It's fine to take a small break after leaving the military. After at least four years of service in a position with an active security clearance, it's understandable that stress and responsibility needs to be put on the back burner for a bit. For the sake of the rest of your life, don't let that security clearance expire without using it to get into another job! Take a look at how security clearance expiration and/or hiring situations work and how to dodge a lot of the expiration drama.
An Active Clearance Is A Foot In The Door
Security clearances are difficult to get, especially for civilians. Your job has to be relevant to the security program in place, which often means an impressive or simply hard to find set of skills and training. Government projects are one of the few ways that civilians can gain access to a security clearance, and you shouldn't let a janitor with a clearance fool you into a false sense of security; the background check can filter a lot of people out of the process, no matter how complex or simple the job.
The military is often a difficult trial of patience, discipline and bravery, but it's also one of the easiest ways to get a clearance. So much that the military and federal government are being scrutinized for giving out too many clearances. Don't let a clearance that was basically handed to you go to waste.
For people who don't have military, federal government or government contract experience, you're holding a golden ticket to employment. Your active clearance means that companies seeking government contracts don't need to spend money on processing an entirely new clearance investigation, which can exceed an employee's yearly salary in many cases. The cost is more than just the money spent on the clearance itself, but the amount of time you'd be working on a clearance instead of your job and the missed potential contracts if you're not available immediately.
An Expired Clearance Isn't The End Of The World
Not all military service-members can be honorably relieved of their duties with a security clearance. The security clearance approval date isn't specifically bound to your military career, and your clearance may expire while you're still in the military. Not many commands would be willing to renew your clearance for just a few months of compliance.
If your clearance has lapsed for any reason, there's still hope. An expired clearance (not a revoked clearance) means that you were trusted with information, and can likely be trusted again. For employers who don't know much about clearances, it can add an impressive flair to your service.
A hiring agent with cleared jobs in their database can get you into a position that might be willing to renew your clearance, or in a position where you're better than candidates that have never held a clearance before. Contact a security clearance jobs professional to discuss openings whether you're counting down the days of your clearance or already out of the game.