Job transition ups status & stress for civilian now supervising co-workers

Rising in the ranks can create changes in the team dynamics. Today’s Q & A presents a civilian who’s earned added ‘stripes’ by taking on a new, leadership role supervising former colleagues.

BossStress can rear its head for the team and for the one bestowed with new duties and perceived status. You’ll find this insight from both Pamela and from Shaun Collins useful. Their response to a query posted in their regular He Said She Said column was featured first in Ft. Leonard Wood‘s My Guidon and is reprinted with a light edit here for our community:

The Q:   I’m a Department of the Army civilian employee and have recently taken on a team leadership role at work. Two of the women in my section, whom I consider to be very good friends, have had trouble accepting this change. They refuse to help when I ask for their support, so I end up doing the work myself. My supervisor told me that I should not be doing their work for them. How can I convince my co-workers to give me a break? [Read more…]


One woman’s military life. Is this how it is?

What it’s really like to be a woman in the military

Less than one percent of everyone in the USA joins the armed forces. Women make up only eighteen percent of that, but as a woman in the military myself, I can say with absolute certainty that that eighteen percent gives it their best and more.That’s not to say that it’s easy. The training is tough, the uncertainty and being far away from your friends and family is even harder. It puts a strain on your body and on your mind, no matter how tough you are going in. So what does it take join the military as a woman?
It takes other women.

[Read more…]


A soldier’s Coming Out in a season of Pride

For a soldier, as for any citizen who is leading a whole life there are seasons of growth, study, work and family. At each stage, there is reflection and there are decisions and hopefully support for them.

Advice columnists

Advice columnists

A soldier seeks an answer on how to stay true to his identity as a gay man and also to share this with his unit. A timely question, it is answered here by Shaun and Pamela Collins in their He Said She Said column. It appeared at Ft. Leonard Wood‘s publication, the Guidon under the original title: Soldier considers ‘coming out’ as partner moves here.

MilSuccessNet is reposting it given that USA now has the Marriage Equality Act and it’s the season of Pride events across the country.

Here in their own words, including the soldier who wrote in: 

Ever since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed I have wanted to be more honest with my unit about my sexuality. [Read more…]


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…]


“Keep Up the Good Fight” One Veteran’s impact on his family

imageOn Veterans Day, contributing writer Rosie Rebel posts a reminiscence on the life and times of her WWII Veteran grandfather. Through the values he brought to his military service and the experience he took from it, he impacted three generations. Rosie honors his service and what he shared about history’s unfolding with his family.

Below is her account and snip of a voice recording of the family listening to him speak of his D-Day service and experience at Omaha Beach. [Read more…]


Garden harvest sows discontent with pushy neighbor

Career Soldiers with more than 50 years of service between them, MilSuccessNet guest writers Shaun and Pamela Collins have hardly gone to seed in “retirement.” They’ve tended their own well planted garden of career and lifestyle transition. It has yielded opportunities to apply their training and experience as they teach, travel, contribute to their community and write.

With fall’s arrival comes this column of practical advice on handling a neighbor with big eyes. It is reprinted with kind permission from their original column in The Guidon at Ft. Leonard Wood.

Here is this week’s question that they answer entirely in their own words …..

QUESTION:   I have a small garden at my house, and when I mean small, I mean several potted tomatoes and two cucumber plants and one pepper plant. Barely enough for my own Family, but my neighbor asks me every day when am I going to be bringing him some produce. 

……At first I thought he was joking, actually rubbing it in about the size of my “farm” but the other day my wife picked four cucumbers and he asked if he could have two. I wasn’t home, but he told my wife that I had said he could share the results. She brushed it off as joking, but he did not. [Read more…]


Valhalla Project’s Resident “Old Vet” Speaks on Veteran Isolation

“I feel like I’m all by myself, isolated with nobody to talk to. I never talk to my family or civilian friends about my experiences.They don’t understand and never will, so I just avoid the subject.”


Gordon Cucullu, Lt Col (Ret.), says he hears this repeatedly from contemporary vets. So often that he says it’s become a mantra. He wonders why this is such a universal phenomenon?


Korea 1970 Cucullu early service years

Korea 1970 Cucullu early service years

So, we give over WoW, our Words on Wednesdays today to the wisdom of the ‘old vet’ resident at the Valhalla Project. Valhalla is a place where warriors seeking respite, are enjoined to work with their hands in nature. There they find clean air and easier talk of their troubles and their triumphs, with others who understand, even if in just the sounds of side by side work in the wild. [Read more…]


Get over yourself n’ get along, civvy hubby told

A male, civilian spouse finishing up his advanced degree struggles to find his place within his Soldier wife’s family.  Suggestions and a gentle well placed kick of their veteran boots comes from Ft. Leonard Wood’s fine advice columnists, Pam and Shaun Collins. What do you think of their suggestions for the civilian fella’s attitude and their advice on how to manage a longer visit well?

Tyne out of place in the family set

Tyne out of place in the family set

READER Quandry: First, let me frame up my issue. When someone says, “your wife wears combat boots,” I take it as a compliment, because she is the Soldier and I am the spouse. I was never in the military, only a Family member.  While my wife is in the military, I have taken the last year to work on my doctoral dissertation. It requires a lot of hours, fieldwork, clinical studies and writing, re-writing and re-writing again.  [Read more…]


A look at leadership… from the business end

Your experiences moving through military to civilian workplace transitions may feel, at times, like you’ve landed on foreign turf. Expectations and modes of expressions seem strange. Leadership, a prized quality and understanding gained by military members, also seems to pass through foreign filters.


Glenn Llopis

Glenn Llopis

You are invited today to share with our community your thoughts. Does this corporate guide offered up by Forbes Magazine contributor, Glenn Llopis, measure up to Leadership as you experienced it during service?

The full article, minus photos and book links is reprinted for you below. About his work Llopis says, “I share the immigrant perspective on leadership and workplace innovation.” It feels right to offer this up to MilSuccessNet readers who have often expressed that transition back to ‘home base’ feels like a new culture and country.

Now.. in his own words, 15  locked in leadership coordinates… [Read more…]