, they will more than likely be acceptable to the employer, and you will learn these ways of working throughout your time in civilian employment.

Coming from a military background will have given you a strong commitment to safety, teamwork, direct and clear communication, and task completion. These are all sought after skills by civilian employers, as they going to help them achieve their goals/objectives. But these skills only work if you can be adaptable and find a way to fit in with, communicate and influence your new team.

It is important that you recognise that the skills and experience you have gained from the Military have set you in good stead when it comes to your transition to the workplace. Be prepared to adapt to a different way of working and communicating, and if you can make these changes, you will be able to enjoy successful careers in civilian employment.