You might remember in my first post, ‘Where I’ve been’, I mentioned I had recently completed my Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA). Two years of my life I will look back on with mixed emotions as the experience pushed me to my limits. I forged life long relationships with my cohort and lecturers and had the opportunity to research amazing industries in a supported environment. I attribute my emotional and mental growth to this learning and am thankful that it was through this study that I found my purpose and my power.
Classes were held on weekends in Sydney and after class, my husband and I would wander around Sydney CBD and occasionally find ourselves engaged in conversations with the homeless, some of whom were veterans. I was fortunate enough to use my university assignments as a vehicle to explore and deepen my knowledge of support agencies in the veteran space and to strengthen my vision of getting homeless vets of the streets and back into life.
Being a military family this is an area of interest my husband also shares and he fast became my sounding board and the cynical touchstone that I needed to continually ground my enthusiasm. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate his ‘black hat thinking’ however, looking back, I love him more for doing so (if that is even possible). Every roadblock he threw up encouraged me to defend the dataset and strengthen the synthesis I had established in my research. As a result, I develop a business plan for a solution that I believe would assist our vets reintegrating.
Fast forward a few months and our cohort was commencing our final unit of study towards our degree. Thesis time!! YAY!!! I had spent a lot of time with topic ideas banging around in my head, naturally all veteran related, all worthy of a deeper piece of research in their own right, but one more than ever stood out for me. Just like, that I had a mission, to develop a theoretical framework to successfully transition wounded, ill and injured Infantry soldiers back into civilian life post medical discharge.
My motivation came off the back of developing the business model to get our homeless vets off the streets. The underlying question, which kept me focused, was, “What if we could get the transition process out of the military right, would the dependency on support agencies (internal and external) continued to be stretched?”
Now you might ask, “why Infantry soldiers?” I chose Infantry soldiers as they have a specialist set of skills that don’t necessarily align vocationally with job roles within civilian life…well, none that are widely accepted anyway and when faced with a discharge from service through an injury that they didn’t initiate, Infantry soldiers may find themselves in facing an identity crisis in their new role as a civilian…and with that, ‘Neither a Soldier, Nor a Civilian’ was born.
Over the next little while, I’d like to share some of my research findings, maybe start a discussion or two and perhaps share some of my own personal experiences as a war veteran’s wife.