Making the change from military life to civilian life

Editor’s Note: This guest post comes from U.S. Army Veteran
Daniel Sotoamaya, who shares how Grow with Google and the USO
helped his transition to a civilian career after serving in the
military for 20 years.

I entered the U.S. Army at age 17, and I had no responsibility
except for myself. I left as a senior leader, married to my wife
Jen—who is also a veteran—and co-parenting six children. When
transitioning to civilian life, I needed to learn how to support my
family without the military’s familiar structure and security,
and I eventually found a job with the help of Grow with Google and the
USO.

In honor of National Veterans and Military Families Month, I
want to share my story so that other veterans and their families
don’t feel isolated as they navigate this life change. My story
starts back in 1999 when I met my wife at U.S. Army training at
Fort Lee, VA. While waiting to go for a group run, we said hi,
exchanged comments about the weather, and headed off separately. I
didn’t see her again until a year later when reassignment brought
us together. Shortly after, we were married and had our first
child.

During the 20 years I served in the Army, my career grew. I was
promoted to Sergeant First Class (E7) and was assigned to bases all
over the U.S. and Europe. Our family grew too, and Jen, who had
served for three years, stayed at home to care for our kids. I
credit Jen for her support, strength, and patience through my
multiple combat deployments in Afghanistan, and during my
transition to civilian life.

When I left the military, it was my immediate duty to find a job
to support our family. Even my kids could see that getting a job
was my full time job. We all felt the pressure of my need to
quickly figure out my next role. The job search process was
stressful, not only for me, but also for my family. I didn’t want
to have a gap in income after my military career ended, but I also
didn’t want to settle on a job just for the paycheck.

From my years serving in the military, I knew I brought
leadership, a strong work ethic, and management experience to the
table, but it wasn’t easy to translate what I did in the military
to civilian jobs. My family worked with the USO, the country’s
top military support organization, for ongoing support and guidance
throughout my transition, and along with resources from Grow with
Google
, I felt equipped to look for a job. When I searched
jobs
for veterans
” on Google and entered my military job code
(92Y), I found jobs that matched the skills I used in my military
role and aligned with the values I gained while serving.

Today, I have a full-time role as a Customer Center Supervisor,
using skills learned in my 20-year military career. The Army
prepared me to move decisively, so I’m able to quickly make sound
decisions that are in the best interest of my company and our
customers.

Approximately 250,000 veterans—many with families—leave the
military every year, and I hope that sharing my story will make
their transition a little easier.

Source: FS – Social Media Blogs 2
Making the change from military life to civilian life