Not Going It Alone

During a recent discussion on LinkedIn the point was raised that it is the skills of you – the Service Leaver (SL) – that are mostly considered when addressing the transition from Forces to Civvy Street.

But there are a substantial number of spouses and partners who are being forced to move on just like their serving halves. They have skills too and often a career path of their own to follow.

The original question on LinkedIn related to the choice made right at the start of the resettlement process. Do you go where the work is and risk accommodation problems and lack of wider familial support or do you go where family support and a place to live and risk not getting work?

But it was commented on that to concentrate on the SL might be missing a trick. A resettlement plan will impact on many people within your circle:

  • Spouses and Partners – the aim of this post.
  • Parents and parents-in-law
  • Girlfriends and boyfriends
  • Dependents The list is not exhaustive!

If others are impacted by your leaving then you must consider them even if you can’t involve them.

But, from here on, this post will address the SL and their spouses and partners.

The resettlement process supports serving members of the Forces as they make the transition between uniform and civvies. But do they in turn have the opportunity to share that process with their partners and spouses? I suspect that in reality there will be a range of situations some of which will be where service personnel in the resettlement process will:

  • Include their spouses and partners completely and fully in the decision making process,
  • Think that they do not need to include their spouses or partners because after all it is not them being discharged,
  • Not get a chance to include anyone else because there is no time or no opportunity.

There will be other situations. But too many where spouses and partners are left outside of the process.

It is a basic premise of change management that everyone who is impacted by a change is involved in the decision-making process. It leads to them taking ‘ownership’ of the change and not being left isolated and hurt.

So when making that choice about where to head – for work or home – consider the skills of your partner or spouse. They might find it easier to get work and provide a buffer whilst you make the move in your head as well as in reality.

Don’t just conduct a SWOT yourself get your partner or spouse to do the same. They might surprise you. They just might make the transition so much the easier.

If you have included them right from the start and in everything that is done they will see the plan as theirs as well. This is called ‘ownership’ and it leads to a greater margin of success when going through a change.

Using an on-line tool like MAPP for Resettlement can provide you with the lines of communication and structured tasking that means whilst you are away your partner or spouse can continue with to process of resettling the family or even just the two of you.

Our advice is to include all those affected by your move. It will make the transition to Civvy Street smoother and more likely to be successful.

MAPP for Resettlement can be found at the MAPPStore – just click on the links below:

Feel free to try the ‘1st Steps’, but if you want to have more support then go to the MAPPStore and buy the full version of Resettlement MAPP for just £8.00p.


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