44% of You Say Work-Life Balance is More Important Than Income

When is the best time to start planning your transition? What’s your main motivation when considering the next move in transition? CTP career consultant Karen Munro gives her advice and perspective on the process in our latest webinar.


There are no definite rights and wrongs in your transition from the Services, and no two experiences will be the same, but Karen Munro advises planning your next move 18 months to two years before your discharge date.

“The analogy of ‘buying a property’ can be helpful. Think how much time lapses between thinking about buying a new place to actually being in your own home. It’s important to do as much research and groundwork as you can, the earlier the better.”

OA’s own consultant Clive Lowe adds that there is a much shorter turnaround in the commercial world. He says: “If you find yourself in a position where you’ve only three months until your discharge date – prioritise. You’ll have less time for research but focus on what you want to do – find opportunities, match requirements and needs, and research your market.”

Narrow Down The Process

At about 18 months to go, start with the broader picture and then begin to narrow it down. Karen suggests looking at who’s in your network, identifying what you have to offer and what you really enjoy – set objectives too.

At around 12 months, begin talking to employers, using social media, attending employment fairs and industry events, as well as looking at industry sector guides on the CTP site. She says: “When you’ve got down to the 4-month mark, you’ll feel so much more confident about actually meeting employers and will feel that you’ve really got your skills nailed.”

She adds: “Rather than sitting at your desk googling for jobs, you’ll achieve a lot more if you actually get out and meet people. Have a business card ready with your LinkedIn profile on it, as well as the sector and type of role you’re looking for to hand out at job fairs. Expand your circle, get referrals and ask for advice. Nine times out of ten people will be happy to help if you’re not just asking them for a job outright.”

What do you value?

As our webinar poll revealed, 44% of you think achieving a work-life balance is more important than income, which only 19% of you voted for. Both Karen and Clive think this reflects the key driving motivators of people they meet going through transition.

Karen says: “It’s important to really take the time to reflect on what your values are and what’s important to you. What are the essential ones and what is achievable?” She adds: “You may find that these change throughout your transition too, it’s helpful to consistently assess them and ask where you may need to make compromises.”

Good News

Over 92% of leavers are finding work within their first six months of leaving the Services.

Please remember, the OA provides a lifetime service for officers. As Clive says: “If you’re struggling, come back to us. It can help re-energise you, create enthusiasm and may just take you in a different direction than first anticipated.”

If you are looking to research job roles for information about salary, structure and working culture The National Careers Service provides information on salaries and a lot of other helpful advice along with GlassDoor, which is a bit like Trip Advisor for organisations.