Transition from military to civilian life

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After almost ten years in the military

The transition to civilian life seemed overwhelming. Various problems encountered in military life have disqualified thoughts that there will come a time to leave work and start a new life. Any of the reasons that caused me to deny good transitions include militants' distinct culture, which causes transformed soldiers to suffer "culture shock" and feelings of alienation. When ex-military personnel return to civilian life, they will find it difficult to make new friends (Hachey et al., 2016). Ultimately, some who realize such problems prudently chose to remain serving in the security departments unless they encounter an unusual event which compels them to join a civilian life (Hachey et al., 2016). Therefore, the paper applies Bridges model of transition to explore a watershed event which inspired me to change from military to a civilian life.

Watershed Situation Description

I remember the traumatic experience in the military which is still fresh in my mind as if it occurred yesterday. It was my first time to be selected by the commander to go for a peacekeeping mission. Before this event, I loved the career and felt most of my dreams were completely accomplished. In the beginning we were 300 soldiers; unfortunately, over 60 individuals lost their life (Koenig et al., 2014). I was mentally affected because most of my friends perished in the war, expose to myriad traumatic activities, and injuries and constant disruption of connection with friends and family members.

After the end of the battle

We were given two months pay leave to join our families. In that period everything changed as my mind repeatedly remembered the daunting activities experienced during the war. I had transformed from a committed, independent, and compassionate person to someone whose hands tremor. My relationship with the family members worsened day by day whereby some of my friends complained about the unusual character that was gradually developing. For instance, I used to share personal stories, contribute to discussions and other issues which built our relationship stronger. A long conversation with my mother triggered the decision to quit the military job. The decision was arrived at after weighing both the short and long-term impacts of the task on my life; it was prudent to seek earlier medication to avert suffering dissociative disorders. I, therefore, sent a resignation letter to inform the employer about the decision to discontinue serving in the military again.

Factors that made the event different from others

The situation was very different from others because of its significant impact on my psychological perspectives. First, my relationship with friends derailed due to my frequent withdrawal and lack of contribution to the discussion. Before the event, I was always a happy person who loved visiting different places and doing physical exercises every morning. After the incident, I gradually stopped doing such activities and preferred staying indoors. At this particular point, the severity of the post-war activities including loss of close friends reoccurred in my brain which forced me to seek some advice from my parents. Having realized series changes in my behavior over a short period, forced me to look into the cause of the problem. I was to accept the condition and apply the advice given by parents concerning how to overcome the challenge. I was given two alternatives, to resign the job or continue serving in the military and suffer forever. Precisely, the experience was really different as it influenced my social life, feelings, emotional control, and overall activities I pursue in life. It was inevitable for me to change to improve my mental capabilities.

William Bridges Model

Provision of military services is dangerous and demanding which posses overwhelming challenges in returning to a civilian life (Koenig et al., 2014). For instance, it is difficult for veterans who had traumatic experience while serving to quickly re-adjust to post-military life. The watershed situation can explicitly be explained using William bridges model. The approach encompasses three stages including ending, losing, and letting go; the neutral and the new beginning (Bridges, 2007). With this model, it is undeniable that my experience involved the three phases which were gradual but ultimately changed my personality into a different person.

Ways I experienced endings stage

The ending stage was manifested through different forms such as fear, denial, frustrations, sense of loss, disorientation, and sadness. In the beginning, resisted since working in the military was for sure some of the dreams come true. I was not interested in any other career; therefore, I always ensured I deliver the best services as possible. Unfortunately, I had to accept the new idea by embracing what I was uncomfortable with. Moreover, transition based on endings can be expounded on five dimensions including disengagement, dismantling, disidentification, disenchantment, and disorientation. I disengaged with usual activities through staying with family members and engaging in day to day activities such as cycling and storytelling to keep my mind occupied on constructive issues. I experienced dismantlement through dissolving all the plans I had put in place concerning service delivery in the military. I returned the identification documents to ensure I no longer hold any property of the employer as provided by the law. Furthermore, faced disappointment through anger and dealt with it by reading motivational books, listening to music and living positively. Finally, I experienced disorientation by lacking some connections of my body, tiredness, unsocial, irritated, and persistent headaches which I handled through seeking medication and counseling services.

Ways I experienced neutral zone

At this phase, I was indeed uncertain, impatient, and confused. The encounter was actually a different life which I had not accustomed to; therefore, I still portrayed the same elements attributable to people working in the military. I experienced other metrics such as resentment towards the transition and anxiety about my role in the society as well as new status. Apparently, this was an unproductive stage, but I ensured appropriate measures are established to derive some importance from the process (Bridges, 2007). Some of the initiatives I pursued include I openly shared my feelings with family members and psychotherapists. Also, I set personal goals during the period which heightened motivation and created positive perception of the change process. I developed short-term objectives which provided a solid sense of direction on pertinent actions to improve the process. Success in the neutral zone significantly depends on the level of motivation in an individual; hence, I embraced activities that could enhance the well-being of the mind (Bridges, 2007). Because the entire problem revolved around the functioning of the brain, gaining soberness greatly helped in realizing ultimate objectives of the neutral stage.

The new beginning

At this stage, I exhibited openness to learning, high energy, and a renewed commitment to fully embracing the new life. Moreover, my brain was properly functioning because I could recognize some issues, forecast about the future, and formulated appropriate decisions to handle different problems that arose during the process. Also, I realized the new beginning through developing a positive attitude concerning various activities I pursued. I felt comfortable with the new environment, and I had further forgotten most of the traumatic experience on the battlefield.

Reflexive Analysis

Fundamentally, this reading and writing enabled me to gain three insights regarding individual response to a change in the workplace. First, I learned that change is inevitable and gradual. Sometimes, the need for transition in the organization certainly emerges and might either be resisted or accepted. Concerning this premise, I learned that handling resistance and facilitating effective change in the workplace requires patience and providing appropriate information to the employees about the potential benefits that would be derived from the process. Therefore, it is important to involve workers, for instance, allowing them to contribute in decision making so that they feel to be part of the process rather than subjects or being compelled to execute the program. Secondly, the writing informed me the relevance of establishing a favorable environment in the organization to avert different hurdles that might deter effective implementation of change. The propitious environment is provided through directly dealing with the challenges such as providing required resources and motivation to bolster commitments. Perhaps, incidences of resistance are dealt with through rewarding hardworking which acts as a form of acknowledgement and triggers entire employees to stay committed. Lastly, the reading helped me to understand that change is executed in stages. Each phase is handled differently depending on the response. Moreover, every step is critical and ought to be accorded the highest care to ensure most appropriate measures are developed to win support and attain efficiency. I learned that the beginning of the process does not define the end; therefore, it is crucial to establish required measures per stage depending on the outcome or response.


Bridges, W. (2007). Transitions: Making sense of life's changes (2nd edition). Cambridge MA:

DeCapo Press. ISBN: 978-0-7382-0904-3.

Hachey, K. K., Sudom, K., Sweet, J., MacLean, M. B., & VanTil, L. D. (2016). Transitioning

from military to civilian life: the role of mastery and social support. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, 2(1), pp. 9-18.

Koenig, C. J., Maguen, S., Monroy, J. D., Mayott, L., & Seal, K. H. (2014). Facilitating culture-

Centered communication between health care providers and veterans transitioning from military deployment to civilian life. Patient Education and Counseling, 95(3), pp. 414-420.

December 28, 2022

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