Exploring U.S. Veterans’ post-service employment experiences


This article highlights several factors which could impact a veteran’s employment success; the role of identity, the gap between military and civilian culture, veteran discrimination.


Although most U.S. veterans transition to civilian life successfully, securing employment and reintegrating into civilian communities, some veterans face transition challenges that can lead to or exacerbate mental and physical health problems. Emerging research from a survey conducted by Prudential indicates that difficulty transitioning to civilian life is largely attributable to employment (Prudential, 2012). This study sought to understand veterans’ employment experiences. Four focus groups (n = 33) with pre- and post-9/11 veterans who at the time were accessing housing and employment support services were conducted. Thematic analysis of focus group transcripts led to the emergence of 2 master themes: (a) organizational and societal barriers, such as limited availability of transition programs, discharge type, negative experiences of support services, and perceived discrimination; and (b) personal barriers, such as lack of initiative to plan and difficulty adjusting to working with civilians. Since data was collected for this study, updates to TAP have been implemented; this may have alleviated some of the reported barriers. The role of veterans’ personal characteristics in employment requires attention in the context of agency, initiative, identity, and cultural adjustment. Policy, programmatic, practice, and future research recommendations are made.

Full Reference

Keeling, M., Kintzle, S. and Castro, C. A., 2018. Exploring U.S. Veterans’ post-service employment experiences. Military Psychology, 30(1), 63-69.