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April 27, 2022

Tips to Transition Into Working From Home After the Military with "Millennial Veteran" Jenna Carlton

Tips to Transition Into Working From Home After the Military with "Millennial Veteran" Jenna Carlton

Warriors, Fall In!

Today, we are joined with a Veteran who served several years in the United States Navy after living most of her life in rural Wisconsin, where her graduating class was a total of 36 people. 

Upon separating from the Navy, this Veteran began feeling very distant when and during the overall transition back to civilian life. After visiting an American Legion and recognizing the vast differences in age at the club, she decided to get online and create a group called "Millennial Veterans," which is now over 850 members strong. Along the way, our guest, Jenna Carlton, started being called "The Millennial Veteran," which suits her age and establishes her service to our great country. In this episode, she talks about career transition from the military to starting a work-fro-home career and also shares some of her own career transition struggles.

Join the Millennial Veteran Group on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/366608457858659/

Jenna on IG:
https://www.instagram.com/themillennialveteran/

Jenna's Blog:
https://themillennialveteran.medium.com

Jenna was selected  "Proudly She Served" as an influencer Website:
https://www.proudlysheserved.com/post/welcome-proudly-she-served-influencers

Transcript

KP:

This episode is powered by Aktau education, go to www dot ATT now education.com For free comprehensive educational resources and opportunities for active duty veterans, military spouses, and children.

Jenna Carlton:

Our mission has always been in to normalize that awkward transition period from military to civilian. It's kind of an isolating experience. And it's it's kind of like refining your identity of who you were.

KP:

Or is falling and it's time for formation. So today I'm joined with a Navy veteran who created a group of other veterans who are part of the millennial veteran community. And this bridges the gap between many of our generations of veterans out there. Her name is Jenna Carlton Jenna, want to thank you for joining us today on the morning formation.

Jenna Carlton:

Hello, everyone. It's my honor to be a part of this podcast. I hope everyone's doing good. Um, so Hi, I'm Jenna. The millennial veteran, as I'm known online spaces. I was in the Navy from 2013 to 2017. I did whether you call me a weather guesser, I did meteorology and oceanography. I deployed to the Arabian Gulf, an aircraft carrier. So that was a lot of fun. And now I live in Southern Maryland. And I founded the group, the millennial veterans, as well as I host IG live show called Bad chats.

KP:

Yes, and I've actually known you for a couple months now, Jenna, and we've connected through other podcasters as well. And I've watched your Instagram Live. And I love the interviews that you do and the conversations that you have really, really fortunate to be connected with you. Now I understand that you're originally from Wisconsin, which isn't, which I know you have seasons there. Maybe that inspired you to do weather while you're in the Navy. But I also know that Wisconsin is not surrounded by any ocean. So why in the world did you decide to go into the Navy to begin with?

Jenna Carlton:

joining the Navy was kind of my ticket out of the really small town I grew up in I graduated with 36 kids. I didn't have much exposure to the world at all. So I was super excited to join the Navy and see the world as they say.

KP:

Wow, 36 Yeah,

Jenna Carlton:

that was prom queen.

KP:

That's crazy. That's crazy. 36 I went to a high school in the middle of Ohio that had like 100. And I thought that was very, very low in numbers and 36 Wow. So it sounds like throughout your life, you've kind of been a trendsetter. When it comes to making decisions. I'm sure that many people in your family and in your community would have never imagined or thought about joining the Navy, being from such a small town, small community. So it kind of makes sense why you would do your transition out of the military. And instead of marching forward with your own life, you're kind of reaching back now to build that bridge between the generations and bring them up. But can you talk to us about what inspired you to create the millennial veterans?

Jenna Carlton:

When I got out, I was I was very isolated. I moved to a new state. With my husband, I didn't know anyone around and then I went to college right away. And it was a very traditional school there was even though the kids were only like a few years younger than me, there was just such a gap in life experience. There wasn't a lot of veterans there. So I was I was trying to find my my group of people were my people at that current light to me. So we went to the Legion and I went, I looked around and I was like, wow, I am younger by a whole generation than these people like I am the only millennial here are the only millennials. So I was I was like, Where are the millennials out? Let's let's go find them. Oh, no, of course. They're in online spaces. Everyone's online. So me and my friend Melissa, who's another Navy veteran and my friend Angela, who's active duty in the Navy. We decided to form a Facebook group just on a whim. And it started out as just people we knew friends, people that wanted to get out people that recently transitioned. And it just kind of grew into so much more.

KP:

Yeah, that's actually it's absolutely amazing. And what's even more amazing. Could you tell us about how many people you have in that group right now?

Jenna Carlton:

Yeah, I think we're at like about 150 It's, it's it's a small group, but that's kind of fun because we're a tight knit community and we can kind of keep that military banter going with one another. We share a lot of memes. It's very light hearted but when someone needs help, there is someone commenting within a minute to provide them resource or a reference to whatever they need.

KP:

It makes me smile when you talked about how you walked into the American Legion. And there was a vast difference in the age of folks that were in there versus yourself and your husband had the same experience as well. I joined both VFW and American Legion at different times. And I'll say this, like when I went in there, I thought, okay, so there's a bar, obviously, the pool table is, you know, a dance floor and just a lot of tables and stuff. But it would be really cool if they would include like a workout facility. For some of us younger veterans. And I think that's one of the most unappealing things is there's no, there's nothing really in there. Because I don't want to just sit at the bar all day. You can only play pool so many times. And it's like, it kind of the whole thing kind of needs an update. And I remember I told one of my former supervisors at work, I said, Hey, you know, you should really join the Legion, and you should. And he so he did in his own little local community. And he came back on Monday, and he was well, he was I went, because I went into my local Legion. And I walked in, sat down. And everyone just kind of looked at me like, What the hell are you doing here? I had a beer. And then I left. It was very awkward. I was like, No, yeah, my old supervisor was close to my age. And I was like, yeah, some places are like that. So it's kind of hit or miss. And I've been to a few different legions and VFW is, and it's they're all They're all ran differently. So I certainly understand what you're saying there. And it's great that you created that that community. But going forward. Do you have any plans for the millennial veterans with, you know, your 800 strong within that community and probably going to continue to grow? Obviously, with people going in the military and getting out. But what are your future plans with the millennial veterans? Do you have anything around the corner over the horizon?

Jenna Carlton:

Our mission has always been to normalize that awkward transition period from military to civilian. It's kind of an isolating experience. And it's, it's kind of like refining your identity of who you were. And especially for people who've only done one or two enlistment because the military hold your hand for those first two enlistments, quite a bit. They're telling you what to do where to go. And then when you finally have that freedom, you know, you're like, well, now what do I do with this? What kind of clothes do I wear, the last time I had this freedom was when I was 18, I don't want to revert back to an 18 year old, you know. So we just wanted to normalize and let people know that that's, that's how you're gonna feel you're gonna feel like that for a while. And we want it to be that support and guide, one or another through that transition period.

KP:

I think that's outstanding. And it's funny, because the intro to my podcast says exactly that. In the military, you're told what to wear, where to be, what happens when that cadence fades, and you're no longer wearing that uniform. And so that was that was the number one thing is we have to reteach ourselves to pivot on our own, and not wait for command to tell you when to do so. But the one thing about the veteran community is we're very resilient, very hardworking, we overcome obstacles. And that's something that I think a lot of that I think that's something that's not really ingrained in the civilian culture as much, but it's something that you learn, especially you coming from a small community, do you think the military sort of taught you to be resilient taught you to quickly change whether that be within a social environment to meet new friends? Like do you feel like the military kind of brought anything extra to you that you probably wouldn't have gotten to staying in your own small community there in Wisconsin?

Jenna Carlton:

Absolutely. What you said was kind of like rolling with the punches, you know, take things as they come definitely being flexible. The military taught me but I think the most important thing was just the people. You know, I was from the small town, northern Wisconsin, there's not a lot of people from different places around there. So it's just so cool to be exposed to different cultures, different religions and languages and how people grew up. I was so fascinated, I was always asking people like, what's what's your background? Like? How what's it like in Portland, Oregon, I want to go there, you know, or like, wherever they were from.

KP:

Right? Yeah, no, I growing up. I was very fortunate because I grew up part of my life living in Hawaii. And then when my dad retired from the Army, and he moved back to his home state, which is in Ohio, truly, it's in Kentucky, but he went to Ohio. And so I got a opportunity to very young age to see the cultural differences from speaking pidgin English and Hawaiian eating plate lunch, and then going to the middle of Ohio, baling hay So I grew up with that experience. So even when I went back into the army, after, you know, my dad served in the Army after when I went back into the army, I understood the the cultural differences, even when I went to basic training and whatnot. And I find that absolutely fascinating. And I'm very, we're very fortunate to have that experience. Before we start, before we started the interview today, we talked about some of the things that we could discuss with the career transition process. And you mentioned that you might have some advice, or some tips for folks out there who are in the military or in the military community, and they're transitioning out of the military career going to civilian career. And we're finding that a lot of the civilian careers now are home based, and their work from home positions. Do you have any advice for folks out there after gone gone through this pandemic, we know that a lot of organizations, businesses out there are now expecting their employees to work from home, which takes a lot of discipline, and it takes a lot of transition? Do you have any advice for folks out there who may be transitioning out and going into a position like that?

Jenna Carlton:

Yes, and like you said, that's also very appealing to military people getting out of the military to work from home, because they're usually all over the country. They're not where they're used to where they have a lot of connections, so being able to work from anywhere, and they need a job right away. So being able to work from home is a great opportunity to have um, let me ask you this Kp, do you know your personality type?

KP:

No, but I know exactly what you're talking about. And I'm, I need to do that. Because I've heard multiple people say that the that that is actually something that's very explorative when it comes to figuring out yourself.

Jenna Carlton:

Yes, and a lot of companies will actually pay for you to take this test. It's a Myers Briggs test, or any test, I just really helped me find out how I like to communicate. And because you're not in person, you're usually talking to people over the phone over zoom, you're not getting their mannerisms. You could take things you know, kind of in the wrong context and feel like oh, like I don't know, really what my boss wants me to do. Um, so it's good to know how you like to communicate. And I think the personality test does a lot of that. But that's, that's the key is communication. And working from home, you almost have to over communicate, because you have to say, Hey, I got this done, or, Hey, I need you to do this. And sometimes, you know, you're doing that through email, not everyone's checking their email, not everyone's checking their phone, so you have to call them it's a lot of over communicating. Another thing you should know is how you're motivated. What are you motivated in the morning right away before breakfast, are you able to think later in the afternoon and get stuff done, really know where you're most most able to get things done and just kind of capitalize on that part of your day. And distractions because I know I'm working from home, you can be so distracted, like, hey, I want to fold laundry or hey, I want to do the dishes or I want to go outside and take care of my lawn or KP might want to fix his AC, you know, during work hours. I see you really you really need to set your focus. And you're not gonna be able to have that focus 24/7 When you're at home, know when you're you're straining, you've been staring at the screen too long. Take a break, go for a walk, have a cup of coffee, step away from that for a while. And then when you come back to it, you can look at your work with new eyes. And also set boundaries. I think that's a huge thing. Because when you're working from home, you can work any hours, you could work all night, no one's gonna tell you to stop, hey, go home. No, you're already there. You could work all night. So you really need to set boundaries with yourself and your co workers. Let them know your hours. And if they call you off hours. Don't answer the phone. You don't have to answer that phone even though it's tempting. Or maybe you have a deadline to meet. Try to set it up so you're not going to have that. And I also say have a designated lunch period. I had to do this for myself because I was just throwing myself in my work and I was not eating and then by late afternoon I was getting lightheaded. So I think that's an important thing to do is remember to nourish yourself throughout the day.

KP:

That's some great advice actually. And diet is something that many people probably don't think about but I don't know if it's better or worse to work from home and maintain a diet because then you also have access to all your snacks as well and it could cause some overeating I know me. You know I'm like rice krispie treats Yeah, I'm on it. Next thing you know I'm four or five deep and I'm Like, wow, I wouldn't have done this if I was at work because I wouldn't have access to this. But, and for those of you out there listening, when she was talking about fixing my AC during work hours, it was 103 degrees in Southern California the other day, and my office shed that I use for my podcast took a beating. And literally things fell off my wall. And it was just like an apocalypse in a 10 by 12. Office space. So I had to fix my I'd fix my AC and put a new AC and it was it was quite quite some work. But some of the things that you mentioned, you know, figuring out when you are most optimal during the day, is something that you really need to know about yourself. I think for me early on, it's it's in the morning, it's when I'm most optimal. It's mid afternoon is when I want to take that nap, and I want to just cruise the rest of the day. And you mentioned too about communicating. You know, when I was working from home myself, I found that it was very difficult to communicate with folks over text messaging, because there's no expression to what you're saying. And sometimes folks would take things in a different direction than what you what I intended them to say. And they thought I was mad or something. I'm like, No, I'm not mad like, I, I wish you could hear my voice and the way I'm saying it. So you could, you know, feel what I'm saying versus reading in black in black and white or over the text messages, whatever that whatever I'm trying to convey. So yeah, that's that's definitely definitely things to consider. Now, during your own transition out of the military. What was your transition, like your career transition? Was it seamless? Or did you run into any bumps or any obstacles?

Jenna Carlton:

So when I go, Yeah, I ran into a huge bump. So as soon as I got out, I started college. The next week, I got I went August 20. And I started August 27. I think that that worked out great. But then a month later, I found out I was pregnant. So I was already going through this identity crisis of who I am without the military. And then I'm like, Who am I as a mother? It was? Yes, yes. And, you know, that's, that's how I learned how to make friends in the military was, hey, let's go out for a beer. Let's go to happy hour. A lot of you know, as military life is it's centered around alcohol. So I hadn't really learned how to make friends without that. And then I was just, you know, I was just so confused and isolated. And it was totally normal. But I just, I just threw myself into school because it was also a new challenge for me not being in school for a while. So yeah, there was a bump involved the baby bump.

KP:

That probably helped you out, though, that probably helped you out with aligning with a different crowd. Because when you got out the military, you're a little bit older. And you're you're more of an adult, you know, when you get out at that age. So it probably helped you align with folks that were ready to turn the page to go to the next chapter, right?

Jenna Carlton:

Yes, yes. And now, a lot of so I was with my husband who was still in and a lot of his friends, you know, they were, some of them were parents that I could relate to, you know, and then some of them, you know, want to party and stuff like that. So it was just, it was more of me having to really turn inwards, and focus on myself. I deleted all my social media for a whole year. I just threw myself into school schoolwork and just my little hobbies. I like to crochet and I just I worked on that a lot and trying to decide what I wanted to do. After school.

KP:

You're telling me the millennial veteran herself, deleted all of her social media accounts.

Jenna Carlton:

Yeah. Yeah, I was I ghosted everyone for a year. I think I activated it. Maybe when my daughter was born, or I just didn't post I think, and didn't communicate. I didn't have the apps at all.

KP:

I absolutely hated social media, especially back when all we had was Facebook because people would abuse it quite a bit. Yes. And they would diary. They would put like a post on there that says, I just ate a jelly bean and drink water. Okay, well, so what like, I don't need like, what is that? So I hated Facebook back in the day hated it. So passionate. And then Instagram came along and I was like, Oh, I can like this because it's visual. And you know, people aren't just posting weird stuff on there like what they're doing right now or people go on their rants about things. Yep, put a picture on there. So at least there's a story there something Yeah, a little more difficult for people just to get on there real quick and just throw something out but they got on Instagram and then all these other social media things are popping up and then I decided to do podcasts. And I'm like, Well, now I gotta get back into social media. So here I am so and why you just why you kind of pulled the cord and disconnected from that? And yeah. So right now money millennial veterans, they are specifically on Facebook only or do you have other platforms that are you utilizing? Or do you plan on expanding to other platforms.

Jenna Carlton:

So we have the Facebook group, and that's kind of where everyone talks chat is where people will post but then also my Instagram is an extension of that. So millennial veteran, and that's where we have that chance, we'll have people from the group on do interviews, we'll post a lot of data like veteran news. And kind of what's going on in the community as a whole, not just with the millennial veterans. And I don't think we have any plans to expand things are going well, we're just just kind of enjoying it for what it is.

KP:

I know that it can be really challenging for folks to learn the different platforms out there. Like I just started doing tic toc and learning how to do the edits and learning how to properly use it. I mean, that's like, that's like learning how to program. Like, it's like going from Windows to Apple. Like it's learning how it's learning something completely different. Something that it takes time and, and patience, yeah. To learn so and now there's Twitch, and there's discord and I just, I don't have the have the mental capacity to even open this up yet. You know,

Jenna Carlton:

you got to pick your poison. I will say I was like, on tick tock back in 2019, when it first started, or when it first came over from this other app called musically. I saw my my niece was on it. And I was like, oh, it looks fun. I want to try it. And then, you know, now everyone has it's crazy how much it's grown in the past three years.

KP:

Yeah, no doubt about it. I wish I was one of the early folks because those guys have like the the big followings on there. And it's difficult now to go viral on any of that stuff. But then I want to ask you, if anyone out there is interested in signing up for your vet chat? Where can they go to sign up for that which vet chat is something you have every Sunday, at what time?

Jenna Carlton:

Sundays at 9am? Eastern 9pm. Eastern,

KP:

okay. And if they want to sign up for that work, and they do that,

Jenna Carlton:

you can go on the link in my bio, we're pretty booked for the next few months. And I actually I wanted to start my next season with the Coalition, which is how me and KP met, which is a group of veteran podcasters and content creators. So um, but yeah, or just send me a message and tell me what you'd like to talk about. And we'll we'll find a space for you. Of course.

KP:

No. So I understand too, that you have a blog, right?

Jenna Carlton:

I do. I spent about a year so I haven't really had the space for it. But I plan on doing something with it.

KP:

Yeah, soon. Yeah. And I'll put the link for the Facebook group as well in the shownotes. So if you get an opportunity to scroll down to the bottom of wherever you consume this, whether it's YouTube or if it's one of the podcasting platforms, you can find the Facebook group to join Jenna's millennial veterans. Now, are you open to folks that are outside of being a millennial veteran?

Jenna Carlton:

Yes, yes, we, of course we have our honorary millennial veterans out via it from Shiva is definitely one. Yeah, anyone feel free?

KP:

I think I'm right on the cusp. I'm like, right. I'm 42 years old. So I don't know if I'm considered a millennial or not. Oh, we just

Jenna Carlton:

did this actually in the group. We were trying to figure out if we had any buddy who was a little older.

KP:

Yeah, I don't even know what were you.

Jenna Carlton:

When were you born? What year 1980? Really? 18 ADSC. Okay, so it's 27 to 41.

KP:

So yeah, that's all I'm saying. I'm like, right on the cut off. Yeah. And

Jenna Carlton:

I'm actually one of the youngest. I'm 27 So I'm almost on that Gen Z.

KP:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I yeah, I guess I would be the I would be the older uncle. Or I'd be the person in your group wearing mom jeans maybe.

Jenna Carlton:

Hey, they're back. I just bought a pair.

KP:

People work used to tease me because I wear my jeans are just comfortable. I don't wear I there's guys that work with it. We're like Lululemon. They were like all these like really like, snug fitting jeans. I'm like, now I gotta wear the 90 style like, you know, yeah,

Jenna Carlton:

well, that's. That's next baby. You're Are you? Yes,

KP:

it's good to know that I'm

Jenna Carlton:

and the shorter shorts. Was that your thing to? No,

KP:

no, not at all cargo shorts. You know, my dad on the other hand, he was he was a ranger. So he's whenever we still fishing, Ranger panties, but as they call them, you know, and always always embarrassed about it, but But anyways, is there anything else before we wrap up the podcast today that you'd like to talk about?

Jenna Carlton:

I just like to remind people that when you're getting out, or if you're thinking about getting out, there is other options outside the military, keep an open mind reach out to people who have made that jump. And when you get out, you're gonna feel weird, you're gonna feel like no sense of belonging. And that's totally normal. And I just, I just want you all listening to understand that.

KP:

No, I just want to ask you this, too, because I had this conversation with someone the other day, when you got out of the military? Did you try to separate yourself from military? Like, did you try to get rid of all your military stuff and just try to become a civilian? Because I wondered, because I did that. And I just wondered if you did the same thing I did that.

Jenna Carlton:

I did that so hard, I dyed my hair blue. Like I was I wanted to look nothing like anyone in the military I, I got rid of a lot of stuff. And I wish I still had a lot of that stuff. But

KP:

I noticed that when, especially when people retire on the military, their first call to order is I'm going to grow facial hair, or I'm going to do something that I haven't been able to do and all these years and I was never really liked that. But I wanted to distinctly separate myself from the military when I got out too. And I just I was talking to someone about that the other day. And and I guess I would like to tell folks out there who are going to be transitioning out you know, don't don't ever forget about who you were, or who you are not be proud of who you are. Because there's a lot of times you may feel like the civilian side isn't interested or they don't value, what it is that you did. And whether you deployed or not, you know, you made a lot of sacrifices and a lot of sacrifices that people can take for granted. Whether it be family sacrifices being away, like when you were on a ship, how long were you on there for? Nine months? Nine months, and your husband wasn't with you? Right?

Jenna Carlton:

He was but I didn't know him.

KP:

Oh, you didn't know it. Okay, so you met afterwards? Yeah, so nine months. I mean, at the end of the day, you're not, you're not in a place that you chose to be? necessarily you chose to be the Navy, but you didn't choose to be on a ship for nine months. And so there's a lot of sacrifices involved in that. And so folks out there listening, if you haven't transitioned out yet, you know, don't lose contact with your community. Don't lose contact with your with your friends that you've made, you know, during the span of your career. So just I was just thinking about that, but, but Jenna, if folks out there are interested in connecting with you, what is the best way for them to do that?

Jenna Carlton:

I would say my instagram at the millennial veteran, or on the Facebook group, the millennial veterans if you'd like to connect with like minded veterans, it's a very like I said, a light hearted space and feel free to introduce yourself.

KP:

It's awesome. And I'll put all that in the show notes as well. You asked me before we started the podcast if if I called any of my listeners warriors. Yeah. I actually only I do that because I used to joke with people whenever I would show up to put formations and it would be like, Good morning freedom warriors. And some people would chuckle about it or whatever. And so I just say warriors fallen now. But do you have any plans to nickname your followers or do you have a name for him?

Jenna Carlton:

So we do have a nickname that called the male beds which is just millennial veterans for sure.

KP:

There it is there it is. That sounds like a Yeah, it sounds like a nice logo for for some of your merch. Yeah, maybe

Jenna Carlton:

that's coming up I don't know. But I think you should have a pole or something maybe on your Instagram of what your listeners want to be called. That would be fun.

KP:

I that would and I'm glad that you gave me gave me that that idea today i I never even thought about it before but yeah, like I say warriors fall in and the backstory behind that everything I for most part everything I do has a backstory to it and the reason I do that is because I would you know show up to the formations and be like Good morning or good evening freedom warriors and you know kind of go Yeah, I'm that guy you know kind of break the ice everyone's kind of quiet just standing there or whatever and I come in all loud and stuff so But at any rate, Jetta I really appreciate you being on the morning formation today. And if anyone in there is interested in anyone out there is interested in connecting with Jetta. Check out the show notes whether you're going to process this or watch this or listen to this on YouTube or in the platforms, the show notes is going to have all the information, check out our Facebook group join and become part of that community of 800. Strong out there who are helping connect each other and helping each other level up. Jenna, thank you for being part of the podcast today.

Jenna Carlton:

Thank you, Katie. It's been my pleasure.

KP:

The honor is all ours and until next time, folks, I want you to stay tuned, stay focused, and stay motivated. Warriors Fallout