Why PreVeteran wants the military to be ready for civilian life 2 years before they go their separate ways

When should active duty members start planning their transition out of the military? If you ask Jason Anderson, founder of PreVeteran, the ideal time frame is at least two years before parting ways.

“There’s a 100% chance you’ll come out of the military,” Anderson says. “And there is a two-year gap after your release from the military that is proving problematic at all levels. The current transition system brings you to the end of your military career, when your stress is at its peak and your workload is three times as heavy. It doesn’t work, so we help people plan ahead with our methodology.

Anderson is not wrong. A study on the retention of veterans from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University found that two-thirds of veterans leave their first post-military job within two years. Half of them leave in the first year.

By 2018, Anderson had left the military for four years, had already founded a small business, and was working overseas as an executive for an aerospace defense contractor. He wondered why he had succeeded where so many other veterans had struggled, so he decided to find out.

“I started researching the military transition,” says Anderson. “The research is very sporadic, mostly VA-funded studies and universities doing more local things. I put all of this research together and came up with a holistic look at the transition space. I discovered that there is a two-year period after the transition when the military performs very poorly in just about every segment: employment, higher education, entrepreneurship, and well-being.

Jason Anderson, founder of PreVeteran. (Courtesy of PreVeteran)

To cope with this two-year transition period, Anderson developed the two pillars of what has become the PreVeteran Transition Program.

The first emphasizes the veteran’s self-transformation, preparing to meet the needs of the civilian world. The second is the time period involved. Where mainstream thinking has military personnel considering civilian life six months before leaving, Anderson and PreVeteran believe the window should be one to three years.

Anderson is a former C-130 pilot and Air Force Academy graduate. During two decades of service, he witnessed the American intervention in Bosnia and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the time came for him to leave the military, he felt the same apprehension about life after service as most veterans.

“I had been thinking about it deep down for months and months and months, because I felt very uncertain,” he recalls. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘What are we going to do? “”

From that day forward, he had two years to reflect on life after the military, and the time he had spent had turned out to be time well spent. After moving from the Washington, DC to Wyoming area, he founded his own business but was soon recruited to work in the aerospace defense industry. Anderson rose through the corporate ranks to become a senior executive in its East Asian divisions.

The concept of two years has become a recurring theme. Sixty-five percent of veterans leave their first job within two years. Two years of preparation make all the difference for the next two years.

“This two-year period is really tricky where the performance is really bad,” says Anderson. “But I had to understand why. I went through sociology, anthropology, psychology, behavioral psychology and ended up landing on cognitive neuroscience. Nothing is more deeply individual than the way your brain processes information from the outside environment, as your thoughts lead to behaviors, behaviors to actions, and actions to results.

Through this research, Anderson developed a model that explains how military personnel think and act. He found an explanation why the veterans who separate become unproductive in what they are trying to do during that two-year period. This, Anderson says, was the genesis of PreVeteran: self-transformation and enough time to complete that transformation.

Jason Anderson served as a C-130 Air Force pilot in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. (Courtesy of PreVeteran)

“[Active military] are a population of less than 1%, which is declining year on year and, upon transition, enter a non-veteran population, which includes managers and hiring executives, ”Anderson said. “Ninety-two percent of those who leave become employees, and 70% of them end up in the private sector. So we start aligning them earlier to meet the needs and wants of the private sector, because then they can actually articulate their value in the context of what the employer really wants.

Anderson calls the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), the US military’s current transition method, “Transition 1.0”. He wants his research and the PreVeteran program to usher in Transition 2.0.

“TAP has been around since 1991,” he says. “It has been around for 30 years. And if you look at the numbers over 30 years, nothing has changed. It is essentially a question of creating a market around a single methodology. We are trying to create an environment of military transition 2.0, an environment hyper-focused on the individual. This gives individuals very specific tools to use, as they are the ones who need to change, a private sector aligned self-transformation.

Pre-Veteran courses start at $ 497, and there’s a good reason for that.

“There’s a lot of research showing that you have to have skin in the game,” Anderson says. “So literally what we’re asking them to do is join it. They expect transformation, and that means they prioritize it a lot more than other things in their life, so they’re actually getting something out of it.

PreVeteran, which launched in 2021, has already graduated two cohorts and plans to start a third group in October. Anyone interested in learning more about PreVeteran and its bridging training courses should visit their website.

Veterans can learn more about Self-Transformation and Alignment by downloading PreVeteran’s free 5-step guide: How to Get the Job You Want After Your Military Transition.

The company is also launching a 5-week pre-employment course starting October 11 and a free pre-employment workshop on September 22, 2021. Just reserve a spot by visiting the course’s Eventbrite page.

Veterans interested in testing their readiness for transition should complete the PreVeteran Readiness to Use Questionnaire.

– Blake Stilwell can be contacted at [email protected] It can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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