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Reviewed by Leonard William Smuts for Readers' Favorite
Adapting to the differences between life in the military and civil society can be quite daunting to a veteran of the armed forces who is transitioning to the commercial world. Mission Transition sets out to smooth that potentially stressful process. It may surprise readers to learn that less than one percent of the American population has any experience of the military, which adds to the divide. However, veterans possess a diverse set of skills covering many fields that are a major asset to the nation. The challenge is to integrate these valuable attributes into the business and public sectors with minimal disruption on either side. Veterans must leave behind them a highly disciplined and structured organization that provides training and job security. They venture into a profit-driven environment where an authoritarian management style is neither appreciated nor appropriate, with little permanence. Matthew J Louis describes the process, commencing with planning an exit from the military to acclimatization in a new working environment. Every aspect is covered in detail, including factors such as the impact on family life, potential relocation, and the need for further study. The secret is to know yourself and what you seek - then prepare in advance.
Matthew J Louis speaks from personal experience, backed by considerable research on the subject. Mission Transition also brings a wealth of sound advice from a variety of veterans, whose insightful comments are quoted in every chapter. The book includes many tables of information, checklists, and helpful hints on securing employment. The book is wide-ranging in its scope to the point that it can be used as a career guidance manual for civilians as well. In this regard, the chapters on writing a résumé, applying for work, and the job interview itself, are universal in their application and are particularly informative. The point is made that civilians do not always understand the ethos of the military, thus references to rank and similar terminology must be rephrased as part of the integration process. The corporate world is demystified and many career paths are suggested. The welcome advice on personal budgeting is an overlooked but important aspect that is also covered. The many resources such as support networks and bursary schemes available to veterans in the USA are listed. The book is rounded off with appendices, an index, and an extensive list of sources. It is a unique and well-written publication on an unusual topic, filled with practical information, and is highly recommended. Having served in the military I can relate to many of the situations.