3 Things To Ask Yourself When Getting Out Of The Military

Getting Out? Ask Yourself A Few Things…

Getting out of the military is an emotional roller coaster. You’re excited because you’re taking off the shackles, yet putting on the uniform for the last 4-6 years has become ingrained in your daily life. So much pride goes into that uniform and everything you’ve done in it.

The greatest thing about being a veteran is that the status never goes away. No one can ever take away your experiences, skills, and the comradery you gained while in. With that being said, relax and enjoy the good feelings! You deserve it, and Lord knows the pride you take in your country. Getting out of the military is one of the most euphoric things you can experience. So many opportunities await you on the outside. The possibilities. . .

And keeping on that thought, try not to get overwhelmed with thinking you need to know exactly what you’re going be doing for the rest of your life now. That is simply unrealistic and unfair for you to do that to yourself. BUT, there are some questions you do need to ask yourself both before you get out and as you’re embarking on your new journey. Here are some things you should ask yourself through this process:

1) What Kind Of Lifestyle Am I Seeking?

Before getting out of the military, ask yourself this: What is my main goal? Is money my motivator? Time? What about structure and order? Maybe I’m ok with a minimalistic lifestyle after all bills are caught up?

As someone who is getting out and making strides towards complete independence, it’s wise to have answers for at least a few of the above. You don’t need to have your ten-year plan calculated down to a Prison Break-like schematic, but you should at least have an idea of how you’re going to start out making a living on your own.

 

Image result for getting out of the military
Getting out of the military. That’s all that matters.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that your plans will frequently change. The key is just to have a plan or two. Not to mention having some money saved up can really come in handy when you least expect it. When I first separated from the Air Force, I had about $6,000 in savings and a USAA credit card with about $3,000 credit left on it; I wound up using all but about $2,000 of it ($1,000 savings, $1,000 credit card). In other words, expect the unexpected. You never know how long it will take to land a job. And this, of course, depends on the kind of job you’re looking for. Not to mention other expenses such as moving and personal issues in the form of vehicle problems or hospital treatment. You never think it will happen to you until lo and behold, it does.

Whatever your motive or goal is when you separate, just make sure it’s sturdy and smooth. Even if your initial plans fall through, at least you have an idea of where your next paycheck is coming from.

2) Do I Have A Strong Support System?

I can’t stress the importance of having a strong support system when getting out of the military. No matter which route you take, if you don’t have anyone to share your experiences with, both the ups and downs, the joys and the fears, it could do you a lot of harm in the long run.

When I got out, my heart was set on moving to California. As an Arizonan (a Yuma, Arizonan to be exact) and living so close to Cali, I frequently visited there. I immediately fell in love with the scenery, the weather, and the vibes. My awe of the state inspired me to vow to live there one day. With the GI Bill covering my out-of-state tuition for many California community colleges, I found my golden ticket to the Golden State. Two of my military buddies, one of them happening to get out of the military the same time as me, were from California. We all decided to room together to ease rent. While it was a great time, with both some good and bad times, they were the only people I knew moving there. There were times where we just sort of got tired of one another’s company and did our own thing. That wasn’t a bad thing always until I wanted some human interaction again.

I wound up joining a veteran’s cohort program at Pasadena City College, a program geared toward helping veterans from all branches find transition smoothly into student life while having a support system of veterans who are going through the same thing they are at the same time. This decision proved to be one of the best decisions I made throughout my college years, as I found some people in that group I can call brothers to this day.

Image result for strong support quotes

Your plans may sound great and look flawless on paper, but when things get tough and life starts throwing curve balls at you (and it’s not a matter of if but when), you’re going to need people who understand you and know where you’re coming from. This may be family, close childhoods friends, former military co-workers who are now civilians, or people you just met through a community event or group. What’s more important, when Plan A involuntarily turns to Plan B, you’re going to need the kind of company around you who support your decisions, not push you towards something you may not want to do just because it sounds like the “natural” path.

3) Am I Willing To Press Reset Again If Necessary?

Finally, as a single man or woman with no dependents newly separated from the military, are you willing to reset if necessary? I want to put emphasis on this point because it is one that is often overlooked. Why? Because no one likes to admit restarting because it’s equated to failure. Many see it this way: they hyped up their plans to all their former co-workers in the military and bragged about how good they were going to have it on the other side, so if things don’t go according to plan, they feel ashamed or embarrassed.

But why? Understand that you’re still young. There are many successful businessmen/women and entrepreneurs who started out trying to do one thing, failed at it, then came back at it with something else. Since getting out of the military in 2012, I’ve held six different jobs, switched my major once (adding two years to my plate), and enrolled in a year-long course that wound up changing my life in more ways than all four of my years at Arizona State University combined. I went from nearly being engaged after a three-year relationship in my mid-20’s and moving up the ladder in a plush corporate job in Phoenix to living with my mother and brother in Tacoma, Washington, a state none of us had ever lived. My new occupation(s)?: certified Holistic Health Coach and Produce Clerk at Safeway, a job I take so much pride in because of my direct involvement with healthy foods. One year before I took this job, I never would’ve considered this position within my pay range.

Image result for nintendo reset life

You never know what your heart has in store for you when you allow yourself to really explore what you like and what you want. At one point you may be focused on racking up the Benjamins (as I initially was), until you realize the things you wanted to do with that money, you could do for a lot less or even free. It’s always important as a single man or woman with no dependents that you take advantage of the golden opportunity your veteran status gives you. You can explore and try so many things. Not to mention there are companies literally looking to hire veterans!

You’re Young And Now A Civilian: No Need For Clear-cut Answers

If you ask yourself these three things and even vaguely dwell on them so you know exactly where you stand in terms of your immediate future, you’ve already set yourself up for success. It’s important to note that these questions are all very broad, open-ended questions with no right or wrong answer. They’re just questions to ask yourself and to give you basic guidance in what you both need and want.

As you’re getting out of the military and dipping your toe into civilian waters for the first time, recognize that the kind of lifestyle you want (and more than likely a major factor in your decision to get out of the military), the support you have around you, and the ability to roll with life’s punches and be willing to start over again are extremely critical in determining how soon you reach you find your calling!

For information regarding my Holistic Health Coaching services to veterans, please feel free to email me at anthonyjrichard17@gmail.com. Otherwise, check out more articles like this one geared toward helping veterans smoothly transition into civilian life here on anthonyjrichard.com!

I do not own any photos in this post.

Copyright (c) 2017 Anthonyjrichard.com, All Rights Reserved

Getting out of the military

Ways To Be Successful Outside of the Military

Getting Out Of The Military Is Scary. . .

But it’s exciting. One of the first things that come to mind as your time nears and that DD214 slip is put in your hand is stability: Where is your next steady paycheck going to come from? How hard is it to hold a job in the civilian world? What about medical benefits and vacation? Will my pay be enough to sustain me since Uncle Sam is no longer paying for my roof? I know these were all questions that came to mind when I first got out of the Air Force in June 2012. I wound up going to school full-time and putting off my job search until a few years later when I separated from the California National Guard in August 2015.

One thing I will say; I wish I’d started the process sooner because I’d have even more experience now. There are so many opportunities for veterans it’s almost hard to remain without a job. As part of this series of blogs, I’ll be researching and interviewing veterans, the different jobs they have, and the routes they took to get those jobs. I’ll be interviewing single, married, divorced, and veterans with children to cover the different jobs and careers required for them to sustain themselves and/or their families. However, the jobs in this post are primarily for single veterans with no dependents, as the pay in these jobs is not enough to sustain a family. Here are some excellent jobs you can apply for once the shackles are off and you get your first taste of freedom!

1) Work For An Airline

Sometimes the thing you’ll miss the most when getting out of the military is the traveling. Whether you were Air Force, Army, Marine, or Navy, unless you CHOSE to stay close to home, Uncle Sam brought you somewhere you’d never been before. Many of us actually joined the military for the opportunity to travel. I know that was an excellent pitch by my recruiter when I enlisted in 2008.


This is why working for an airline is an excellent job and opportunity for the military travel bug at heart! I worked for Piedmont at American Airlines for about a year and a half, and I can honestly say it was the best job I’d ever held at that time. I was only part-time and didn’t qualify for the medical benefits or 401k, but the travel benefits were beyond amazing. You can travel on standby anywhere in the United States for free as long as seats are available. Furthermore, you can add a spouse OR domestic partner (girlfriend, roommate) to your travel list and they too travel for free! Well sort of. The seat is free, but the tax of their ticket comes out of your paycheck, which, by the way, is chunk change usually. I’m talking about like $20.

It should be noted that starting pay for a ramp or gate agent is usually minimum wage. When I first started at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, AZ, I started at minimum wage, which was $8.05/hr. Thankfully I was going to school and I was receiving my GI Bill money. In other words, this job is EXCELLENT if you are single and/or don’t have any children, or if you are with a spouse who makes a great deal of money doing. This way you can put your whole family on your travel benefits list and use the money you make from your hours at the job to spoil the fam bam!

You could always check for jobs and position availability here at www.jobs.aa.com. You can also check out other airlines, as many of them have very similar benefits and some start you off with more than minimum wage pay.

2) Security

Sure, this may sound like a “demotion,” but I’m here to tell you there is no job not worthy of taking when it puts money, and therefore food, on the table. Now bear in mind that this particular list is geared primarily towards single individuals with no kids. If you’re getting out of the military after 4-6 years, you’re still young and have plenty of time to figure out exactly what you want to do. In the meantime, great jobs like security are all over the place. Think about it; everyone needs security. You could do in-house security or go for a company who’s outsourcing security via contracting. Hospitals, schools, retail and grocery stores, and apartments/condominiums are great places to start looking for security jobs locally. When I got out of the military completely in 2015, my Air Force experience got me instantly hired for IPSA Security at the Phoenix Convention Center. If you live in a city with heavy public transportation services such as light rails or trains, they’re always looking for veterans to hire.


The pay working as a security guard varies. First, you’ll have to get your security guard card (check your local government laws on working as a guard and how to obtain your card). I only had to sit through an eight-hour course, most of the material of which I already knew from my military training and background. It wound up costing me about $75, as I had to get my fingerprints and background check and all that good stuff. Once all of that was completed, I got my card (I was already hired at the time), and was put to work immediately the following day. I started out making about $10/hr before receiving a $1 raise for both time (six months) and performance.

Security is an excellent job to have when you get out of the military because it’s fairly easy to get and the job itself is not that stressful. Of course, this all depends on where you work and who you work for. As a single man with no kids and a GI Bill to take care of other bills, what I was making as security walking around the convention center asking transients to leave (my least favorite part of this job), securing doors, and performing simple routine tasks was more than enough to be thankful for!

3) Grub Hub Delivery

When I first got out of the military, there was no Uber or Lyft. I started from scratch on my job search, attending resume shops and driving around the city handing out hard copies of my resume. Now all you have to do is have a car.

Literally.

Signing up for Uber and Lyft is excellent and you can really make good money on your own time and dime. Unfortunately, though, you can’t predict awful passengers. Enter Grub Hub, a contracting company that partners with restaurants that don’t normally deliver. The best part about Grub Hub is that you’re driving all alone and never have to pick up passengers. This means you can have your music up and cruise the city on your own time, enjoying life all while making money. It doesn’t get any better than that, right?


All you have to do to is sign up is have a vehicle, current insurance, a quick background check (mine was done in 24 hours), and fill out the online application. The pay varies, as times of the day, holidays, and weekends can all affect how many deliveries you make that day. Whenever I drive, usually for some extra money for a trip I’m planning, It’s for about six hours. On average I make between $75-$100 depending on tips. Now keep in mind that you’ll be driving around a lot, so take gas into consideration when adding up expenses. This is very handy money, especially when it’s just a few hours spent on the road in a day on your own time.

Plenty Of Opportunities Outside Of the Military

If you’re planning on getting out of the military or you’ve already gotten out and you’re just getting your feet wet in the civilian job world, hang in there! I know the mixture of worry, anxiety, and excitement can be overwhelming, but we have support, community, and plenty of resources to be successful outside of the military. Not to mention the skills gained in the military that transition to civilian jobs is unmatched.

The three excellent jobs I mentioned in this blog post are just a few of a slew of jobs I’ve been blessed to gain experience from. As I cull experience from other previous jobs and current jobs as well as gain more experience in my own business and services I’m growing, I will be writing more blog posts regarding this subject. What these three jobs all have in common is that they are perfect stop-gap jobs for the single person still finding out exactly what they want to do as a career. The pay is great, especially if you’re going to school, and all of these jobs offer some form of flexibility, especially Grub Hub. No matter what job you choose when you get out of the military, just remember that this is only the beginning of a wonderful experience. Most importantly, you have a support system and resources at your disposal if you’re willing to reach out and look for it!

For my Lifestyle Coaching services related to transitioning from military to civilian, please feel free to contact me at anthonyjrichard17@gmail.com. Otherwise, look for more articles like this here on Anthonyjrichard.com!

I do not own any photos in this blog post.

Copyright (c) 2017 Anthonyjrichard.com, All Rights Reserved

Defining Physical Fitness: A Broader Explanation

So What Is Physical Fitness Exactly?

You can describe physical fitness in many ways. It doesn’t have to be intense, strenuous two-hour workouts, but the activity should raise your heart rate. Physical fitness is described as a state of overall healthy well-being, both physically and mentally. Although that’s the technical definition, it can be anything to each of us. We can make being physically fit unique to who we are and what we enjoy. For example, if you’ve never had the lungs to run but you enjoy a good lifting session, make that activity your physical activity of choice!

Physical Fitness That Fits Everything You

Many people get discouraged when working towards their exercise goals. One of the reasons for this is because they try a new workout that doesn’t fit their natural compatibility. For instance, your goal may be to lose 10 lbs in four weeks, so you look up popular and effective workout routines that will help you achieve this. As you delve more into the program, you realize that these workouts are brutal and relentless. On top of that, there are many workouts in the program you either are not good at or despise (like a lot of running). Now it’s gotten to a point where you dread those days in the gym, with these often being the days you skip.

This is why it’s so important to develop a physical fitness regimen that fits you to a tee! Like everything else in life, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re not going to have the will to continue to do it. What this translates to in the fitness world is find the workouts and activities you enjoy doing to increase your likelihood of following through with your goals.

Kinds Of Physical Fitness

Physical fitness includes such a broad variety of exercises and activities it’s really impossible to define what constitutes a bonafide physical activity. It can include any of the following types of activity:

  1. Light Physical Activity- This is where you’re doing enough to not be considered sedentary. Exercises often considered light physical fitness activity are brisk walking, yoga, and golf.
  2. Moderate Physical Activity- Exercises and activities considered moderate activities would ones that demand more oxygen through your blood as a result of an increase in either volume of work, intensity, or both. Think of jogging, jumping jacks, and bicycling as good examples of moderate physical activity.
  3. Heavy physical activity- Heavy activity involves an increase in work volume, intensity, and time spent on the activity. They’re normally considered strenuous workouts and are not advised if you’re either somewhat new to the active lifestyle or are re-acclimating yourself to it again. Workouts considered heavy physical activity include various forms of martial arts, physical sports like football, basketball, and wrestling, sprinting, and circuit training weight lifting.

Finding The Right Physical Fitness Routines For Y.O.U.

As stated in the beginning of the article, there really is no accurate way to pinpoint what constitutes as physical fitness. Think of it this way; if you’re not stationary and it gets your heart rate going quicker than in your sedentary state, you’re physically active. Sure, the pictures of summer bodies in blogs with their exact routine posted can be enticing, but if you’re not enjoying it, you’re not going to keep it up. I often liken it to the workforce; one of the primary reasons people quit good paying jobs is because they don’t enjoy it. When it’s all said and done, it’s really up to you how you define your own version of physical fitness. Just make sure it’s something you can see yourself doing regularly, like looking forward to doing. But most importantly, make sure it’s safe.

The photos used in this blog post do not belong to me.

Copyright (c) 2017 Anthonyjrichard.com, All Rights Reserved

 

What Traveling Alone Does For Your Soul

Everybody gets the traveling bug, but how do you feel about traveling alone? You finally muster up the courage to actually invest in a trip you’ve been planning for months. You start getting ecstatic as the plans become more in place. So much so that you begin extending invites. Soon a coworker is in for the ride. Then a close friend within your circle suddenly becomes available. Before you know it, you’ve got at least two cars full of people ready for an awesome weekend!

But then you guys start coordinating plans. All of a sudden the way you imagined your trip going, it’s now quite the opposite. On the road, friends and coworkers start suggesting ideas and stops that were neither in your plan or budget. Of course, to keep the peace, you go along with the suggestions. Hell, some of these suggestions don’t even sound half bad.

However, despite branching off from original plans and having fun with your friends’ suggestions, you can’t help but feel like you didn’t quite get what you wanted out of the trip. Maybe you imagined more bar hopping. Or you might have wanted to stay put in a town a lot longer than the time actually spent there. When it’s all said and done, these are the little details you can’t help but recall.

This is why traveling alone can be such a good thing.

How Traveling Alone Can Be Therapeutic

When you think of traveling, you often think of memories; all the goofy things that either yourself or your company will do. The new things you’ll see and explore together. The random, sometimes insane conversations on the way there and back. These are all, of course, valid reasons to invite the buddies. However, what if you just took off all by yourself? What if you just hit the open road with no one to worry about but yourself?

When I was stationed in England, I used to never imagine traveling by myself. For one, I was a youngin’ (18-20). Since the legal drinking age in England is 18 and our military abides by the host nation’s drinking laws, my attention was focused elsewhere. But when I did travel, I was never the one to come up with the idea. I never had the plans. I was always along for the ride if I were invited and always had an incredible time. Despite the good times, I never thought about just picking up and traveling alone when I had the chance. I mean, I was only stationed in one of the most popular, well-known, and historical countries in the world; one with neighboring countries just as rich and diverse in culture and history as itself.

Just Hit The Open Road

It wasn’t until I was getting ready to separate from the Air Force that I discovered the euphoric appeal of traveling alone. To get out of the house I stayed at in Vegas, one with four other residents, I had to drive. Just drive.

Sometimes it was just to run errands at the Wal Mart across the town in North Las Vegas. Other times it was to hit The Strip, have a few drinks, and talk with the tourists and locals. Then there were the times I just needed to hit the open road. I mean get the hell out of dodge.

Traveling alone in East Washington
Nothing better than being to yourself, music up, on the open road!

There aren’t too many things that beat being on the open road at 2 pm, your own choice of music blaring, and no destination in mind. All of a sudden your mind is unshackled. When you were once thinking of simple, obvious trips that tourists often go on every weekend, now you’re realizing that the world is truly yours to explore.

The Endless Possibilities Discovered When Traveling Alone

I’m drawing mostly off of my driving experience, but make no mistake I’ve done my share of alternative traveling as well. As majestic as it is to see the beautiful landscape from the air, there’s just something about being on the open road that can’t be beaten.

For one, you have the option of completely traveling alone when you’re on the road (unless of course, you’re a pilot). You have the complete freedom to be on your own time. Literally nobody to alter your plans, with the weather being the only true exception.

After I got out of the military, one of the first things I did was use my new-found freedom to explore via driving, travel backpack in hand of course. With my hometown of Yuma, AZ only a 5 1/2 hour drive south and Phoenix only about 4, I was always hitting the road. Not to mention Los Angeles was only 4 1/2 hours west and San Diego 6 hours.

Some of us don’t mind solitude. In fact, most of us need that solitude. There is no other place you’ll find solitude, peace, and answers than traveling alone on the open road. Sometimes all I’d bring is another pair of underwear and shirt and call it a weekend. It wouldn’t even have to be that far from Vegas sometimes. One weekend, I spent the night out at the Red Rock Canyon Casino near the national park of the same name, about 25 minutes west of Las Vegas. There I had one of the greatest nights of my life just enjoying the luxuries of the casino and the surrounding beautiful scenery. Nowhere in the country will you find sedimentary rocks so finely colored and layered. All this and it was cheap and all by myself.

Discovering Yourself, Your Surroundings, And The World

Traveling alone definitely has its share of perks. Not only are you in control of your trip, you’re also in a judgment-free zone. Unless of course, your hardest critic is yourself, which isn’t a bad thing. Being by yourself while getting away, whether you’re the one driving or you’re taking other means of transportation, allows room for introspection.

And plenty of it.

Especially en route to somewhere new where you’re subjecting yourself to a different and unique experience. When you’re alone and exploring new places, you gain a level of respect and understanding of that place and culture. This is even if you’re just traveling only thirty minutes away from where you stay!

I’d say my favorite part about traveling alone is the “me time” I get. It doesn’t matter how I travel, whether I’m driving or if it’s by bus or airfare, I always figure so much out when I’m out there and undistracted. Undistracted is the keyword. There’s something to be said about the freedom of having an unoccupied mind. You add this to the fact that you’re about to go on a whole new journey with new pictures and experiences to share, and you can see how traveling alone can be therapeutic.

Try It Out For Yourself!

Discover the amazing, therapeutic experience of traveling alone. It may sound nerve-wracking at first, but when you wake up that morning already packed, do your final walk-around to check house security, and head out the door, you’ll quickly see that euphoria fills your mind, body, and soul almost instantly. Of course, I’m not saying don’t travel with buddies. That too is one of the greatest joys on this blessed Earth. Not to mention there’s safety in numbers. I am, however, saying don’t underestimate the beauty, pleasure, and unique experience of traveling by yourself. Appreciate the break from your daily routine as well as cherish your solitude and independence. Take this time to regroup, meditate, breathe, and focus on the moment. Come back to yourself and cherish your current situation. Then come back home and share your experience through pictures, writing, and stories!

I hope you enjoyed my reasons why traveling alone is good for the soul. For more stories and articles like this one and other lifestyle story and tips, be sure to follow my lifestyle and recreation blog at Anthonyjrichard.com!

Copyright (c) 2017 Anthonyjrichard.com, All Rights Reserved