ADF Careers information and recruitment preparation
ADF Careers information and recruitment preparation

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Defence Career Transition

I am appreciative of my Service, and it is always important to realise that you were your own person before you joined – you should not be defined by the job you have. You can be proud of it, and so you should, but it shouldn’t form your identity. Over the years, I have seen Defence members struggle in and outside the organisation, toying with the idea of identity, clinging on to their career profile like a bad relationship.

Self-realisation is important for a Defence Career Transition

Self-realisation is defined as fulfilment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality. One day you will need to hang up the uniform and pursue other things in life – it is inevitable. Although my service had taken up a considerable amount of my current working life, it is a chapter in my story. I am proud of my Service, the organisation, and would challenge anyone struggling to come to the grips of their life choices: if you are angry, frustrated, unfulfilled, you have the ability to make the change.

ADF Career Transition Guide

Download our free guide to help you with your transition process. Please get in contact at info@hoplite for your suggestions and feedback. 


Leaving Defence is like packing 2 suitcases. One suitcase is your Unique Value Proposition as a Veteran.

In one suitcase, you put in all the learned Defence skills that have no place in your life after Service. In the other, you pack the skills and qualities that are relevant. The first suitcase, don’t forget about it and throw it in the river, store it away. You may need it from time to time. The other suitcase, are the skills and qualities that make you highly employable.

These are qualities and skills like planning, communicating, courage and initiative. Being angry and confronting your new work colleague who is 5 minutes late to your new work environment, not adopting a ‘compliant’ hair cut to your standards and grilling them is a sure way to becoming highly unpopular and potentially unemployable.

Don’t be afraid to talk to a mental health professional – it was the best thing I did on my career transition, and I wish I had done it earlier in my life.

My transition out of Defence made me realise that although I have adopted some great skills and abilities, they don’t necessarily translate to the civilian world. To this, I sought out a mental health professional to assist me with this, and I will be honest when I say that I would have never have thought I would have been impacted by transitioning from Defence.

Defence sets you up with skills, yes, and stories, and experiences that no-one in your new environment will even dream of participating in. This doesn’t help. Reliving past experiences, and expecting an attentive audience on your transition to the civilian world is not realistic – no one cares. Harsh but true. Don’t turn to those around you for fulfilment, reach down in yourself and find your own fulfilment elsewhere in life.

Defence Industry offered a ‘Soft Landing’ for my career transition

I left the Army and started working fulltime within Defence Industry as a consultant – supporting the research, development, introduction into service of military capability material. I am contracted back to Defence, through a private organisation. I have thoroughly enjoyed my new career, and it has given me a ‘soft landing’ in the sense that I am enabled to employ Defence skills and qualities, whilst working in ‘like’ Defence environments, working for the Services.

This is appealing as it gives me time to really work out ‘what’ I want to do; it doesn’t feel like I have left the Services. I can stay connected, and share my recent Defence experiences with other stakeholders in the development of Defence capability. 

Keep serving Part-time. Why not continue your Defence career?

I am currently serving within the Army Part-time, and this has been great to continue to contribute to the organisation and receive a tax-free income as an incentive. I highly recommend maintaining your Defence service, in a part-time capacity if you can manage. There is enough flexibility these days with working arrangements, so it is achievable and sustainable. 

Where to from now?

I hope you have either learnt something or are challenged by reading this – it at least should spark a thought. I am eager to hear your thoughts, please email to share them with me.

Defence Career Transition. ADF Career Transition. Veteran Career.

Sam Kourloufas, Hoplite Founder

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