Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I almost always say "transitioning" when I talk about the direction my life is going now. To quote another of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." It implies a smooth change of states from one to another. It would lead you to believe that everything is planned out, every step mapped, and everything will flow along without a hitch.

That's not how it is. "Transition" is a good word, but "transformation" may be a better one. Or maybe "violent upheaval."

OK, that's a bit much. But there is a lot involved with this process that you never think about until it's time to go through it. There are medical exams, dental exams, and meetings with the finance (payroll) office. There are classes I have to take (which I took, and actually got something out of, and which I already talked about on this blog). There's a meeting with a rep from the VA, where they'll take my medical records and decide if anything in them indicates any form of service-connected disability. I have to meet with the education office, to tell them how I'll be using my GI Bill benefits. I have to go to the housing office, and get them to tell the finance office that I'm not occupying military housing. I have to go to the "mobility office," to get them to agree that since I was never issued a gas mask or protective suit, I don't have to turn them in. And it goes on. Each of them has their say, and they each have to sign a paper that says they're done with me. Then I have to take all of those slips of paper to someone else, who counts them, and weighs them, and says some magic words over them, and decides that I have "out-processed."

It is a transformation. It's a step-by-step dismantling of my lifestyle, which will end on the final day of my service when I take the uniform off for the last time... and have to start actually deciding for myself what to wear to work in the morning.

Of course, that's if I have a job by then. My god, I still have to look for a job! I still have to write resumes, make phone calls, send letters. I have to make contacts, and go to interviews. I have to assess and re-assess my skills, re-target my resumes, and start a second wave of applications, and a third, and a fourth. And all of this while I'm doing all of that up there, until finally someone decides that I have been "hired."

As it turns out, this isn't either a "transition" or a "transformation." It's a race, and if I get to "out-processed" before I get to "hired," well, that won't be the result we're looking for.

Here's hoping you're cheering me on, and, as always, if you've got anything to help me get there, I'd be grateful. That's not cheating. It's networking.

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