Btitish Soldier - Photo credit: PA

Your Guide To 'Fitting In' With Civvies After Leaving The Forces

Civvy Street: Do's and Dont's

Btitish Soldier - Photo credit: PA

This 11 point guide will assist you in your efforts to 'fit in' with civilians when you leave the armed forces and will help you transition as smoothly as possible back into 'civvy street'. 

1. Speech:

  • Time should never begin with a zero or end in a hundred, it is not ‘Zero 530’ or ‘14 hundred’ it is 5:30 in the morning and 2 pm. 
  • Words like ‘Gen’, ‘Ally’, ‘Threaders’ and ‘PT’ will get you weird looks; It’s ‘Really?’, ‘That’s nice’, ‘Not happy’ and ‘workout’, get used to it.
  • ‘F***’ cannot be used to replace whatever word you can't think of right now, try ‘um’.
  • Shouting words of command is not talking.
  • It's a phone, not a two-way radio, conversations on a phone do not end in ‘out’
  • Do not abbreviate, people will not know what you are talking about if you tell them you are running slightly late and will send a SITREP in 5 mikes or that you will RV soon.
Soldier Picture: LSwanPhotography
Picture: LSwanPhotography

2. Personal accomplishments:

  • In the real world, being able to do pushups will not make you good at your job.
  • Most people will be slightly disturbed by you if you tell them about people you have killed or seen die.
  • How much pain you can take is not a personal accomplishment.
  • The time you ‘got really drunk and passed the breathalyser test anyway’ is also not a personal accomplishment.

3. Drinking:

  • Firstly, you will now have to pay full price for alcohol, there will be no more heavily subsidised drinks from the Mess Bar.
  • In the real world, being drunk before 5pm at work will get you a written warning, not a 'good for you'. 
  • That time you straw-pedoed a bottle of Jaeger and pissed your issued mattress is NOT a conversation starter.
  • The time you went on an Advanced battlefield casualty drills course and used your newly learnt skills by giving vodka IV's to get pissed quicker will also not be a good conversation starter.

4. Spending habits:

  • Remember, one day you will have to pay bills.
  • Buying a £30,000 car on finance with a £16,000 a year salary is a really bad idea.
  • Spending money on a new Xbox instead of buying nappies makes you a fool.
  • Spending all your money by the 1st of the month doesn't give you automatic 'lad points'.
Pointing Picture: LSwanPhotography
Picture: LSwanPhotography

5. The human body:

  • Most people will not want to hear about your balls (if you have a set). Odd as this may seem, it is true.

6. Interacting with other civilians (aka you):

  • Making fun of your neighbour to his/her face for being fat will not be normal.

7. Bodily functions:

  • Farting on your co-workers and then giggling while you run away may be viewed as ‘unprofessional’ and most likely result in a written warning.
  • The size of the dump you took yesterday will not be funny no matter how big it was, how much it burned, or how much it smelled.
  • You can't make fun of someone for being sick, no matter how funny it is, including D&V.
Sleeping Picture: LSwanPhotography
Picture: LSwanPhotography

8. Fashion advice:

  • Do not put creases in your favourite jeans.
  • Do not purposely put creases in the front or back of your best dress shirts.
  • You CAN grow your hair, you do not have to have a short back and sides.
  • Wearing a hat indoors does not make you a bad person, it makes you like the rest of the world.
  • You do not have to wear a belt all of the time.

9. In the work place:

  • They really can fire you.
  • On the flip side you really can quit.
  • Screaming at the people that work for you will not be normal. Remember, they really can quit too.
  • Taking a nap at work will not be acceptable.
  • Remember it is 9 to 5, not 0530 to 1800.

10. The Law:

  • Non-judicial punishment (AGAI Action) does not exist and will not save you from prison.
  • Your civilian workplace, unlike your chain of command cannot save you and probably won’t. In fact, you will most likely be sacked by your boss about five minutes after they find out you have been arrested.
  • Even McDonalds does background checks, and a conviction isn't going to help you get the job.
  • Fighting is not a normal thing and will get you really arrested, not shouted at on Monday morning, before they then go on to ask you ‘but did you win?!’.
Picture courtesy of LSwanPhotography
Picture: LSwanPhotography

11. General knowledge:

  • You can in fact really say what you think about the royal family in public.
  • Pain is not weakness leaving the body, it is just pain.
  • People won't be wearing anything shiny that tells you they are more important than you are, so be polite to everyone.
  • Read the contracts before you sign them, remember what happened the first time.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Have you made the transition already? If so, what would you add to the list?

Please comment and share your advice.

With thanks to Army Rumour Service.