To My Fellow Veterans

by Nolan Ruby

Nolan Ruby

Standing at the starting gate of a summer long overdue, (considering the winter most of us have had,) already a few picnics and barbeques into June’s extended sunny days, and just a few days away from a long weekend of cold drinks and fireworks, it’s tempting to fall into our tried and proven, comfortable routines. We move through our schedules towards the next “check in the box,” and we forget I fear that ambition and sense of wonder which caused us to request a tour of duty within the armed forces. We have a job, and it’s meeting the needs for now, so we settle, we accept, and we start to think that perhaps the most accomplished days in our lives may be behind us. We look for that feeling of achievement like we once had, only to find a world of supervisors who do not seem to understand our past success. We find a world full of cubicles and digital deadlines, and we may become disheartened.

Have you ever had these thoughts? Sir Frances Bacon once stated; “The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he is yet alive.” Can you relate to that? If you can, if I just explained in detail your feelings, have you settled? Do you want more? If so, how hard are you willing to work for it?

The reason that I bring this up is not to rub your perceived misfortune in your face; that is not at all my intention. No, the reason I bring this up is to wake you up, to help you if you want it. I would like to show you that the same ambition and passion that made you effective in your service to the US Armed Forces is greatly lacking in the private sector and also greatly desired by supervisors and managers alike. We are living in the greatest entitled age in my opinion that this nation has ever seen, and the only thing that must be done for you to stand out a bit from the many other resumes that flood the market every day is to be the person that feels they are owed nothing that they are not willing to work for. You joined the US Military, and started from the bottom, (as you should have) working your way up with integrity and commitment; and to that I say well done. Where we go wrong as veterans is when we reach the end of our service, and expect the private sector to not only understand our accomplishments as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, but to fast track us because of them. There is a communication gap between the US Military and our nation’s private companies, this is true; but this gap is not closed by being of the mindset that they should understand me, but rather that I should and even must learn to understand them. Don’t be the one who waits for what he feels he is owed to come and knock on his door, but rather get up off your blessed back-side and work for what you want; like you did in the military; from the bottom up.
In the Military, your accomplishments are displayed in the proudest of traditions, in small, colorful, neat little rows on your chest. These small patriotic displays are a great sense of pride and integrity across all the branches of the Military. However, they are not understood by a greater majority of the civilian populace. Now, with that said, there is something that the civilian populace does understand very well when it comes to employment considerations, and it is a virtue that you are in no short supply of.
Commitment; there are people in this life, people in our country’s work force that have never understood what it is like to not have the freedom to call in sick. Just your commitment alone is enough to set you apart from those you may be in competition with for the job you want.
Another quality that you have ample supply of that is grossly desired today in the private employment market place is resolve. I know more people that bounce around from job to job then I do know people that stick. The majority of today’s employees walk into an interview only looking for how the job benefits them, and could care less about how they are able to contribute to and impact the company. Companies are looking to make an investment in you, but they want to see a return on that investment. You want to make your Military record shine, outline your resolve and self-assigned sense of obligation toward a job not just finished, but finished well, (which in the Marine Corps always meant with time to spare and under budget.)
Finally, outline your experience, (in terms that spare the civilian who you are talking with the Military acronyms and language of bravado.) The experience of making decisions quickly with little or perhaps even none of the required information, and not only that but also standing by those decisions when the repercussions of those decisions come full circle. This is not a quality that is easy to find in the private employment world today. There are very few “decision makers” available in the private employment market place, and the ones that are available, and have outlined their ability to be able to make decisions are being compensated appropriately for it.
So there you are. Commitment…Resolve…Experience; three qualities that are greatly needed in the private employment market place which you as a US Military veteran have a generous amount of. Now, how bad do you want your best days to be in front of you vs. behind you?

About Russ Hovendick

My name is Russ Hovendick and my life has centered on helping others. To me there is no greater fulfillment than being able to play a part in positively impacting an individual's life. Connect with Russ on Google+

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