Military career change: my journey from Afghanistan to the City


Transferable skills and networking made all the difference for an ex-British army captain’s transition to a civilian job.

Having joined the army straight from university, my knowledge of the commercial world was fairly limited. I started with online research but quickly found the commercial jargon indecipherable. I needed a friendly face that would understand my background and speak in a language I could comprehend. I contacted previous military colleagues who had also left and were able to ease my fears and give me some tips on how to get up to speed with the sector. This included recommending a couple of useful books and military charities, like theOfficers’ Association, that help servicemen and women transition.

However, after a couple of weeks of research I was no closer to knowing what I wanted to do. I began to analyse what I wanted in a second career and fell back on a military problem solving tool I was taught at Sandhurst, commonly referred to as “the estimate”. The estimate requires you to analyse three basic options based on the approach to attack an enemy position: do you go round to the left, middle or right of the enemy? In my case “going left” was to utilise my military skill set as much as possible to gain immediate financial return. For example, going into a private security firm. “Going right” was to go into a completely new field, like joining a graduate scheme. “Going down the middle” was to find a balance between the two and appealed to me most as a way to make use of my existing skills while also stretching myself.

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