Returning to civilian life is a complex undertaking. Many steps must be taken, and many questions must be answered. Transition assistance staff, personnel office staff, relocation specialists, education counselors, and many others can help, but only you and your family can make the critical decisions that must be made. A good beginning is for each departing Service member to develop an Individual Transition Plan (ITP).
The ITP is your game plan for a successful transition back to civilian life. It is a framework you can use to fulfill realistic career goals based upon your unique skills, knowledge, experience, and abilities. It is not a Department of Defense form. It is something you create by yourself, for yourself.
The ITP identifies likely actions and activities associated with your transition. Your Military Service has samples of ITPs that can help you. Check with your nearest military installation Transition/ACAP or Command Career Counselor (Navy) to review them. You can start developing your ITP by answering these simple questions:
1. What are my goals after I leave the military?
2. Where do I plan to live?
3. Do I need to continue my education or training?
4. Will the job market, where I plan to relocate, provide me the employment that I am seeking?
5. Do I have the right skills to compete for the job(s) I am seeking?
6. Will my spouse and family goals be met at our new location?
7. Am I financially prepared to transition at this time?
If you are uncertain about your future plans, now is the time to obtain all the assistance and information you need. Professional guidance and counseling are available at your Transition Office, as are workshops, publications, information resources, automated resources, and government programs. Take advantage of each one that pertains to your unique situation. It is your Individual Transition Plan: It is your responsibility and your life.
In addition to creating an ITP, you can determine what actions are associated with your transition by consulting with your Transition Counselor and using a document called the Pre-separation Counseling Checklist, DD Form 2648 for the active component and DD Form 2648-1 for the reserve component.
The checklist allows you to indicate the benefits and services about which you wish to receive additional counseling as you prepare your ITP. You will then be referred to subject experts who will gladly answer any questions you may have. Work through each element on the checklist, but select for further exploration only those resources that are appropriate for you.