Looking Forward – Career, Education, Employment, Transition


A career in the Australian Defence Force can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life, with the excitement and satisfaction of being well trained and engaging in adventurous pursuits unique to the ADF, but eventually everyone needs to plan to move on – into ‘civvy’ street.

Unfortunately, few equivalent jobs in the civilian sector offer opportunities ranging from basic employment roles through to technology based assignments, with the prospect of deploying overseas on combat related missions, peace-keeping and security related roles, so the transition into the civilian world can be challenging.

Career choices within the ADF are many, with opportunities to advance through the ranks and across various career streams. There are also opportunities to learn a trade, undertake tertiary level training and generally qualify for most professional pursuits. So the question is whether remaining in the Defence Force is a better option, at least until you are better prepared for the move.

Eventually, every member of the ADF will transition to a new working and family life in the civilian community. This may involve a move into the Defence Reserves, Defence Industry, starting a totally new career, establishing an own business, or just kicking back in retirement. Planning and informed action can enable such transition to occur as seamlessly as practicable while maximising your career and personal advantages.

There’s little doubt that effective planning and action during one’s career in the Defence Forces pays off when advancing through your military career, and when that day of separation finally arrives you want to be well prepared for what lies ahead. It is this planning leading to productive action that is vitally important.

In any industry, including the Defence Forces, there’s always a vexed question for employers: what if I train them and they go… but what if I don’t train them and they decide to stay?

Similarly, Defence personnel need to ask themselves: what if I plan to go and I stay… but what if I plan to stay, and I have to go?

The former case enables individuals more choices, as they have planned for the inevitable but are also well prepared for the present. The latter may find an unplanned transition confronting and have a poor outcome.

There’s little doubt that those who make the most of their current career while planning and preparing for their next career are inevitably the most successful.


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