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Take Advantage of Terminal Leave
Recharge your batteries prior to starting a new civilian career.
by Judson Cavanaugh

Terminal leave are two blessed words very familiar to those transitioning out of the service. If you’re like most, you’ve religiously banked the maximum of 60 paid days prior to your separation date.

One bit of advice on how to spend that terminal leave: Pay yourself first! Take a well-deserved vacation prior to starting your newTreat-Yourself-to-a-Terminal-Vacation219x292 civilian job.

Most do, but some opt instead to start their new civilian job immediately following separation. Here’s the problem with that option: Most civilian jobs you start will only grant you one or two week’s vacation during your first year. After your sister’s wedding, the annual obligatory in-law visit and a day off to attend your child’s spelling bee, you’ve used it all up. Guess what? You forgot to take a vacation. Military leave is generous. Civilian leave is only generous after several years on the job, 10-20 years in most cases to reach four weeks.

Don’t get caught in that trap. You’ve earned that vacation and you should treat yourself now, not promise to later.

What about your new job? Of course, you’ll want to “hit the deckplates running” and impress managers with your rapid ascent up the learning curve. To do so, you’ll need to have fully charged batteries. A vacation is an ideal way to unwind, refocus and come back ready to take the world by storm.

“A vacation is an ideal way to unwind, refocus and come back ready to take the world by storm.” If you’re like 90 percent of all military transitioners, you’re also moving. While the military is probably picking up the tab for your move, you’ll still want some down time to spend moving into and fixing up your new home. Do you really want to spend your evenings and weekends unpacking and painting while your days are spent trying to learn a new job?

Consider this: If you use a week to fix up your new home, spend a week traveling visiting friends and family, and then take a week’s vacation—you still have 39 days of
terminal leave remaining! If you’re an E-5 with four years of service, those 39 days translate into about $3,500 remaining, more than enough to pay for even a lavish one-week vacation. If you’re an NCO or an officer or retiring with 20 or more years, that $3,500 figure climbs much higher. Lastly, consider that, due to current economic conditions, airfare, resort rentals, auto rentals and hotel lodging prices are at an all time low. Find a great deal on a place you’ve always wanted to go. Treat yourself now, you’ve earned it!


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