What I Love to Do Vs What I Have To Do

Earlier this week, I spoke with a fellow Veteran who has experienced a very familiar transition from soldier to civilian.

A transition which entailed several employment roles and a taste of depression, all while trying to find his feet in ‘civvy street’.

Richie Kingstone joined the Army in 1998 at the young age of sixteen. After completing basic training, Richie went on to serve in Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Afghanistan with The Royal Corps of Signals.


Richie in Afghanistan


What was it that finalised your decision to leave the Armed Forces?

“I decided to leave the Army in 2010 based on a few reasons. On return from Afghanistan, my first son was born and I was also at my twelve-year point. I didn’t really want to get caught up in the pension trap and I wanted to be of a young age when I started my life again in ‘civvy street’, and to be honest, I felt like I was getting too old for the bulls**t”.

When you made that decision to leave the Armed Forces, did you have any idea what you wanted to do in ‘civvy street’?

“Not really, I had a job in Gloucester for a year teaching foreign and domestic security forces how to maintain and use ECM (Electronic Counter Measures). At one stage during my transition, I was very close to depression. I had all the pressures of a new house, a new baby, and a new job while having no network of friends. I decided to f**k off to Afghan on the Close Protection circuit for a couple of years as a communications engineer. Then following that, I went to Malaysia for a year to help bring their rail network into the 21st century. I managed to make a bit of money and bought a pub franchise in Stockton on Tees where I am originally from.”

“I still have the pub today but my wife runs it now and I work as a full-time mobile network engineer for Ericsson. It’s not what I want to do but it’s ok for now. In the meantime, I’m trying to build up an outdoor hiking brand.”


So why the outdoor hiking brand, what sparked the idea for ‘Ya Skins Waterproof‘?

“I’ve decided to try and do what I love to do rather than what I have to do. It’s going to take some time and hard graft but I will get there”.

Ya Skins Waterproof is an obvious Army saying so I thought it would be quite clever to use”

“I’m working towards getting hiking qualifications while concurrently building my social media following. When I finish creating the website, I’ll also start writing blogs about hiking. I’m thinking of writing a hiking guide of certain areas, I’m currently mapping the North Yorkshire Moors with my own routes”.

“It’s the dream, imagine never having to go to work again and making money from it”.


Richie hiking


If you could give one piece of advice to someone leaving the Amed Forces, what would you say?

“Leaving the Armed Forces can be quite scary. After being in the military, you have so many useful transferable skills that put you head and shoulders above civilians. It’s just a case of learning how to articulate those skills to the civilian world. The Military can be quite restricting – The world is your oyster, just follow your dreams.” – Richie Kingston


Richie Kingston


I have bounced between jobs and struggled financially ever since the day I left the Armed Forces. Is it too easy to slip into a routine of doing all the things we have to do rather than doing the things we love to do?

Up until recently, I have only ever been in jobs that are purely just jobs. A line of work to earn money and to make ends meet but I have never been passionate about these roles of employment. This would probably explain why I have changed employment roles so many times.

Wouldn’t it just make more sense to do what we love to do? But how do we do this without putting ourselves through financial pressure and straining our mental health?

I guess an element of it comes down to the planning and preparation prior to leaving the Armed Forces. However, you can always try and build your own project of interest on the sideline of your everyday job, just like Richie. He may well be in a steady job as a mobile network engineer, but in his spare time, he is building ‘Ya Skins Waterproof‘, something he is truly passionate about.

It may take some time and hard graft but sometimes that’s what it takes to do what we love to do rather than what we have to do.

In my opinion, we’re only here once, so just go for it and do what you love to do.

Written by Jamie R Kennedy and Richie Kingston


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