In The News

Military Job vs. Civilian Career
September 16, 2016

Many service members use their transition out of the military as a chance to start over and ditch the career paths that their military occupations started them on. Doing so comes with advantages and disadvantages, all of which transitioning veterans should weigh carefully.

A decade’s worth of military experience in a field that translates well into the civilian world, means changing course could force the veteran to start at the bottom, with a salary to match, rather than at a higher level that recognizes the technical skills they learned in uniform.

On the other hand, if Uncle Sam stuck a veteran with a job they hated, they are likely not doing themselves any favors in the long-term by seeking a similar civilian position.

Many vocational experts working with veterans say that when transitioning to the civilian workplace, veterans should go for the job that they want, not the job that fits their military experience. After all, happy people work harder — and typically make more money.

The USDA tracks veterans’ interest in farming through loan applications for land purchases. Since 2009, the agency has granted $466 million to about 4,000 vets. But overall, of the 4 million veterans living in the nation’s rural areas, around 6 percent — some 240,000 — work in agriculture.

The government is determined to grow the number of veterans who work in agricultural jobs as a means to help replenish the industry’s labor force. To lower the barrier for them, the USDA provides loans and grants — some worth several thousand dollars — designed to help beginning veteran farmers and ranchers get the training and education they need to get their operations off the ground. In turn, veterans who become experienced at farming and ranching are encouraged to train others.