Are You Thriving, or Just Surviving, at Work (and in Life)?

Are You Thriving, or Just Surviving, at Work (and in Life)?
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In June, I launched the first-ever Dare to Dream: Live the Life You Love workshop series, which aimed to help participants discern their unique purpose/calling so they can achieve their professional goals and personal aspirations. And guess what? It sold out!


[REGISTER FOR THE SEPTEMBER SERIES: Dare to Dream: Live the Life You Love]


The series targeted currently serving, transitioning, retiring, and separated members, as well as spouses – the common thread between all the groups being the human desire for meaning and purpose. I anticipated most attendees would be approaching transition or retirement from service.


Guess what? I was wrong!


Most attendees already had their DD-214s in hand. In retrospect, this makes sense: More than 43% of veterans leave their first civilian job in their first year, according to a May 2023 article from global consulting firm Korn Ferry, and 4 out of 5 veterans leave that job in less than two years.


I feel like I’ve got a solid plan of action for making adjustments to my life journey and what I want to do as I enter into the ‘fourth quarter.’ Thank you!

– June Dare to Dream participant


It is not uncommon for me to encounter servicemembers who do not know what they want to do after leaving uniform. I almost left my civilian employer – twice –within my first two years on the job. But due to a fantastic internal veteran support community and persistent networking, I eventually found my fit and ended up staying for nearly nine years! The key was the fit – I honestly LOVED my job!


You Can Love Your Job, Too!

This is why I am so passionate about people finding their fit at work. We spend so much time doing our job that if we are not well aligned it can wreak havoc on our health, relationships, and all-around happiness.


Servicemembers are workforce multipliers and add tremendous value to the civilian workforce provided they are well aligned to their strengths. So, it is incumbent upon veterans to discover, or rediscover, their strengths or Working Genius so they are seeking out the “right” types of roles from the beginning. Some employers are even starting to use assessments to help identify candidates’ strengths so their workforce is well aligned upon hiring.



I really liked the frameworks presented and used. This was a great workshop. I benefited greatly from it, and I wanted more!

– June Dare to Dream participant 


It is a win-win for both the employee and the employer when the workforce is aligned to meet the mission. Employees have greater satisfaction and fulfillment at work, and the organization likely reaps greater productivity and higher retention.


Unsure how to get started on your step toward fulfillment? Ready to Dare to Dream? Register for our September workshop series today!


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About the Author

Cmdr. Erin Cardinal, USN (Ret), ACC, CPC
Cmdr. Erin Cardinal, USN (Ret), ACC, CPC

Cardinal is MOAA's Program Director, Transition Services & Family Programs. She is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and has extensive experience in coaching servicemembers through their transition from active duty to the civilian sector.