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New Military Spouse? Step 1: Join Community Groups, Attend Events

By Jenna Moede

I hope no one feels as awkward as I did when I first married into the military. The title of “military spouse” made me really, really uncomfortable. In fact, I let it make me miserable until I started embracing my new city.  

Because of our spouses, we get to call two communities home: the military community and the local community outside the gate. Once I realized how lucky that made me, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started understanding how to fit in. 

I owe it all to working hard at making friends and letting go of my fears. I recommend that every new spouse try those two things if they’re feeling down!

Coming straight from a college campus where I had met most of my friends as a freshman, making friends as the latecomer didn’t feel natural. Wedging myself into already established friend groups intimidated me, but I knew that spouses come from different places in life and that everyone felt like the newbie at some point.

It turned out I had nothing to worry about because no one excluded me as the newcomer, and most people understood my struggle. Because families constantly moved, groups never really got as established as they seemed.  

I started really meeting new people through work. I built my network and I met some personal friends.  Some of those people had affiliations to the military and some didn’t, but it didn’t matter either way. I really enjoyed not relying on someone else, like my husband, to make friends for me.

As my circle continued to grow, other community relations fell into place. I still had to work hard, but it did seem as if opportunities kept knocking, and I just had to open the door.

One of those doors led me to volunteering. It became both a way to network and a way to spend time giving back to the new place I called home. I found, and still find, most of the volunteer work online, through my job, and through the base newspaper and websites. If anyone would like to volunteer, those resources are a great start.  

I also enjoyed finding out about upcoming events through volunteering that I might not have known about otherwise. Now, I constantly get invited to join in activities, and I truly feel at home in this community because of it. 

Joining community groups also helped me feel connected to my environment. It made me nervous at first to go to group meetings where I didn’t know anyone, but everyone always welcomed me. It eventually got easier to step out of my comfort zone.

Since joining my first group, I have found additional groups on our base’s social media pages, the public library, local websites and the events section of the newspaper.

I do, however, wish that I had joined a study group during my undergraduate studies as another way to get involved. Studying with my friends always motivated me on campus, and I think a local study group would have done the same. A study support group can help inspire members even when they don’t attend the same college or classes. Finding one in your local area, might give you the push you need to go back to school.  

Lastly, and most importantly, I had to change my attitude. I know not everyone needs an attitude change, but I think everyone feels insecure sometimes. I had to stop telling myself that I didn’t belong.  After getting married I felt like an outsider here and I thought that people judged me when I didn’t know exactly what to do. 

I even forgot my ID in the car while shopping at the commissary for the first time alone. Looking back, I could have easily gone out to my car before checkout, but I got so embarrassed that I just put all the food back and ran out. 

It took a while before I would go back in alone, but once I stopped acting so nervous and learned the ropes, I finally gained enough confidence.  Realize that you don’t have to always know what to do. That was my toughest and most awkward lesson.   

Feeling like I fit into the community boiled down to putting in the effort and acting confident until I actually felt confident. I stopped hesitating and second guessing and put my whole heart into getting the most out of life.

I feel most excited that I get to leave a part of myself behind when we move someday, and I will take something very special with me from this community. I put down roots, I made this place part of me.

Busted? Looking for a Job, but Didn’t Tell Your Boss?

If your boss caught you red-handed looking for another job, hopefully it wasn’t because you left your resume on the copy machine or she saw your headline change on LinkedIn.

But if it was one of these or any other misfortune, you’ve got some explaining to do. The best thing to do is to be honest.

“Fess up and tell them that you are looking for a new job. But also, tell them why,” said Abby Kohut, human resource professional and contract recruiter ( “If they like you they may try to convince you to stay.”

For example, no one will fault a professional for managing his or her career, which often means checking out the market for potential opportunities or to see how you measure up and where you need development.

Make this an opportunity to discuss your findings and potential next steps at your current company. Elicit the boss’ help and advice on what training you could get, what projects might arise or what vacancies may come up internally and he just may be flattered enough to give it, now that he sees you could leave.

“Or, they may send you packing,” Kohut said.

If the real reason you are looking for work has to do with intense dislike for your current job, your boss or your co-workers, tread lightly. They might feel the same about you and welcome the chance to open the door for you to leave.

But, until you get the next job, take this chance to professionally discuss what you are unhappy about and how it can be fixed so you don’t burn any bridges.

And, from now on, proceed with caution.

“Don’t give permission for potential employers to call your current employer,” Kohut said. “It’s typical. They shouldn’t expect to call them and get you in trouble. There is no explanation needed.”

Being discreet can be tricky but it’s worth it.

“Don’t tell everyone in your network or at work that you are looking (for a job). You never know who you can trust, so keep it confidential for as long as possible,” she said.

Branding Your Business

By Amy Nielsen

Working on the road again and school has me staring to think about branding my business. What image do I want to present to the world? What is my elevator speech? Can I tweet my business mission statement?

Currently, I am traveling in the greatest state in the union for branding, Florida. I should have lots of excellent examples to examine up close and personal.

What exactly is branding anyway? If you type “branding” into Wikipedia you come up with no less than four major categories of branding, containing 17 subcategories. They range from livestock branding to vehicle title management branding to faith branding. There is even an entry for BDSM branding, but I digress. Thanks wiki – didn’t need that at 5 a.m.

Back to branding. Google says, “/brand/ verb, 1. Mark (an animal, formerly a criminal or slave) with a branding iron. 2. Assign a brand name to.”  Hmmm, well, since I am not going to put a hot iron to myself just yet, that’s not the most helpful entry in the Grand Google vocabulary. says, “Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”

Ok, great, now we are getting closer to something I can work with.

Branding is a giant, totally wonderful and totally infuriating journey into the depths of yourself and your business. Because, let’s be honest, this business is about what you personally bring to the table. Even if you have partners, each one of you has to decide what your piece of the whole package looks like. Then together, you can choose what the brand will look like.

The most basic question starts with you.

Are you a visual person or a words person? Once you decide this you can start to gather the concepts you want to work with. If you are a visual, pictures person, I suggest a visual pin board, either internet based - for old school freaks like me – cork bulletin boards and magazines. If you are a words person you can start to gather words that speak about your endeavor. Passages out of books, individual words, fonts, and even music, work in this realm.

Take the time and spend the hours to really go far out and wide in this phase of your gathering. Gather as much as you can – this is the time to cast a wide net. Think about all five senses, even if you don’t use all five in your business.

Think about every aspect of your business. What does it look like from your perspective, from that of your employees’ and from your client’s viewpoint? What does it smell like in your office? Is your business card glossy or matte? Why that shade of green and not this shade of green? Sage leaf or rosemary needle?

The next part of the process is crucial.

Go look at the competition. Find out who does what you want to do. How do they look personally? Are they professionally attired for your industry? What colors do they use in their logo? Do several of them use the same or similar language?

I’m not talking about industry standard speak, I’m talking about lingo or tone. Do they use the same or similar pictures or graphics? Follow some threads and find out who is linked to who. What media do the majority of competitors use to get their word out?

Even if you have been in your industry for a while you still must do this step, especially if you have been in the industry for a while. Often, new business owners take this step for granted. They think they already know who their competition is. Take my word for it, don’t skip this step.

Figure out why and how to set yourself apart by figuring out how your competition is all the same.

There is one last piece of this gathering stage that has to be addressed. Who are your clients?

Think you have it figured out? But did you really think about it. What do they want from you? Why do they want your services? Why don’t they want the other gal’s advice? Look specifically at each of the five senses categories you created for yourself and for your competitors, and now make one for your client base. Know exactly who you want to draw into your office.

Regardless of which type of person you are, you will eventually need to work in the other medium so the second phase in the process is to gather corresponding images or words for your first lists. So if you are a visual person, what words work to convey your concepts? Find a thesaurus. Same for you Mr. Word Monger. Play with paints. Get messy. Get creative.

Take the same amount of time whittling down the ideas you gathered in great swathes to a refined, elegant, concise image, word - and Tweet. Yes, Tweet. If you can tell me what you produce in 140 characters, then you can sell it to any venture capitalist anywhere. Which means you can sell it to pretty much anyone.

Think about the examples I am hanging out with this week: Disney and Universal Studios. Both are terrific examples of well branded companies who have stuck to their original branding with little change because it fit the original concept so well.

Can you tweet what Disney is all about? Can Disney tweet what Disney is all about? Let’s think about another brand that has undergone several changes. Pepsi Co. is local to the Orlando area. Can you think of how many different versions of the Pepsi logo and product you can think of? It’s a strong brand, but it doesn’t really fit, it keeps getting reworked both in logo and product.

So now it’s time to go play in the brand of you. Remember to start with you. Use your five senses. Who, what, why, where, when and how are you going to do what it is you do? What exactly is it that you do? Can you taste it? Are the blinds red or the curtains purple in the office? Then see who walks in your door. Now, know why they are in your business and not your competitors. Once you know all of this – then you know your brand.

Congrats! You’re a Military Spouse, Now What?

By Jenna Moede

I remember packing up the minivan that my parents gave me for college and driving out to meet my fiancé for our courthouse wedding.  I had this really pretty picture in my head about how easy married military life would be. 

Coming from a family with many service members, I thought I knew what to expect. But, I’ve dealt with a few twists along the way to my perfect picture.

Expect imperfections 

I expected to move into a great house on base with absolutely no problems. Reality hit the day my door wouldn’t open and my window fell out of place.   

Housing had built the house 30 years prior in a neighborhood we affectionately called Cardboard Heights.  I had expected perfection, but instead, I had to opportunity to learn patience and how to jerry rig almost anything.

It took time, but I realized success, even in the military, comes from hard work just like everything else.  My husband had to dedicate his time to his flight and his job.  With his success came many benefits, but while he spent his time working hard, I started doing everything in my power to make my perfect picture our reality.

Focus on More than the Military 

When we were first married, I let my husband’s schedule dictate everything I did: my job, meet ups with friends and the classes all revolved around his unpredictable military schedule. 

And, I thought we had to spend every second together since we never knew when he would have to leave for a long time. 

After about a year of planning my days and weeks around his, I figured out that making plans that revolve around the military would never work.  Even though the time we spent together was valuable, I had to live my own life too.

I understand now that I can make plans without always taking his hectic work schedule into account. It’s great to make plans together, but sometimes our plans don’t mesh and it’s a relief to know that it’s okay!   

Maintain Personal Interests

It’s so easy to get caught up in the military life and feel like you don’t have any time to do things for yourself.  Unfortunately, that type of thinking made me feel lost. 

Eventually I became involved in things I enjoy. I could only make that leap after I stopped letting the military schedule control my personal schedule.

I started coaching a soccer team, studying harder, and getting out on my own.  I also tried new things that interested me, and I developed new hobbies.  

Discovering what made me happy and what motivated me to get up every morning boosted my mood and attitude.  Maintaining my personal interests made me a better spouse, employee and friend.


Pursue Education

I think that everyone has something that makes them tick.  For me, English and education give me incentive to keep working hard to meet my goals.  Lucky for me, I can use both of them.

College doesn’t interest everyone, but for some, it’s something they want to pursue. They just don’t know how.  I have talked to so many spouses that want to push themselves to start or finish their education, but they continually put it off. 

When I first got married, I thought about postponing the last few classes of my education.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt because military families moved too much and employers didn’t want a person that could leave at any time. 

I’m so glad I decided to finish my education without a break.  I found that employers really didn’t care that my husband was in the military.  They wanted to see what I could offer their business at that moment. 

I gained so much confidence and I grew so much as person all because of the doors opened to me by my education.  If you forget the reasons that are standing in the way and pursue your interests, there will be so many more opportunities.  

Enjoy the Community

I really felt uprooted after being a part of a college community that felt like home.  After the excitement of moving wore off, I felt miserable in Wyoming.  I did not even begin to feel comfortable until I started really getting involved.

Because I had the education to land a job I loved, I met businesspeople and friends with no military affiliation.  The people I met through work told me about activities and community events, and they also really helped me network. 

Once I really began engaging with the local people and events, I found that I really did belong in this community.  I figured out that fitting in is about putting myself out there.  

I wish I had known these five things from the start of my marriage, but getting a little lost gave me that knowledge. Remembering that I’m more than a military spouse drives me to keep pursuing my goals. 

Cold and Flu Season is Coming – Are you Too Sick for School?

If you’ve walked into class recently and noticed a decline in attendance, a round of the cold or flu virus might just be making its way through the campus hallways.

Flu season peaks between December and March, though illness can begin appearing in early fall and last into the spring.

Don’t know the difference between the two?

Cold: Symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, congestion and cough. Fevers are uncommon. Lasts about three days to a week.

Flu: Similar symptoms such as sore throat, cough and congestion but the flu virus can come with a nasty wallop of headache, muscle aches and soreness as well as vomiting and diarrhea. The flu can leave you feeling miserable for a week or longer.

But, should you skip class to treat yourself?

Medical experts say a light cold can often be easily treated with over the counter medications. Most people can muscle though their day with minimal misery. Colds, however, are contagious, so wash your hands often and sneeze into a tissue.

If you have the more severe symptoms of the flu, stay home, experts say. Give yourself time to recover, this means staying in bed, resting, drinking fluids and avoiding college fun, work and class.

And perhaps most important, communicate with your professors. If you are too sick to head to class, they will appreciate you not spreading the virus. But, they also appreciate you letting htem know what is happening so you can stay on top of your classwork.

Work, Work Hard, But Take Time To Recharge

By Amy Nielsen

It’s fall in upstate New York where I live. The leaves are turning and the air is getting crisp. October is always my favorite season, yes, season. I have lived in many places in the world and there is nothing like fall in New England, especially October in New England.

Even in other parts of the world at similar latitudes, with similar trees, there is just something different about New England. The only place I have been where it is similar, yet a different magic is cast upon the land, is the Scottish Highlands. In October. Go figure.

Fall is a time of natural inward and downward motion. A time when we gather what we have moved outside, back to inside. Literally, as we bring in the summer lawn toys and start to put away the summer short wear, and figuratively as we begin to think about family and self as the season turns to the table-centered holidays. The opposite time is spring or March. Which, in New England, we call Mud Season. But I’ll get to spring later.

October is a transition time, seasonally and culturally. Seasonally the earth changes colors, the weather goes through a burst of activity, the temperatures are vastly different day to night and the days are noticeably shorter. Culturally, most families have settled into the new school year routine. In the corporate world, this is the first month in many where all employee team members are on the job at the same time since summer vacations punctured productivity.

The big numbers the country runs on appear now in advance of all of that extra spending we will do in the next three months. Or not. And we won’t even begin to talk about the political shenanigans that happen in October.

October is when I find myself focusing on HalloweenThanksgivingYuletideNewYears. You know, that three-month-long, anxiety ridden, panic attack where we force ourselves to be with people we don’t really like very much, eat foods we know are bad for us, spend way too much money on things we don’t need and travel to places we get lost in.

And then wonder why we are such a mess when spring come peeking under the window sill.

And, October happens to be my most favorite month ever. I always feel great in October. The light is just right, even when it rains. There is exactly the right amount of light for my personal clock. The weather is usually pretty terrific, and if it is not, it’s still October. The colors explode off the hillside in their brilliant contrasts. I love the foods that are ready around this time of year. The smell changes drastically from the beginning of the month to the end, with the final burst of blooms at the beginning before the first frosts bring the decay of leaves as they pile up.

I married both my first and second husbands in October. My husband, my two closest friends and my grandmother all have birthdays in October. If it is a year for us to move, we seem to always start the real journey around this time too.

I have been doing a lot of research into my personal history. I have come to a point in my life where I really want to get to know me. I seem to fall into this reflection yearly. This year, I am taking it a bit deeper and taking the time to write my story down, or at least make detailed notes. I feel like I need to really know who I am before I embark on helping other people learn who they deeply are.

If I had been a bit more aware of my personal rhythms six months ago, I would have planned this time to work through that personal reflection. But now, I know it and I can plan it into my calendar for next season.

If you know your own personal timing throughout the year, use it to your advantage. I know I love October in New England, so I will make sure to plan my vacation time, my recharge time, for October in New England.

I also like Mud Season in New England for a totally different reason. I will plan my business travel around when I want to be in places that recharge me. When I am traveling I am expending energy with my clients, therefore they need to plan recharge time also.

Where is your recharge spot? When is your best time? Do you know when in the year you feel great and when you feel crappy? I am working on a calendar of high and low energy times so I can better plan my class schedules and my client travel times. I know that I want to be in the New England area in October and probably September and August. I know that I will have to travel for family in November and December, so I can plan classes and client travel around that family travel time.

Use your personal rhythms to help you succeed. Plan recharge times in places you love deeply so you have the energy to sustain you in times of low energy or high energy expenditure. But first you have to figure out when those times are and where those places are.

What if you can’t get to your happy place? What if I have to be away from New England in October? Where else can you recharge? How else can you recharge? These are questions I still have to answer. I am still working on the process, but I think I have a pretty good idea of how I want next October to look.

Meet Our New Blogger: She Wants You to Meet Your Education and Career Goals

By Jenna Moede

I know a lot of military spouses would introduce themselves as, a military spouse. But I like to tell people I’m a writer and a teacher, before I mention my husband’s career. 

I have built my own identity, and when people ask me about myself, I make it a point to talk about myself. It was something that was really hard to do, at first. While I’m proud of my husband’s active duty Air Force service, my role as his spouse doesn’t define me. I have many accomplishments and goals that are my own.

I earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in public administration, and I’m still pursuing a graduate degree.  I consider myself very lucky because I had nearly finished my degree by the time my husband and I were married.  

Now, as I continue my degree, I am so grateful for the opportunities this path has given me. I have formed connections and friendships with people that have no military affiliation, and those connections have rooted me in a community that I used to feel like a stranger in. 

I value my education, and because of that, I am passionate about sharing my experiences and helping other spouses find ways to make the most out of the opportunities available to them. 

When we first moved to Wyoming, I had an entry level job that made me feel replaceable, but I stuck it out while I finished my degree. After graduation, I had the opportunity to work with a law firm where I learned legal business and trained as a paralegal. 

That job was specific to my skill set, and it is what motivated me to embrace our new home and my talents.  In our time here, I have found that many spouses feel lost and put their goals and dreams on the backburner while supporting the military member’s career.  They forget to find their own identities outside of the military and pursue their personal goals. 

While my career as a teacher and writer is definitely something I’m passionate about, another thing I love is being outside.  Thanks to the military, we have loved getting the opportunity to explore this new place and we have decided to make the most of the time we have here. 

We live close to Rocky Mountain National Park, and we have hiked many trails there.  I am constantly searching the internet and pouring over my travel guides to find new trails and ideas for things to see.  In order to encourage other military families, I write a blog about interesting places we have found in the local area and fun day trips.  I believe in passing on good information so others can benefit from it.  

Basically, I am always striving to be better than I was yesterday, encourage someone who needs help, and assist people in reaching their educational goals.  I truly believe that you get out of something what you put into it, and it’s not possible to succeed without trying.  I’m really looking forward to sharing my experiences and ideas.

Military Spouse Attorneys: Does your state have relaxed licensing rules?

It’s no secret that military spouses experience plenty of barriers as they try to maintain full-time careers and frequently relocate due to PCS orders.

For many, the choice becomes to either stay where they are and keep the current job, or keep the family intact and risk not getting a job in their chosen career at the new duty station. But, why should they have to choose between the two? They shouldn’t! And thanks to the work of the Military Spouse JD Network, fewer attorneys have to make that choice.

At the height of the 2011 PCS season two military spouses turned their frustration with the challenges of maintaining their legal careers into motivation to advocate for licensing accommodations. They started by drafting a model rule to help jurisdictions set their own rules to ease licensing for relocating military spouses who have law degrees.

Now, with more than 1,000 members and supporters, including the the American Bar Association, the MSJDN has successfully influenced 19 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands to adopt their own version of the rule, allowing military spouse attorneys to practice in the state where the service member is stationed if the spouse is in good standing in another state. In other words, they do not have to re-take the bar exam with every move.

“Licensing is a critical piece of the employment issue for military spouses,” said Libby Jamison, president elect of MSJDN. “It can be burdensome and costly to maintain licensing in several states.”

According to the MSJDN website, licensing can take up to a year and include an application, character and fitness review, bar exam and processing. Gaps in employment can cause additional delays. And, it can cost $4,000 to $5,000 in preparation materials and fees each time they apply.

Sometimes, states may tweak the model licensing rule or language to fit their needs, but those tweaks can cause further burdens like fees or supervision.

“My least favorite change is when states add a supervision requirement to spouses,” said Johanna Thibault, communications director at MSJDN.

But, even when the licensing barrier is out of the way, getting a job isn’t a sure thing.

“Employment is the bottom line and when someone has been practicing for 10-15 years, it can be burdensome to the employee and employer,” said Jamison. “Our clients won't pay for two attorneys just so one of them can be supervised when she has that much work experience.”

Overall, MSJDN is enjoying great momentum right now.

“We are working in 18 more states right now and are focused on getting all 50 states onboard,” Thibault said. “As a next step, we will also evaluate where we can consider helping some states with revising the rules they initially put in place to determine if there are ways to improve them.”

Jamison added, “The most important thing with all the work we have done is that companies, firms and communities are really starting to understand more that military spouses are career-minded, capable, flexible and good employees who want to contribute to their communities.”

For more information about the status of the states and MSJDN efforts, visit

Opening A Business: Lots to Do, Where to Begin?

By Amy Nielsen

Getting down to brass tacks, just exactly how and when do I start this business thing?

How do you open the doors of your business when you don’t have actual doors?

I am planning to teach classes later this winter and will organize my personal mentoring business into a teachable system before I start to look for clients in January – my projected launch date.

I need to just decide on the class I want to teach the most, find a place to teach it, contact the venue, set up the date and contract for the event and print a bunch of fliers. Easy peasy, right? But it feels so daunting!

I am feeling a bit stuck as I envision how this system will play out in practice. I have seen so many different ways to use it. I need to focus on one aspect. Something concrete, a bridge. I feel like maybe a class around the food link to chakras, a basic principle in my system. In order to do that I need to concentrate my own studies more.

I am feeling excited about contributing to the universe, to our family financially and to share my knowledge. And, to be heard and appreciated for it.

However, I set a certain amount of personal discovery and building time into my plan and I don’t want to rush it. If I take on my first clients or teach my first classes now, before my pre-set time, I feel like I might be cheating myself and my clients out of valuable processing.

That brings up a good exercise. I have to write a bio to put with my general public classes so people have a clue who I am. Sounds like a good place to start building my own confidence. Designing who I want the world to see. Do I have enough chops, enough credentials, enough time in this to be listened to? Would I take a class from me? If not, what do I need to add to my credentials?

Stepping up and stepping in. Every time I choose to introduce myself with my new title, in my new business, I choose to step up and into my self-created space. My circle. I become the center of the ripples. What do I want my pond to look like?

Listening to myself, it almost feels like I am listening to the introduction to my new self. I hear the words I say and it’s like I am testing out the language to see if I can spit the syntax out right. Sometimes I change it up a bit and stumble and find a new turn of phrase or a new connection I hadn’t made before.

As I introduce myself to others, I work to solidify my ideas. I am growing my own ideas. I am seeking out more connections for my circle. Sometimes, when I make a connection that person leads me to a new avenue to explore.

I have some interesting friends, who in turn have interesting friends. The universe has seen fit to place me in the path of some folks who can help me along my journey, if I take the time to connect with them.  I am enjoying that the people interested in deeper conversation are from a very wide range of disciplines and professions. It is helping me to learn new paths to take and in turn, teach me more options to offer to my future clients.

So back to where this all started, what are the concrete steps I am going to take to move forward in the journey to open my business? I need to make several appointments with friends who could be colleagues in a more formal context. I need to make appointments with some of the practitioners I have met to learn their systems and be inspired to create my own. I need to decide on a format for my class and find a name for my business.

And, I need to allow time to just be me, enjoy life, and not work on work all the stinkin’ time. I have quite a balancing act to figure out.

Leaving the Military? Take a Paid Vacation First

Guess what? There is a huge retirement benefit out there that I will bet many of you didn’t even know you had.


Careful handling of leave days in the last couple of years before retirement or separation can put you in a position to have paid time off right before you retire. Potentially, months of it.

Upon retirement, every service member is granted what’s called “terminal leave.” Previous to my husband putting in his paperwork late last year, I thought terminal leave was free – meaning it didn’t count against your leave days and was automatically granted.

But terminal leave is just the name given to the leave a service member chooses to take at the end of his or her time in service. Some of it can come from permissive TDY, which is a benefit designed to use while house hunting or looking for a job. Typically, those retiring stateside are offered 20 days permissive TDY. Those retiring from overseas can be allowed up to 30 days permissive TDY.

Add to that the leave you already have on the books – up to 60 days each year – and you could have up to 90 days. On top of that, add in any leave you earn between the start of a new fiscal year and your retirement date, plus what you earn while on leave, and you could potentially have even more.

And that’s not all. Since terminal leave is taken before a service members actual retirement date, all active-duty benefits still apply, such as medical and dental care. Housing allowances are still paid as well. If you are in transition between homes (which many of us will be during retirement) you will earn BAH for either your current duty station or your home of record, depending on circumstances.

The key to this benefit is managing your leave in the last couple years of retirement and continuing to carry over 60 days at the start of every fiscal year. That’s not hard for many service members, who lose leave every year anyway or have extra accrued due to deployments and other events.

Besides job hunting, house hunting and getting settled in a new location, many people use this time to travel, even taking Space-A flights overseas or cruises or other once-in-a-lifetime vacations.

A good rule of thumb is to do a little of both – practical and frivolous - if you can afford it.

Either way, terminal leave should be used to the maximum advantage of the service member. Start calculating leave days now, no matter how far out retirement is. Trust me, you’ll want some time to breathe before moving on from the military to the next adventure in life. Terminal leave is the best way to do that – all while still getting paid your full salary and benefits.


For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.