Before stepping into a role helping veterans transition into new career opportunities at Shift, Jack Boger got his start in the military through the Platoon Leaders Course Program. His position as a Marine Corps ground intelligence officer would prove one of the most defining moments of his life with new opportunities and also one of the most difficult to leave behind.

After some highs and lows in his military tenure, Boger fulfilled his leadership and deployment dreams and decided it was time to return to civilian life. But he was woefully unprepared for the destabilizing transition that came with his discharge papers. Boger went from a decorated officer to a civilian where no one seemed to care about his accolades in a matter of three weeks.

Boger describes the transition as dissociative and lonely. He was suddenly faced with one of the most difficult challenges of his life without his tight-knit military support system. It's no surprise he's empathetic to veterans' harsh realities of facing emotional trauma, PTSD, and suicide upon transitioning back into civilian life.

Faced with a disorienting new reality, Boger was determined to tap into available veteran resources and looked to mentorships to help forge a new path as a civilian. His proactive approach wasn't without their struggles. After some initial success, Boger's transition was further complicated by a failed startup experience, re-aggravating an old military injury, and an unraveling personal relationship. Suddenly Boger was suffering from another loss of identity, along with intense physical and emotional pain. 

Boger turned towards the VA to seek help for his chronic back pain and mental health struggles to stop the freefall and find stability. However, he still needed to establish a career path for himself. That's when Boger rediscovered Shift and eventually accepted a position working with the Partnerships and Strategy team.

 "I didn't realize how great it would be to be around vets again," Boger says. While he embraces working with a team that can empathize where he's coming from in life, he also encourages veterans to build an identity beyond military and career. Boger knows firsthand that establishing a newfound sense of identity is challenging and credits therapy as a way to reconnect with himself.

As for Shift, "It was cathartic and powerful to launch into a career where I could learn business development, advocacy, and help people who were in the exact same shoes I was in and still am in." After all, once a veteran, always a veteran, and the experiences that shape your military career and beyond stay with you. 

The mental and emotional transition from veteran to civilian life may be rocky with waves of unanswered questions. Perhaps the real question is, "How will you use your military experience and veteran resources to enhance your life for the better?" Boger is no stranger to tapping into veteran resources to find his way in life, but also says there's no rush on the path to self-exploration. "Give yourself some grace and some time, and know you're going to iterate and pivot. The first job out of the military probably won't be your last."

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