OCF’s next Career Transition Strategies Workshop at White Sulphur Springs won’t take place until fall of 2023. But according to Maj Gen Pete Peterson, USAF (Ret.), and co-founder of Caleb Challenge, the group that leads the workshop, it’s never too soon to start developing a career transition strategy.
His advice to those coming up on a season of transition? “Start early. Most military members stay very busy to the very end of their service. By developing a transition plan well ahead of the actual retirement date, they avoid procrastination and the tyranny of the urgent. Leaving life-changing decisions to the very last moment and making last-minute decisions often result in regret.”
When asked about the importance of developing a career transition plan, Peterson says in his experience with transition it’s more of a “journey of discovery not of creation” and that profitable discovery takes time.
“Fruitful ‘transitioners’ found the time and energy to wait on the Lord and engage Him in a sometimes weeks- or months-long process of seeking and discerning the plans God had for them. Discernment and clarity get sharper with each faith-step,” he said. “The most fruitful transitions have not necessarily been smooth. The most fruitful journeys have been in the lives of those who made it a priority to slow-down, take the time to reflect, renew, and listen.”
Peterson also says one of the more common misconceptions about retiring from or transitioning out of the military is that “it’s just another PCS” and won’t be that difficult.
“This transition is not just about a job change, relocation, or the dream home,” he said. “It’s fundamentally a ‘life change.’ The spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational challenges in the ‘Great Transition’ can blindside the unprepared. Most folks, when we talk to them in retrospect, admit that the transition was much harder than they expected.”
“This transition is not just about a job change, relocation, or the dream home. It’s fundamentally a ‘life change.’ The spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational challenges in the ‘Great Transition’ can blindside the unprepared.”
– Maj Gen Pete Peterson, USAF (Ret.)
That’s where Caleb Challenge Career Transition Strategies Workshops can help. These weekend events address key aspects of the plan, such as engaging with the Lord, getting godly counsel from a few others, and engaging with their spouse (if married); provide a process and framework that asks the right questions; and create a path/plan toward a successful transition.
“People transitioning don’t develop a plan because they don’t know where to start – the task is too daunting to try to start with a blank sheet of paper,” Peterson said, adding that spouse involvement for those married is very important. “Spouses need to realize they are in transition too and deserve to take time to consider their own challenges – spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational – in order to ‘get on the same page’ with respect to planning and expectations in retirement.”
Peterson, along with Col Ed Hatch, USAF (Ret.), started Caleb Challenge in 2015 with the goal of helping military members to identify “God’s next best” for them and their families, and to finish well in all their key roles and relationships. Caleb Challenge workshops are designed to complement standard military Transition Assistance Programs (TAP).
“We focus on different topics than TAP, which is more tactical with a focus on ‘getting a job,’” said Peterson. “Our workshop is strategic and encapsulates all of life, including the next transition. We focus on finding a fit in their transition work and identifying potential ‘best fit’ scenarios, based on how God created them, the experiences (good and bad) that they have encountered, and the skills and spiritual gifts that God has provided.”
Be sure to keep an eye on the White Sulphur Springs website for details about the next workshop. You can find out more information about Caleb Challenge at their website.
8 truths about transitioning out of the military
- Transition is much harder than “just another PCS.”
- Spouses are in transition too and deserve to take time to consider their own challenges – spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational.
- Following a proven process will save time and energy.
- The best transitions get good counsel from advisors – don’t try “going it alone.”
- For a variety of different reasons, Christians in transition may inadvertently “leave God out of the process.”
- “Cookie cutter” solutions are usually not effective.
- Busy workloads up to the “very end” can make it easy to procrastinate, avoid planning, and delay making important decisions.
- Start transition planning earlier than you might expect.
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