“I am a subject matter expert” said the veteran.



Veterans who seek employment in the civilian sector faces many  different set of challenges and obstacles then non-vets.  Both the civilian employers and other civilian workers, hold a belief about the military that impacts hiring the decision to hire. There are some beliefs that are true however, there are some that are myths. Dispelling some of this myths can help the vet seeking employment while opening the eyes of the employer who questions the idea of hiring a vet.

Here are THE TOP 3- Myths vs Realities:

1). MYTH: Veterans have advantages above non-veterans because of their work ethics, discipline, order and sense of timeliness.

 REALITY: Many civilian employers are guided by their own perception of former military personnel.  They believe that veterans are rigid, not easily adaptable, have difficulties fitting into different work environments and, are intolerant of civilians and their ideas.

DISPEL BY, not being defensive regarding the negative images. As veterans try to allow perspective employers see you as an individual with your own set of beliefs, morals and abilities not just as a former military personnel that only thinks in black or white.

2). MYTH: Soldiers are crossed trained in positions within an organization and therefore are ‘subject matter experts (SME)’ within many areas.

       REALITY: Most of what soldiers do in the military, isn’t really understood to a civilian employer.  Most jobs that soldiers are trained in will go over the head of perspective employers and more than likely they will be immediately confused and intimidated.  Further, being too ‘gung-ho’ can appear that a veteran is set in their ways and may not be open to suggestions or learning new and inventive ways of doing things.

DISPEL BY, learning to stay in your lane.  Do the job in which you were hired to perform.  Offering advice is acceptable but there is a difference between offering advice versus belittling others or coming off as “showy”.  Find a balance to not cause hostility.

3). MYTH: Veterans believe that their skills alone, will allow them to walk into a high salary employment, post military.

REALITY: 80 percent of jobs in the civilian world are landed through networking.  Also, doing a job in the military with stringent rank structures is a lot different then doing a job in the civilian sector, whereas there isn’t a rank structure.

DISPEL BY, staying in contact with your former military colleagues.  They could possibly provide you with leads and references to assist with a ‘by-name’ interview or job.  Also, the rank structure in the military limits subordinates from speaking about what they disagree with or feel compelled to speak-up about.  On the contrary, although there are job positions that’s to be respected in civilian organizations, there is a lot more “wiggle room” per se,  in which civilians can “voice” their opinions.

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Please handle with care..

Theoretically, the average age to graduate from college with a Bachelors is around 22.  For these graduates, immediately,  if not prior, try to work in the area in which they’ve chosen to educate themselves in.  For a 22/23 y/o to take a job making $30K per year is pretty reasonable as they do lack the experience needed to argue for a $75K/yearly salary.

The average veteran graduates with a Bachelor’s degree around the age of 52. Surprisingly,  women vets graduate on average, around age 42 and men vets around age 62. Whereas non-vets have a median age of 45 for graduating with a Bachelors.  There is a 7 years age difference between vets and non-vets in terms of receiving a Bachelor’s degree.

The job market is a very competitive in nature and often can be a very intimating factor for many. In today’s job market, ‘post-9/11 veterans are facing a higher unemployment rate then non-veterans”. This was also the case for Vietnam and other veterans as well.

One of the reasons for the higher unemployment rates is the injuries that veterans from both 9/11 and Vietnam veterans endure.  These injuries includes physical injury and psychological injuries. Because of these military or war created injuries, there is a negative stigma that’s placed upon men and women veterans that leaves them “unemployable” to the average nonmilitary theme corporation.

Further, due to the higher rate of unemployment, a veteran age 18-24 has the highest rate of employment, poverty and homelessness.  This rate is higher than then non-veterans that are of the same age range.  The typical young adult age 18-24 have limited skills in the work force and life, to couple this with having physical and psychological issues forces this young adult to be even less marketable for employment which leads to extreme poverty and homelessness.

On the other side of this are the veterans who have served 20+ years in the military, have exited the military but with psychological and physical injuries.  Most of these veterans are >40 years of age and because of this, will often have more financially responsibilities which means they request a bigger salary when seeking employment.  The average employer is not willing to spend the money to support the demand of an older veteran and therefore will not choose to hire them in the workforce.

Thus all keeping the cycle of un-employable veterans,  unemployed.

In the United States, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii and Kansas leads the unemployment rates for veterans.  On the contrary, New Hampshire, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin has the lowest rate of unemployed veterans.  Alaska, Virginia and Georgia overall, has the highest percentages of veterans within the state while as Michigan Vermont and New Jersey has the least amount of veterans living in that state.

I recall talking to other veterans regarding their desire to work after the military, as I were transitioning.  One of the things I found common amongst most, were their desire to work either on a military installation or with an organization with a strong military foundation.  In the beginning, I didn’t quite understand the need to continue to be a part of the military environment.  But now, I believe I completely understand.

Here is my analogy:

More than 28% of veterans exit the military with a service-connected disability.  Of course when you take retiree (those who’ve served 20+ years,) the percentage is very close to 100% having a service connected physical or psychological injury.  With this in mind, the average veteran feels as thought, those on the outside of the structure of the military, will not and cannot understand them as veterans.  On average we have limitations on what we can and can’t do;

we have more medical appointments

and we come with a label that says Please handle with care”.  

Not to mention we usually a little older, demand more money and believe that we are “subject matter experts” in most things that we do.  We are cross-trained in various positions and feel as though our talents should be acknowledged and compensated.  We do not need as much supervision, in fact we can complete most tasks without much guidance.

Organizations see us as liabilities. They know that 10-15 years of employment is about all we have left in us. They know that most of us have retirement or disability pay monthly, some both, and believe that we are quicker to “walk out of the job”! There are just certain things you will and will not accept especially when you are working, just to be working.  Not to mention, our talents can be as intimidating as our personalities.  For most employers, these aren’t things they are willing to take chances on.

Not to mention, most people believe that we are one day shy of “snapping”. Yes, this is a stereotype but we won’t pretend as if it’s not something that is thought of by many.

So are we employable or unemployable?

I say employable, but of course with the right organization.  One that’s willing to accept us with all our flaws. And those they understands we want to be treated as everyone else.  As lets not forget those who knows when it comes  to veterans,

“Please handle with care.” 



Post Game

The world knows that last night was Super Bowl (SB) LII.  Typically, I don’t root for either team but during the SB I always pick a team. Last night just as last year, it was New England.  Tom wasn’t as he was the previous year.  Although Im touching on the game, this isn’t necessarily about the SB, as I’m sure there will be several blogs on that very subject, I just wanted to set the stage. There were a few folks gathered over to my neighbor’s house for a small celebration and to watch the game.  The crowd consisted of about 3-men and ~7 women (8 if you include my 4 y/o daughter).

Near the end of the game, all I know is there was conversation with 1-man & 1-woman, then a beer cap was thrown towards a neighbor friend and for a few minutes things got heated.  It ended in curse words, hot tempers, and the neighbor slamming the door on her way out.

Now, this neighbor of mine is active Army; a senior Non-Commissioned Officer.  Lets remember, she in this situation she was the victim not the victimizer.  One thing that was stated was ‘she’s military and she is a little more aggressive”. (something along those lines of what was stated)

Really? A stranger throws something towards your face and you react because you are military?  That’s the consensus of the group? Please don’t insult us.  We are more discipline then just that….Her response is one that anyone would have given, if not worse!! Her reaction had nothing to do with her being military. PERIOD!

With all this being said, I can’t help but to wonder “how does the world, civilians, those who’ve never served, VIEW OUR MEN & WOMEN OF THE ARMED SERVICES?

Do they believe we are mentally ill, hostile, aggressive, have severe PTSD or undisciplined as people? Unable to control our anger and emotions?

Do they believe we are broken people? Un-fix-able?

Do they believe we are much different then everyone else? Shattered human beings?

Its disheartening to say the least.  I take the allegations so personal.

But maybe we are unique.  Unique to the point that we are inherently protective of one another.  Yes…that we are.  After she was gone, I voiced my objection to the entire ordeal.  My opinion was direct…”if it had’ve been me, I would’ve acted just as so, if not worse”.  I made sure that everyone knew, ‘don’t pretend as if it was not a deliberate act; don’t pretend that each of you would have shook it off as a joke”!  Wrong is wrong.  I felt a need to defend and protect her.  In fact, I believe I took it damn near as if it had happened to me.

So yeah,

Message to the world; civilians; those who’ve never served;

Maybe we are different.  just maybe some of us are broken or un-fix-able.  But we are a family even when we aren’t family.  Those on the outside, will never understand that especially those who’ve never served.

So even during the post game, AFTER we’ve served, we will always have a commonality,  family and with family….. “THIS WE’LL DEFEND”. ALWAYS!

#soldiers #veterans #struggles #lifecoach #purpose #thoughts #family #broken #onemorestep