Culture shock!

“Our own culture is to us like the air we breathe, while another culture is like water – and it takes special skills to be able to survive in both elements.” ~ Geert Hofstede

Linda Gibson was our speaker for our May Veteran Career Services (VCS) webinar and she opened the call with the above quote by Geert Hostede.  Because Linda holds a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Communication with a concentration in Inter-cultural Communications, I knew she could provide valuable information for our VCS community.  Our topic this month was titled: Adjusting to the Culture Shock of a Military to Corporate Transition.  Click the link to listen to the webinar in its entirety.

During our May webinar, Linda Gibson provided great points to consider when one is making the transition from military service to the civilian workplace.  Cultural areas discussed include:

  • Respect
  • Commitment
  • Selflessness
  • Service
  • Loyalty
  • Courage
  • Honor and Integrity
  • Mission
  • Rules and Regulations

I often reflect on my own experiences and the early exposure to the world I received due to being a military dependent, and I am grateful.  With that being said, I never actually sat down and thought about the effects the military had on me culturally.  I have often joked about the military being its “own little world”, and now I see just how true that is.  A few examples are community, rules, and language.

The military provides families with an actual sense of community and camaraderie they probably have not experienced in the civilian world.  Living within the military culture, even dependents are expected to follow rules, just like service members.  Heck, military culture even has its own language!  When I talk about living on the “economy” or coming back “state-side” civilian children would have a bewildered look on their faces as if I was speaking a foreign language; they didn’t understand.

A military-to-civilian transition is a major life changing event and can be difficult.  It’s reassuring to know some things will transition from one culture to the next.  How will you adapt in your new civilian culture?

“Every man’s ability may be strengthened or increased by culture.”  ~ John Abbott

About Angela Robinson, MSHI

Program Manager, EHR Systems Collaboration
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