Steps to smoother moves out of military milieu

Uniform2_thumbShaun Collins’ personal essay explored 1st hand some changes he experienced after he retired and stepped out of his uniform. The post resonated with many service members both in transition or planning on their move from a military to civilian milieu.

In part 2 we look into the source of part 1’s title:

 “If You Are What You Do – When You Don’t – You Aren’t”

And how he found his next steps a while into retirement from his military roles.

Shaun Collins spoke of his process to the Military Success Network site’s editor, Helena Kaufman. What follows is an excerpt from a conversation that took place on the phone just prior to the publishing of part 1 and Collins’ original writing on his transition.

Shaun, and I’ll call you that as I pose questions to you, based on your gentle request of others to do so in your essay. …You said your next steps were to figure out how to answer the question “What do you do”? [Read more…]


Who are you when you’re no longer in uniform?

Are we done yet with the season of  resolutions? Our lists of what we should do, change, improve, learn, stop, start? Can we now focus on our actual identity and how we want to BE rather than just do?

Guest columnist and military veteran, CW4 (Ret.) Shaun Collins explores how to be – when you find yourself on the civilian side of life. How to be – just a stone’s throw from your quarter century of service, carrying a rucksack full of memories and making your way through the transition zone. 

  • Part 1 – Asking: Who am I now?
  •                 And, how did I get here?
  • Part 2 – Answering to: What do you do?”

“If You Are What You Do – When You Don’t – You Aren’t”

by: Shaun Collins

Uniform2_thumbA few years ago, as I was retiring from the U.S. Army, I was asked by the Military Success Network’s leadership team to write about my preparation for the impending life change.  Although the preparation I engaged in was meaningful, I wish I had known about some of the emotional impact my retirement would have, especially on my identity. I could perhaps have better prepared for the mental and psychological perspectives  – both expected and not.

[Read more…]


Advice column reader asks about gun control – part 1 of 2

Is it gun control or constitutional infringement?“, asks a reader of the popular advice column called He Said She Said in the Guidon at Ft. Leonard Wood.

Questions you might have

Questions you might have

Here, the expanded version of the question includes the reader’s discovery that the He Said She Said columnist duo also guest blog for MilSuccessNet. Formerly known as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Shaun and Pam Collins are now fully retired and out of the closet where columnists with pseudonyms are kept working, under cover.

Shaun Collins responds today and next time we’ll read Pam’s point of view. It should be noted that what they write, represents their own personal opinion based on their work and life experiences.

But first, the question! [Read more…]


A little planning, a lot of satisfaction post military

MilSuccessNet invites you to follow the passage of CW4 (RET.) Shaun M. Collins from military career to civilian roles and new missions. We continue from part 1 and  so today we discover:

  • Alphabet soup  that spells out a 23 year career path 
  • Retirement applied for, delayed, manifested 
  • Education moves from pupil to teacher  
  • Planning well for an unfettered future

…and now in his own words…..we continue from part 1  

Shaun Collins

Shaun M. Collins


I spent the remaining 23 years of my career as a CID Special Agent and had the opportunity to attend FBI, DEA and other Federal Law Enforcement training courses. [Read more…]


Preparation is foundation of CW4 (Ret.) Collins’ transition from Active Duty

This week, we slide over a little on the blogger bench of  our valued military guest writers and make room for Shaun M. Collins.

Shaun M. Collins

Shaun M. Collins

  A native of Yreka, CA, Collins enlisted in the United States Army in October 1986, not long after his high school graduation. 

Today, he is a retired CID Special Agent/Forensic Science Officer, family man and educator. And, he’s agreed to share with MilSuccessNet readers some of his experiences, and the conscious and the “lucky” decisions that went into preparing for a satisfying and successful transition. 

Shaun Collins is co-author, with his real life partner, Pam Collins of “He Said / She Said.” The weekly advice column appears each Thursday in the “Guidon,” which is the post newspaper for Fort Leonard Wood, MO. 

Soon, military members’ questions in the popular column, known for it’s balanced and practical approach, will also be featured on Military Success Network.

But first, let’s share in the insights that resulted from Shaun Collins’  process. [Read more…]