Posted: 12 Nov. 2019 8 min. read

Supporting veterans through career transitions

Please note: the original article was written by Janice O'Neill.

Every year thousands of Deloitte professionals give their time and expertise to help others. Janice O’Neill, senior consultant in the Organisation Transformation team within Deloitte’s Human Capital practice is one of them. She attended one of Deloitte’s insight days for military service leavers, which helped build her knowledge on how to change career. She now volunteers as part of the Deloitte Military Transition and Talent Programme Insight Days. She shares her story and talks about the work she does to help others to undertake a similar move.

In the Army, you are used to operating in a very regimented, hierarchical organisation and moving to Deloitte was a big change largely because of its size and structure. You need to become familiar with not always having a traditional line manager structure and the uncertainty of the projects you will be involved in. Before I left, I was a captain directly managing a team of 20, and supporting a battalion of 500 soldiers. Our team structures are less hierarchical and are more fluid, making it less likely that there will be opportunities to manage 500 people!

In five years at Deloitte I have been able to work on a variety of projects, use my skills in a wide range of ways and I can now work flexibly, plus return-to-work for three days per week after having my first child, so leaving the Army was the best decision for me.

Attending an Insight Day at Deloitte provided the support I needed, which is why I am so happy to be able to volunteer to help others through the Deloitte Military Transition and Talent Programme, which is part of Deloitte's One Million Futures social impact programme.

When advising others through this transition, I tell them to build contacts and talk to people in their network. When I was leaving the Army I contacted the Officers’ Association and was given a whole list of people who had transitioned into new careers. So, the first step was to get in touch with them. This networking is important for anyone who is considering a career change and I met with 12 people from Deloitte alone, which enabled me to really learn how different organisations work and where I could fit in.

Talking to people is also important when it comes to developing a CV that is appropriate for the corporate world. I talked to one RAF leaver to help them translate military terms, such as “commanded” to “managed”, which is less aggressive.

In the regimental environment your career path is very structured. So, one other piece of advice I give to those transitioning, is to manage their own careers by continually adding to their skills and CV. They should build their internal networks so people can get to know them and what they can deliver.  At Insight Days I also talk to service leavers about the types of roles they should be looking for and tell them to look for ones which enable them to learn new skills as they may not be able to start at such a senior level in the corporate world.

Since starting with Deloitte, I have also been really lucky to work on pro bono projects, which allow me to build my skillset and continue my service to the community – although in a different way. In the run up to Remembrance Day I also sell poppies and support collection points around our offices. It’s nice to know that beyond my life in the military I am still able to make a real difference with Deloitte.

Sign up for the latest updates

Key contact