Veterans are one of the most underutilized groups in society, and I believe that this comes from the belief that we all have PTSD or are “broken.” Being a veteran and a combat veteran at that, I know that this isn’t true. The question I get most often after I tell people that I am a veteran is, “Did you ever shoot anyone?” This is not the first thing you want to talk about with someone you have just met, especially if you don’t know whether or not that person even supports veterans.
Transitioning out of the military is a difficult time for many service members, not only in overcoming the uncertainty of how to find a job but also in finding the right job that aligns with personal passion and experience. One of the hardest things for veterans to do is translate their work experience into terms that hiring personnel can understand. If hired, they will be among the most loyal, hard-working and honest individuals on your team because of the core values instilled by the military.
There are many benefits to hiring veterans, including their accelerated learning curve and leadership skills. Veterans are trained to work in diverse teams to get a job done, and they’ll go beyond what is requested to complete their tasks.
Veteran transition to civilian life can vary in terms of difficulty, with some finding it to be somewhat easy, while others find it very trying. Veterans have one of the highest rates of suicide as well. A staggering average of 22 military veterans commit suicide daily because they either cannot transition ito civilian life or are not accepted back into society by peers. Veterans make up 11% of the homeless population in the United States and have the second highest unemployment as a group.
Many companies have begun to see the potential of veterans and started work training programs. These companies have seen greater success in departments where veterans were hired. Some resources to help can be found here, whether you are a veteran looking for work or a company looking to hire a veteran: https://www.va.gov/careers-employment/veteran-resources/
Sebastian Jungers, a documentarian who was sent to one of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan with a US Army unit, did an amazing Ted Talk on “why veterans miss war.”
He explains that while we don’t miss war, we miss the bonds and relationships that we formed, which we seek to replace in our workplace.
In these uncertain times, one certainty that you can be certain of is that if you choose a veteran to work for you at your company, you won’t be let down. Helping a veteran transition can also be a very rewarding experience and can potentially save a life at the same time. If you are considering hiring veterans, there are many organizations out there to contact, and many benefits for you if you do employ them. So, in closing, take a chance on a salty Navy vet or an ornery old Marine, and you won’t be disappointed.