It can often be challenging to find a job after a period of active duty. This is especially true if you were trying to get established in the work force prior to your deployment. A friend in the Guard recently asked, “It seems unfair. How do I get the experience needed to apply for a job when no one will hire me without experience?”

Everyone has their own set of employment challenges coming off orders and returning home. It has become increasingly difficult in recent years to make an easy transition back, especially for young Guardsmen and Reservist.

Senior Airman Tyler Hambidge from the 932nd Medical Squadron speaks with employers during the 4th Annual 932nd Airlift Wing Employment Fair. Tech. Sgt. Roxanne Wood, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Airman and Family Readiness Center and coordinator of the fair, said this was the biggest job fair yet and has grown each year. 17 employers were on hand for the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Parr)

Senior Airman Tyler Hambidge from the 932nd Medical Squadron speaks with employers during the 4th Annual 932nd Airlift Wing Employment Fair. Tech. Sgt. Roxanne Wood, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Airman and Family Readiness Center and coordinator of the fair, said this was the biggest job fair yet and has grown each year. 17 employers were on hand for the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Parr)

Therefore, you may need to consider what many of your fellow Guardsmen and Reservist have known for years! Between active duty stints and going to school, many young warriors in the Guard and Reserves are resourcefully finding solutions to this challenge through the use of a temporary agency. As you transition from the service, do not exclude the idea of finding a temporary position while looking for the right permanent job. Here are a seven reasons you may want to visit a temporary agency during your transition off active duty and reintegration into the civilian workforce.

  1. Good news. A temp agency is paid by filling positions. You will have someone assisting your post-deployment job search the moment you walk through the door. If you are willing to accept the job and the pay, you can go to work quickly. Keep in mind, if you are not satisfied find another temporary position and/or agency if needed.
  2. A temporary job will get you out of the house and provide activity, leading to a sense of hope during your reintegration. Most would agree that “A” job is better than “No” job as it improves the psyche and is far better than sitting at home trying to figure out how to make ends meet on a tight budget.
  3. You gain exposure to job seekers, supervisors, and other employees. This will increase your personal network. Talk to these folks about their experiences. You may gain valuable information and contacts from the knowledge they provide. This knowledge may potentially enable you to set your sights on other positions inside and out of the organization. Remember, your friends from the unit are a great resource, but having the additional contacts will help your commercial job search.
  4. You will learn new job skills, increase your personal capabilities, and enhance your resume. This is a great way to boost your knowledge, skills, and attributes while gaining commercial job exposure if you are not quite sure where you want to work.
  5. As a member of the Guard or Reserve, temping allows you to learn more about commercial companies and what you like and do not like in work environments. It gives you time to figure out your desires and direction, enabling your next career move.
  6. Temporary jobs often become permanent jobs. Having military experience, you know how to get the job done and work hard when the situation dictates. Taking the temporary job may land you a permanent position with the company.
  7. Getting to work quickly will enable you to size up the competition. You will meet folks that are struggling, employees that are doing well, and others that are facing similar challenges to your own. Talk to everyone and learn what they have going on in their lives. This will increase your knowledge of the commercial market and how to survive your post-deployment job search.

On the downside, there are often minimal benefits with a temporary position. There is no commitment by the temp agency or hiring organization. Remember, the temp agency is concerned about follow on business with the hiring organization, while the hiring organization is using a “try, before they buy” approach with their temporary employees. Due to these factors, temporary work is on the rise in the US; while temporary job duration is growing.

Think positively. You are not alone. Most members of the Guard and Reserves experience challenges and employment problems during their career at some point. Like the millions that have already walked this path, you will find the right job. But while you are looking, don’t rule out temporary work. It could provide a path to a permanent and lucrative future position.

Wishing you a Fast and Lucrative Transition.    –  Jay


JJayHicksay Hicks, LTC (Ret), is an author, instructor and consultant with over 30 years of business and government planning and leadership. He advises commercial and federal organizations on the planning, development, and leadership of Project Management Organizations, delivering viability and value. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transtions4U.com and co-author of “The Transitioning Military Series”.