Soldier 2.0: Tips to Transition to Your Amazing Second Life (Blog)

Doesn’t every soldier dream of an amazing second life?

  1. Doesn’t every transitioning soldier or spouse dream of an amazing second life, after hanging the uniform? After a hard adventure in the military, isn’t that what one expects, at the least?

Yet don’t most ex-soldiers struggle in the ‘civilian‘ world – at least initially?

Where in lies the problem? What could make this transition smoother? And isn’t making this transition smoother important for the soldier, for society and for the country?

  • Wouldn’t a highly trained soldier be able to use his or her skills better if he or she is better transitioned?
  • Would society and the country benefit, by helping keep those skills alive, on which the country spent millions?

 Here, I share some thoughts, having struggled, and having gone through the same hoops like other soldiers – till I finally emerged to the life that I had imagined. But after much needless struggle and effort.

In hindsight, I can clearly see that had someone been around to just open my eyes at the right time, and perhaps point me in the right direction, my transition would have been much smoother. So I invite thoughts from other soldiers and spouses, for the problem is ours to solve.

But first, 3 learnings, which I would like to share:

  1. Start preparing at least 2-3 years in advance. It took you 2-3 years to turn into a decent soldier. Isn’t it logical to expect to take roughly the same time to get ready for the world outside?
  2. Nobody owes you anything. If we wait for someone to help us, we will be like Godot, just waiting… Nobody owes a soldiers anything. Or if they do, they do a really good job of hiding it.
  3. Nobody can help you as another soldier can. 


This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. You ve proven your commitment, discipline and resourcefulness in the military world. Now it s time to trade in your experience for a great job. Just like everything, it s all about readiness and attitude. Start early. Be prepared. Go for it. Making the transition into civilian life is exciting, but does take preparation. Make sure you are well-prepared by following these four tips.

  2. Dear Sir,

    Before I share my thoughts on this subject, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to you and your team in grooming me during my transition journey. I consider myself extremely fortunate that I got to attend your seminar on 20 April 2019 which set me thinking and helped me carve out my road map for transition to corporate. The topics that were covered, the handouts that were shared and the tips that were given opened my mind towards what lay ahead and how to prepare.

    Sir, we have always been in awe of you since the NDA days and I hope to continue to draw my learnings from your rich experiences in life. You have always been a beacon for us while you were in service and you continue being so even after stepping out of Army by the extra ordinary things that you do.

    ‘Soldier 2nd Life’ is one such extra ordinary initiative and your commitment to help the transitioning soldiers is really inspiring and noble. I can very well fathom the effort it takes to sustain this kind of a set up over and above your primary business.

    Coming to your thoughts in this blog-really appreciate the way you have articulated your thoughts and given it such a deep and meaningful context. What appears as an individual concern for a transitioning soldier, if addressed collectively can be a force multiplier for a cause as relevant as nation building! I completely agree with your thoughts on the subject of transitioning for a soldier. As I have newly exited from the service, there are some key concerns which typically bothers each one of us irrespective of any arm/service/ age/ rank/qualification. I am sure quite a few of these issues are being covered by you already but I am jotting these down, for your info- if it has some relevance.

    a. How to tackle the decision dilemma- whether to exit or continue in service- This is relevant to SS offrs and those who contemplate PMR for various reasons. I feel understanding oneself ,analyzing the reasons for moving out of service and understanding the nuances of corporate is a pre requisite before one takes the ‘leap of faith’. There is no better option- both have their pros and cons. So, our typical fauji ‘PCK’ approach is not recommended as something which works for one may not work for someone else. There is no standard template for all and the sooner one understands this aspect, one can align expectations accordingly.

    b. How to eliminate the self doubt which typically bothers each one of us like:-
    i. I am a GD soldier and don’t have any tech qualification (for non tech arms folks).
    ii. I am a Sapper but I don’t have any MES/BRO exposure and I am Psc and don’t have a MTech (This was a huge concern for me!)
    iii.Do I need to do a full time MBA? What certifications would add value? How do I prep for interview?

    c. Correct Expectations Setting. Sharing certain egs to highlight the notions :-
    i. I have commanded a unit of 800+ so I am fit for any role in corporate and will be absorbed easily.
    ii. I have done exceedingly well in Army Courses, I am Psc/Mtech/HC/HDMC so I will get a job easily.
    iii. My course mate who is getting a CTC of X and since I am more qualified than him, I will get >X for sure.
    iv. My unit offr / Family Member/ Friend is well placed in Corporate. I will easily get a good break.
    v. Now since I have landed in a great job, life is set and I can now take it easy.

    d. Networking- its meaning, how does it happen. I think we can create a structured step by step process for networking- for better outcomes.

    e. Road Map after getting a job. After getting a foothold, what does it take to sustain and survive and given the unique qualities that Veterans possess, what does it take to breakout ‘bash on regardless’ into Corporate Career. (I recommend a book called ‘ The First 90 Days’ by Michael D. Watkins which covers this aspect very well).

    f. An understanding of the market for veteran JCOs/OR so that we can contribute meaningfully in their transition as well- to the extent possible.

    And lastly, I want to conclude by leaving a strong thought which one veteran had left with me during my transition phase. It was about pledging to help our veteran fraternity as much as each one of us can after settling down in the corporate. This is how we can create a strong and a stable ecosystem for transitioning veterans. I think we have already come a long way due to initiatives like a ‘Soldier 2nd Life’ and we can strengthen it further with our individual contributions.


    1. Thanks, Rahul.
      You have made some very important points here.
      Your point about pledging to help the veterans community is laudable too.

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