What to Look For |
What to Do |
What to Avoid
What to Expect |
Many Marines may be ambivalent about leaving the service, especially if they have had many years of service, such as those facing mandatory
retirement or those choosing to transition mid-career to civilian employment. They may be unsure of their future employment, or the Corps may have become their life and sole identity. In an attempt to put off separation, they may not conduct their final physical in a timely manner, or may not go to a transition seminar or some other required activity in the hopes that if they haven't done all of the required items, they will not be separated. They may become despondent and avoidant.
For many of the involuntary separations, Marines may have a non-compliant attitude towards the Marine Corps and feel as if they shouldn't be required to do anything since they are being forced out of the service.
- Reluctance to talk about impending separation/retirement.
- Failure to schedule a final physical.
- Failure to schedule and attend transition assistance workshop.
- Failure to manage leave prior to separation.
- Failure to notify the Separation and Retirement Branch about planned separation date.
- Failure of Marine to actively participate in the separation process.
Some type of command involvement can minimize most of the problems listed. Try first to understand their ambivalence to separation and get them in touch with agencies that can help them solve the problems causing their ambivalence and move ahead.
Proper adherence to the steps laid out in MCO P1900.16F will greatly ease the separation/retirement process. Much of the process is focused on transition
assistance and is directed by current legislation, helping make sure they have the employment and resources they need to support themselves in the civilian world, as well as how to stay involved with the Corps, if they so desire. In addition, the checklists will ensure that all milestones are hit in a timely manner.
Let your Marines know you are there for them, and can assist as needed.
Give your Marines adequate time to take care of the many appointments and chores involved in the transition process. Reassign projects and work if possible. Reassure them that you have their best interests in mind.
- If your Marines feel that they are somehow indispensable and the Corps cannot afford for them to leave, have them envision their hand in a bucket of water. When they pull their hand out, it will be wet at first, but will dry off quickly. However, the water in the bucket will hardly be changed – it will still look full, much the way the Corps has always looked after Marines have moved on: others quickly take our place, allowing us to be free to pursue other interests. That flexibility and stability are part of what makes the Corps so strong.
Not taking the problem seriously. Saying, “is that all?”
Giving simplistic advice by telling them, “all you have to do is…”
Telling them to “suck it up,” or “get over it.”
- Ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.
Most Marines will respond appropriately to leadership involvement when it is perceived to be in their best interest.
Some Marines will still have trouble adjusting to the impending separation and may need ongoing support or encouragement to complete the process.
- Your Marine may need some additional time to settle some of their issues.
The most common problems seen are when the affected Marine does not plan ahead for the requirements of separating from the service. The following are common stumbling blocks for Marines who are leaving the service voluntarily: