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Is a Career Break Right For You? By Richard Jones

What can you do if your civilian career is unfulfilling? Richard Jones, a former RAF officer, shares his story on how he dealt with being in this situation.

There is a lot of advice and support when you’re leaving the military. It often focuses on finding that important first civilian role, but for me my transition didn’t end there.

Feeling the Pressure
I always had high hopes for a second career after leaving the RAF, following a relatively successful 26 years. I had fulfilled a variety of roles, gaining a mixed bag of skills and qualifications. This helped my job search, but I struggled to move from aerospace and defence to another engineering field.

Worried about paying a mortgage and providing stability for my family, I soon started working again in the aerospace sector. Looking back, I don’t know why I felt pressured to find work quickly, given the lump sum and pension I got to fall back on. Perhaps in part because of other people’s success stories, who had left the Armed Forces to land plum director roles. Also, during transition people often said: “Most people change jobs on average after 18 months after leaving anyway.” I think that encouraged me to settle for less than I wanted.

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