Rhian Worrell was an officer in the Adjutant General’s Corps and retired as a Major after 17 years of Service. We asked her about what life back on civvy street is really like.
What was your resettlement like?
I retired after 17 years and it was really because I had two young kids. My husband’s also in the Army so it was pretty impossible to juggle that and our postings. They were usually out of sync as well, so one of us was always on the move and I just realised that it wasn’t going to work with two kids – moving them constantly. So the aim was to settle the kids and to have stability.
My husband is still in the Army and he comes home at weekends. I wasn’t desperate to leave but I had to because it was difficult and I couldn’t give 100% to the Army. I realised that and I think that once you can’t give 100%, that’s when you need to pull the pin.
How are you enjoying civilian life?
It’s really good actually. I only work part-time now so I have much more balance in my life and it’s really nice having a home and being settled. It’s good.
What I often reflect on is what the Army gave me in terms of what you glean from it -having a career in the Army and how you develop and all of that. People stereotype Military people and most of them don’t really have any idea of what Military people could bring to the party because they only know what they see on TV and of course, it’s not like that at all.
As well as that, I didn’t really understand, within the context of the Army, what I could bring – you start learning that when you first start working in civvy street. You think: ‘OK I can make this work’ and ‘I can add value here’ and that sort of thing. Initially, I didn’t have the confidence because you are slightly institutionalised to a degree but then you suddenly realise that actually, it’s like everything else and you’ve got to get on with it. The only thing you have to learn about I think, is that in Military life, if you say something to someone, they don’t take it to heart, they’ll just be: ‘Roger that’ and get on with it. Or if somebody says something to you, you just take it on the chin and it’s forgotten. The banter is always there, whereas in civilian life it is but not to that extent. Civilians are a bit like: ‘I can’t believe you said that’. You have to temper what you say to a degree. I work in an environment where there are civilians and ex-Military so it’s good fun.
You’re in Security…
Only because the guy who runs the company heard that I was living in the village and came and knocked on the door and said: “Do you want to send me your CV and perhaps get a job with us?” So it worked like that really. I hadn’t been out (of the Army) for long and I was looking after my kids and being a mum but I enjoy working.
What do you miss about the Army?
I think I miss the sort of camaraderie; the laughs and jokes that you have every day, which I do get from work, but I’m only working part-time.
What don’t you miss?
There are aspects of it that I don’t miss. Like when you’re expected to go to a mess do and you have to be available at the drop of a hat and you’re probably sat next to someone at the dinner that you don’t really want to talk to: that’s not my scene. I’m not big into small talk. I always felt uncomfortable in that sort of environment. I don’t miss that. I enjoy the freedom of civilian life.
Have you noticed any changes since you came out of the Army?
Well I was always still in touch with civilian life because I’ve got civilian friends and my family.
I think I’ve certainly seen a change in the Army from when I joined in 1994, from an equal opportunities perspective – there was a massive drive and it really did have an impact and the Army did completely change in the 17 years when I was in – which was a good change.
But in terms of civilian life I’d always kept in touch with all of that.
Rhian Worrell now works for professional security service, Blue Mountain Group.