Tag Archives: transition

Supporting Your Shipmate’s PCS Move

PCS_blog_image

Like any transition, permanent change of station (PCS) moves can be exciting, frustrating and stressful all at once. Recently, Navy announced that Sailors and their families can continue to expect shortened lead times for PCS moves through the end of the fiscal year: approximately two months or less.  This unpredictability can make the transition more challenging than usual, which is why it’s more important than ever to be there for your shipmates. Here’s what you can do:

During the “waiting period:”

The stress of not knowing can start to spill over into other areas of your shipmate’s life and lead them to feel overwhelmed or powerless. Small acts can help your shipmate regain predictability and controllability even without the firm details. Offer to help them get a head start on the things that they can tackle now, such as packing out of season clothing or taking inventory of rented household goods to expedite the return process. Even while waiting on official orders it’s a good idea to suggest that your shipmate reach out to their new command to connect with their sponsor as soon as possible. If their sponsor hasn’t yet been identified, offer to link your buddy with someone who’s navigated a short-notice move before and can share some helpful hints. Emotions can run high during any move and at times your shipmate may feel as if they’re the only one who’s going through this stress. Connecting with and learning from others who have been there can make the reality seem less daunting, along with practicing a few strategies to think positively.

Once orders are in-hand:

Ask what you can do, whether it’s packing or lending an ear. If your shipmate seems to have it all under control, it’s still important to pay attention to even the smallest signs of distress. Perhaps you’re already aware of relationship and/or family issues, financial strain, uncertainty about the new job, or other issues. These situations can intensify when facing major changes and may worsen if left unchecked. Encourage your shipmate to speak with someone who can help them work through things, such as a chaplain, leader or BeThere peer support counselor. Getting support early is vital to ensuring that stressors don’t turn into crises, especially when starting a new chapter in life.

During the move:

Stay connected so that your shipmate doesn’t lose the protection that a sense of community provides. Be sure to exchange updated contact information, ask about plans (travel dates, pit stops, arrival dates, etc.) and check in often. When you check in with your shipmate, nudge them to get adequate rest (seven to eight hours, supplementing deficits with brief naps), eat balanced even when on the go (fruits, veggies, lean protein and water), and take breaks to enjoy the journey.

If you notice signs of distress:

Leaving a familiar environment—especially quickly—can disrupt daily routines and social networks, increasing the likelihood of risky decision-making. If you are concerned about your shipmate, ACT immediately. You can call the Military Crisis Line on behalf of your shipmate to get them connected to services in their area.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to others to help connect the dots, such as your shipmate’s receiving command or a family member to help facilitate the intervention process if a potentially serious situation is evolving.

Staying connected not only helps to restore predictability and controllability; it promotes trust, strengthens Relationships and helps your shipmate find Meaning in challenges. It’s about being there for Every Sailor, Every Day.

Money Goals for Your 30s: Wise Up!

USS John C. Stennis activity

Money woes can lead to stress in other areas of life, not just your wallet. In the second installment of a three-part series on financial fitness during various ages and stages of one’s Navy career, guest blogger Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte, AFC, provides Sailors in their 30s with a few self-care tips to get a head start on achieving financial freedom. –NavyNavStress Note

With each passing decade of our lives comes the realization that the future will happen, our older and wiser selves become more of a reality, naiveté is shed (to some degree) and we are more acquainted with life’s responsibilities, obstacles and opportunities ahead. As you developed a sense of financial freedom in your twenties, you may have done things to secure your future such as setting up an emergency fund, automating deposits for your monthly savings and thinking twice before making purchases. Your thirties are a prime time to build upon that foundation now that you’re more established in your career and have a better sense of your personal, professional and family goals. Like in your twenties, keeping an eye on the future is vital so that you’re not jumping into life-changing financial commitments, living outside of your means or piddling away the progress you’ve achieved so far.

Here are a few tips to help on the road to financial wellness:

  1. Stick to your savings. Whether you built a cushion in your twenties or are just now getting around to it, consistent saving is one of your biggest wealth-building allies. Allocate and do your best to stick to saving ten to fifteen percent of your earnings for both short and long term goals such as retirement and/or transition from military to civilian life, major purchases, emergency savings, moving expenses, etc. Rather than saving whatever you have left over at the end of the month, pay yourself first to stay on track. P.S. – if you haven’t yet developed a budget so that you have a better roadmap for spending, debt reduction and saving, it’s time to get on it! Check out budgeting resources from Military OneSource here.
  2. Avoid the wealth effect. Making more money from bonuses, tenure or advancement does not mean that you should spend more. Challenge yourself to live on your previous take-home pay to reap the benefits of additional savings in order to meet your goals. Be wary of the temptation to “keep up with the Joneses” by impulsively using new money to reward yourself with luxuries. Having a financial plan for any new money can help you fund your next steps wisely rather than blowing through your gains without anything to show for them (besides a new tech gadget). If purchasing a bigger or newer car or home, or funding a vacation is a goal that you’re working toward, include savings for these milestones into your new money plan. You may also opt for using new money to increase your emergency fund, long-term savings or pay down debt.
  3. Prepare for transition. Many military members start a second career in their thirties—or are preparing to in their early forties—and must face new financial realities in terms of pay and benefits. Familiarize yourself with the new Blended Retirement System, which takes effect in 2018 and offers the option of a monthly annuity or lump sum plus reduced monthly annuity pay. Check out these infographics for a quick overview of the new system for active component and reserve component Keeping your transition from service in mind when making money decisions can help you stay ahead of stress down the line. Even making modest adjustments to your lifestyle—such as cutting back on buying lunch or making more meaningful strides to quit smoking (to benefit your health and wallet)—can help you pad your savings in the event that you don’t immediately re-enter the workforce.

While you may have been more of a risk-taker in the past, now that you’re a little wiser with a few more years under your belt, take a close look at your assets to ensure that your security isn’t on the line. Checking your credit report regularly through annualcreditreport.com (the only authorized website for free credit reports), reviewing your insurance coverage so that you can adjust based on your needs and find the best rates, and exploring ways to diversify your investments are wise money moves for this chapter in life. As always, continue to consult with your local Fleet and Family Support Center, Command Financial Specialist, Military OneSource personal financial counselors and local installation resources for specific guidance when you need it. For more tips, check out the resources below:

PCS Season is Here – Keep up with Your Shipmates

Many Sailors are preparing for upcoming Personal Change of Station (PCS) moves this summer, a transition that can bring about as much stress as it does excitement. Transitions can mean disruption to daily routines and separation from one’s social/support network (think exhausting and isolating cross-country drives for a PCS move, or transferring as a geobachelor). Even for experienced PCS pros who are eagerly awaiting the next chapter in their career and life, moves can be tough—particularly when they’re occurring during an otherwise stressful time.

While our shipmates may seem to have it all under control on the outside, it’s important to remain vigilant and pay attention to even the smallest signals that something isn’t right, particularly as they’re leaving a familiar environment and are heading to a new one. You may know bits and pieces about a shipmate’s life outside of the work center—relationship or family tension, financial issues, apprehension about career changes, etc.—but may feel as though you don’t know enough to get involved. Even though your buddy may casually dismiss his or her problems, or may not discuss them at length, reach out and offer your support and encourage him or her to speak with someone, perhaps a chaplain or trusted leader, before the situation becomes overwhelming. The likelihood of making a bad decision is higher when a person is in transition, so identifying resources early is vital to keeping your shipmate healthy and mission-ready.

If you notice anything out of the norm for your shipmate, break the silence and speak with others who know him or her well—a unit leader, roommate, family member or friend. They may have noticed the same cues or observed some that you weren’t aware of, helping to “connect the dots” and facilitate the intervention process. While you may not be able to tell if your shipmate is or isn’t in crisis on your own, by openly communicating to piece things together, you’re helping to ensure that your buddy has resources in place to help him or her build resilience and thrive in their next phase in life.

Ongoing communication is critical. Once your shipmate has checked out of your command, don’t lose track of him or her. Ensure that you have his or her accurate contact information, ask about upcoming plans, and check-in with them on their progress often. Remind your shipmate that they’re still a part of your family and that you care about their well-being. Preventing suicide starts by being there for every Sailor, every day—no matter where they are.

What’s Next? Navigating Transitions, Pt. 1

Transitions are an inevitable part of life, especially for Sailors. Even the most Transitions1anticipated transitions can bring about as much stress and fear as they do excitement (recall your first months in the Navy or the birth of a child). Transitions encompass everything from a leadership change, to marriage, divorce/break-ups, Permanent Change of Station, deployment, and retirement/separation from service. Each of these situations presents an opportunity to adapt to new circumstances, building resilience. Yet they may also interfere with your usual strategies for navigating stress.

You may be leaving your support network including friends, shipmates and leaders that you’ve come to trust and confide in, or feel like you’re going to be outside of your comfort zone in a new environment or phase of life. Maybe your upcoming transition will impact your finances or time management, or maybe you’re facing a major lifestyle change by leaving a geographic area that particularly suited your family’s needs. Even with smaller transitions, like career advancement, your existing fitness and wellness routines may be disrupted (including diet and nutrition). Regardless of the type of transition, recognizing that life will be different can be overwhelming at times, particularly when you encounter an unfamiliar situation or are managing multiple changes. It’s important to step back and evaluate how you can set yourself up for success in any situation. The 5 Principles of Resilience (Predictability, Controllability, Relationships, Trust and Meaning) can help you, your family and your command be more prepared, manage expectations, stay connected—and thrive.

In the upcoming weeks as a part of our NavyTHRIVE campaign, we’ll be discussing ways that Sailors, leaders and families can successfully navigate the various transitions that may be encountered during a Navy career (including the transition between a Navy and civilian career). We’ll also address how to recognize and assist a shipmate who is having difficulty navigating change, intervening before their struggles escalate into a life or emotional crisis. One critical key to success is a supportive command climate, with cohesion and open communication.

Stay tuned for our next post in the “What’s Next? Navigating Transitions” series when we discuss how to leverage Predictability and Controllability to help you make your next move your best move. Until then, remember “what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” —Richard Bach

This post originally appeared in LifeLink, the Navy Suicide Prevention Program Newsletter. To subscribe to this monthly publication, email suicideprevention@navy.mil or visit the LifeLink Newsletter webpage.

Navigating the ERB News

Navy life is exciting but it can also be stressful. Some stress can help us to perform at our peak level, however too much stress can be harmful. Knowing what to expect and where to go for help can ease the negative impact of stress. Looking ahead can help us be better prepared for life’s inevitable challenges.

The recent Enlisted Retention Board results are a case in point. Some Sailors and families are faced with the challenges of leaving the Navy, while others are losing their shipmates and friends. We are all affected. But there is help available. There are some valuable resources available to lessen the impact of uncertainty and help Sailors and families better navigate the ERB process.

The Navy Personnel Command has recently launched a section on their website to focus on the ERB process as part of their resources for those Sailors transitioning to civilian life.

The NPC website highlights:

–       Transition Handbook
–       Transition Resource Guide
–       US Chamber of Commerce Hiring our Heroes Career Fair links
–       and more

When you are feeling the negative affects of stress here are some things you can do that will help:

  1. Exercise
  2. Talk to someone you trust
  3. Eat healthy
  4. Visit your local Fleet and Family Support Center to find out what resources are available to you as you begin your transition
  5. Stay positive

Knowing your options and what resources are available are key to a successful transition. The Navy is taking great care to keep Sailors informed of their options, available resources and new opportunities through promotion of career forums like the recent VA Veteran Career Job Fair and Expo in Washington, DC, as part of the VA for Vets initiative.

“Sailors looking for further transition assistance resources can access TurboTAP at www.TurboTAP.org for 24/7 access to helpful pre-separation and transition guides, employment, education, relocation and benefits checklists and more. Other information about career options and employment opportunities is available at www.careeronestop.org, a Department of Labor website.”

“Our Sailors have served honorably and our Navy is committed to doing all we can to help them and their families successfully transition to the civilian sector,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West.

Complete information about all of the transition assistance resources available through CNIC and FFSC’s worldwide can be found at www.cnic.navy.mil.

More information on ERB transition assistance can be found on the NPC Web page at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/boards/ERB/Pages/TransitionInfo.aspx.

Source articles:
Early Retirement Option Approved for Some ERB-Separating Sailors
Transition Benefits: Many Are Available to All Sailors