CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

Barry ET Harris MBE, Proelium Law Senior Advisor and UK Army veteran, shares thoughts on how to successfully transition from the military to civilian life.

Whatever civilian life was like for you before joining the Armed Forces, your military career is bound to have been life-altering. Like me, you might not have been the most organised or disciplined, or in the best physical shape, and joined with an attitude problem; we all quickly found out that a military existence is a whole new world compared to civilian life. In basic training being called a “Civilian” by your instructor was not meant kindly.

As a Veteran, being called a Civilian again is just one of many new things to get used to.  Others include:

  • Going by your first name – it takes a while to get used to;
  • Not having a built-in group of mates;
  • A lack of banter, and the sudden appearance of political correctness. Be very careful how you deploy your finely-honed banter skills in Civvy Street, many will misunderstand and take refuge in taking offence quickly. Political Correctness really is not so bad, it’s just good manners;
  • Realising the camaraderie you were used to has gone, even if you didn’t like the person next to you that did not matter because you were all about acting for the “greater good” whereas in the Civilian world everything can be “for your own good”;
  • Everyone uses the AM/PM system;
  • Being able to be fired!
  • Aimlessness – it seems like everybody wanders around like they have no place to go;
  • People have their heads so deep in their phones they have no situational awareness, and poor social interaction;

In January of 1999, after 23 and a half years of service, I handed in my equipment and it was over. Once you have moved out and your terminal leave is completed, and the salary and pay statements from the MOD no longer arrive:

  • You finally feel free just to let loose, but that comes with a cost and takes a toll on your body and your wallet. This can lead you down the path of self-destruction. To live in total freedom from all restrictions is difficult. Freedom is not about being constantly told what to do, you do have to take responsibility for yourself.
  • No one is going to hold your hand. That might sound great! Decompress from military life, waste some time. I know a Sergeant Major who would have been violently shaking me, and shouting, “What the hell are you doing? Go sort yourself out!” But I didn’t have him there. I only had myself. It takes you to get YOU Nobody is going to help you.
  • You do not appreciate that the military life is over until it has been over for quite some time. There was the idea in my mind that I was no longer serving, and a Veteran, but it never really hit me until I had been a Civilian for a while. When it did happen, it was, concurrently a shock, terrifying, and an enormous feeling of relief – so at least concurrent activity at all levels!
  • The military’s transition process does not teach you everything. You must work, work, work, and work!
  • Once you’re out, you must work, work, work, and work to see any actual results.

Now that I am a civilian my work requires a lot of me, but so does family, and other pursuits such as further education, hobbies, and sports. This situation could be considered a “luxury problem”, and many Veterans may face it.

To be continued …

‘As a civilian, the choices are seldom so clear-cut. You have to be able to pick a path because you’re financing and livelihood depend upon it. But whatever way you select, choose the ones that provide a healthy work-life balance.’

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

Whatever civilian life was like for you before joining the Armed Forces, your military career is bound to have been life-altering. Like me, you might not have been the most organised or disciplined, or in the best physical shape, and joined with an attitude problem; we all quickly found out that a military existence is a whole new world compared to civilian life.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

Proelium Law Weekly PICINTSUM

Proelium Law Weekly PICINTSUM

Proelium Law is proud to launch a series of weekly picture intelligence summaries (PICINTSUMS) for the use of our clients, colleagues and contacts. Focusing on Iraq/Syria, Libya and Afghanistan/Pakistan these reports will be updated weekly on a Wednesday.

‘US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis announced 18 Sep 17 that the US will send more than 3,000 extra troops to Afghanistan as the Taliban gain ground against the Kabul administration’.

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

Whatever civilian life was like for you before joining the Armed Forces, your military career is bound to have been life-altering. Like me, you might not have been the most organised or disciplined, or in the best physical shape, and joined with an attitude problem; we all quickly found out that a military existence is a whole new world compared to civilian life.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

It used to be Train for Operations, now it’s Train to Work

It used to be Train for Operations, now it’s Train to Work

Barry Harris – Senior Advisor to Proelium Law LLP and UK military veteran – adds to his series of blogs aimed at veterans with some practical considerations when it comes to deciding what job to take.

Sun Tzu and Clausewitz are just as relevant to the commercial world as they are to defence

“If you know your enemies and you know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles…if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle” – Sun Tzu.

Still accurate as it was in the 6th Century BC, this quote by Sun Tzu is like your former military skills –  almost entirely transferable from the military to civilian spaces as it could read:

If you know your competition and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred opportunities…if you do not know your competition nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single venture.

To meet Armed Forces operational requirements, the military provides realistic, mission-focused individual, unit and leader training. Personnel are trained to succeed across a wide range of military operations. The resulting product of military training is a highly skilled, confident and motivated individual and effective commander.

Let’s civilianise that last paragraph…

To meet the commercial objectives of the company, it must provide realistic training to its personnel and Managers. Personnel are trained to succeed across a wide range of skills. The resulting product of this investment in training is a highly skilled, confident and motivated individuals and effective Managers.

Business and Military operations are very similar and both intensely competitive. No matter what business you are involved in, there is a hardened competitor who is ready to compete with you to win the business you want.

The strategy and tactics of the Military are very often relevant to the conduct of Business, and they are closely aligned with the thinking of Von Clausewitz.  In the 19th century, Clausewitz captured his Nine Principles of Strategy and they follow, described in the civilian context.

1. Objectives

All operations must have a clearly defined and actionable objective. Even minor initiatives and quick-wins must have objectives. Management sets the goals for employees, this is typically assessed quarterly by an individual performance evaluation, and measured by the bottom line.

2. Offensive

The attack is considered the primary means of achieving victory.  Like military operations, a business cannot be a success in defence alone. Successful companies take initiatives and reach objectives with the aggressive use of available resource.

3. Mass

Concentrate your resources at the right time and place for maximum effect. This principle of massing suggests that a business should focus resources to strike the market with the right product at the right time.

4. Economy of Force

Resources should deploy for maximum effect. No asset should be without a purpose. The resources used to achieve secondary objectives should be minimised. The allocation of resources should be continually measured and optimised.

5. Manoeuvre

Defeat an adversary by moving quickly and intelligently. Incapacitate their decision-making capabilities by surprising them with your movements.  Move fast, think faster.

6. Unity of Command

Responsibilities must be clear. Every objective must be the responsibility of exactly one Manager. Like Standard Operating Procedures, a business will have procedural manuals themselves, and like SOP’s they lay out procedures, process and responsibilities for different tasks and eventualities.  Don’t let them gather dust, make sure they are used.

7. Security

Protect your resources. Do not allow a competitor to achieve an advantage. All companies have somebody responsible for security, the physical alarms, cameras, safes, and keys, but also information, Cyber Security, and especially intellectual property. The OPSEC you were once accustomed to in the Armed Forces, is no less important commercially. Companies will operate a management structure and will have procedures in place to ensure the protection of Intellectual Property. Operational Security will be articulated in company procedures from the handling of information to reviewing existing employment policies for employees, including the screening on suppliers and consultants. Cyber Security is now at the forefront of protecting the “Crown Jewels” of an enterprise. Even marketing collateral and Social Media output will, by necessity, be controlled so as not to break OPSEC.

8. Surprise

Strike at a time, place and manner that is likely to surprise the competition.

9. Simplicity of Order

The Armed Forces are the absolute masters of this. It is very rare that companies have a set format for a report, instruction or document, sometimes even the progression of ideas in a business can be unclear, and meetings muddled. Your military training equips you with a capability that few civilians possess.  Make your orders simple, succinct, clear and to the point. Intricate instructions can be misunderstood, mismanaged or botched.

In this, as in so many other areas, military service has equipped you to be a success in the civilian market place.  Have the confidence and get that job.

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

Whatever civilian life was like for you before joining the Armed Forces, your military career is bound to have been life-altering. Like me, you might not have been the most organised or disciplined, or in the best physical shape, and joined with an attitude problem; we all quickly found out that a military existence is a whole new world compared to civilian life.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

Barcelona Attack

Barcelona Attack

Marc Simms is an occasional blogger for Proelium Law LLP. Marc holds a MLitt in Terrorism Studies and a Masters in International Relations, both from St Andrews. His particular interests are in emerging international security issues, unconventional warfare and terrorism.

The vehicle-borne attack in Barcelona on Thursday the 17th  August served to highlight the ongoing vulnerability of urban centres to this terrorist tactic.  The Las Ramblas attack, which killed 13 and injured over 100, is only the latest in a string of vehicle-based attacks in Europe, and came only shortly after a far-right extremist carried out a similar attack in Charlottesville on Saturday August 12th, killing one.

As there is no easy way to effectively counter these kind of attacks, the likelihood is that they will become increasingly attractive to both terrorist groups looking to carry out low-risk, high-return attacks and to lone wolf terrorists, without easy access to other methods of attack.

Worrying elements of the Barcelona cell

The Barcelona cell was clearly preparing for more attacks.  On the day after the Barcelona attack, a woman was killed in a second vehicle attack in the coastal town of Cambrils, just over an hour’s drive away from Barcelona.  A safe house linked to the cell was also the site of an explosion on the day before the Las Ramblas attack.

In the aftermath of the blast, Spanish police have recovered over 120 gas bottles.  It is believed that some of these gas containers leaked, which led to the explosion.  The Spanish believe that the cell intended to use these gas containers, in conjunction with three vans, to create vehicle-borne improved explosive devices (VBIEDs) to carry out a much larger, far more devastating attack.  However, the explosion on Wednesday night had caused the cell to alter their plans, leading to next day’s attack.  The cell had likely surmised it would only be a matter of time before the explosion was linked to terrorism, and decided to act as soon as possible as a result.

Another notable factor is that the cell mostly comprised of much younger terrorists than we have previously seen ISIS using.  Many of the cell were either teenagers or in their early 20s, and of mostly Moroccan background.  They were considered “well-integrated” and had no history of violent extremism, though it is not clear whether they have been involved in other criminal activities, as has been the case with many ISIS recruits in Europe.

Radicalisation in Spain

The Barcelona attack is the first successful terrorist attack by jihadist terrorist groups in Spain since the 2004 Madrid train bombings.  Spain has a reputation for effective counter-terrorism operations, partially a legacy of its conflict with ETA, allowing it to routinely identify and disrupt planned attacks in the country.

Despite this, the Catalonia region of Spain has been long considered a potential hub for Islamist extremism.  A US State Department memo from 2007 noted that Al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam had both recruited in Barcelona, and that immigrants from Pakistan and North Africa there “live on the edges of Spanish society”, suffer from high unemployment, do not speak the local language and have few opportunities to practice their religion easily.  As such, this combination of factors “provide fertile ground for terrorist recruitment”.

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

Whatever civilian life was like for you before joining the Armed Forces, your military career is bound to have been life-altering. Like me, you might not have been the most organised or disciplined, or in the best physical shape, and joined with an attitude problem; we all quickly found out that a military existence is a whole new world compared to civilian life.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

Personal Value Defined (Without PT Scores or Military Evaluation Records)

Personal Value Defined (Without PT Scores or Military Evaluation Records)

Barry ET Harris MBE, Proelium Law Senior Advisor and UK Army veteran, shares thoughts on how to successfully transition from the military to civilian life.

Defining your values is important; they are reflections of your needs, desires, and what you care about most in life. Values are a cohesive force of our identity, and can often be decision-making guidelines. Defining your values can help you understand what to follow using a strong moral compass. Veterans have experienced so much in life, and that experience defines them and equips them with a moral courage that may not be evident in Civvy Street. Personal core values guide behaviour and choice, in theory much like company core values. But it can sometimes be difficult to align or accept the stated core values of an employer, especially if those values are wrong or ambiguous. Some positive core values that are attractive to employers are:

Truth

You will function best when you are direct and honest, although you will need to learn how to moderate some of that military directness. Being direct and honest needs to start in your CV. Openness and honesty breed the best responses as ‘there’s money in honesty’.

Diligence

Management is an applied science in the Armed Forces. Punctuality, and responding to messages almost immediately, is SOP. Veterans do not leave things hanging and are mission focused. Ensure that any statements made are substantiated, speak in absolutes only if you have completed the reconnaissance and finalised the research.

Consistency

Hypocrisy is deadly. Be consistent in your values and how you impact on those around you.  Employers seek consistency in their employees; it never hurts to have some experience, and Veterans have plenty of that!

Creativity

You might think that you would not need creativity as a core value, but it is highly valued by employers. Veterans are incredibly creative, born from a life of doing the most with the least, on time and on target!

Impact

Veterans tend to think like most entrepreneurs and see potential everywhere. Some personal traits like passion, integrity, and energy are subconscious core values followed by instinct, and they are ingredients in the impact a Veteran can make. In high-stress situations, performing professionally at a very high level of competency is an impact that Veterans can have in the workplace.

Humility

In Civvy Street people don’t wear their CV. Badges of rank, qualifications, awards and accolades have no place as corporate bling. You will have to determine and display your personal value without these aids. This might be difficult for some former Armed Forces personnel who are used to wearing their badges all year round. You can wear a lapel pin; I recommend the Veterans badge! The sudden absence of badges of rank does not mean there is no rank in the civilian world. What can you do? It is simple; be polite and treat everyone with respect.

An Exercise in Defining Personal Value

Exploring your values requires much introspection. Turn off your phone, relax and focus. Recollect the summits and valleys within your experiences that have had the most impact on your life. What we value ultimately stem from our needs which make us passionate about our values! Study your human needs they will relate to your personal values.

What is your list of values?

As Veterans, your personal value, your values, and impactfulness define you and will raise awareness of Veterans and their value in the workplace, and to the nation.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

Whatever civilian life was like for you before joining the Armed Forces, your military career is bound to have been life-altering. Like me, you might not have been the most organised or disciplined, or in the best physical shape, and joined with an attitude problem; we all quickly found out that a military existence is a whole new world compared to civilian life.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

THERE ARE THINGS VETERANS CAN FIND CONFUSING – PART 2

THERE ARE THINGS VETERANS CAN FIND CONFUSING – PART 2

In this second of 2 blogs, Barry ET Harris MBE, Proelium Law Senior Advisor and UK Army veteran, shares thoughts on how to successfully transition from the military to civilian life.

The transition from the Armed Forces to being functionally on your own is not easy. Some issues that Veterans can struggle to adjust to when they start dealing with Civvy Street are …

BUSINESS LANGUAGE

Military language is awash with acronyms. Many regiments and units have their own unique internal language that can bewilder outsiders. This is no different for industries and companies. Navigating military language has trained Veterans to speak clearly, confidently, and in terms their peers understand. In the commercial world, it is simply a matter of learning a new jargon.

HOW TO FIND A NEW CAREER PATH

A big problem with leaving the Armed Forces and moving to “industry” is that you have come from a role that was clearly-defined and were trained how to do it well. Veterans can feel like they’re one-trick ponies. However, remember how fast the military trained you in new skills — anyone who’s earned a specialisation in the Armed Forces can easily learn something new in civilian life as well.

TAKING TIME OFF

Off-duty is off-duty and, in the military, things will be taken care of when you are away.  That is becoming less true of civilian holidays. The advent of smartphones and internet create a virtual tether to work, and employers are more and more convinced that their employees are always available. Be prepared to learn how to push back.  Control of your work – life balance is very important.

HEALTHCARE

Healthcare in the Armed Forces is well covered during your service. Injuries and other immediate needs are treated quickly; hospital waiting lists were not a concern for you if you needed long-term care of any kind. The civilian healthcare system, on the other hand, is chaotic, can be expensive, is often viewed as a barely-functional mess and can be a political football.  Know your options. Most Veterans have eligibilities, and if you have a disability it may be covered entirely. Make sure that you seek advice before leaving to get all the benefits to which you may be entitled. Step 1 is to get registered with a local GP and a dentist.

INSURANCE

Health insurance can be a big worry, particularly if you are working overseas.  Your car or motorbike needs to be insured (it’s illegal to drive uninsured), homes and belongings require insurance to protect against fires and other calamities. Importantly men and women with families should have a life insurance policy to protect their dependents.

Clarify your second career aims, ask ‘the right questions’ and focus.

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

CIVILIAN: NOW THAT’S A NAME I HAVE NOT HEARD IN A LONG TIME – PART 1

Whatever civilian life was like for you before joining the Armed Forces, your military career is bound to have been life-altering. Like me, you might not have been the most organised or disciplined, or in the best physical shape, and joined with an attitude problem; we all quickly found out that a military existence is a whole new world compared to civilian life.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

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