Memorial Day

Every Memorial Day provides a reminder to honor veterans, both past and present, who have served our country. Around this time every year, we have the privilege of conducting a two-day complimentary workshop for Marines from the Wounded Warrior Battalion West. The attendees are planning their transition out of the military. They face a variety of medical issues but they are very employable and highly motivated to move on with a new career path. These two days provide a fresh and sobering reminder of what “we the people” have asked these brave men and women to do for our country.

Our training focuses on providing job search skills that help these veterans transitioning into the business community. We have great clients who volunteer to participate in the training and contribute to the cost of workbooks, food and drink. We teach from the perspective of a recruiter or hiring manager, so that they can better understand the entire recruiting process and develop a strategy for each step.

The concepts we teach are typically foreign to these Marines. Many have never interviewed for a civilian job before. They speak in military jargon (not surprising), they don’t have an appreciation for how their training and experience translates into the business world and they are very uncomfortable with self promotion. They like talking about their team, not themselves. They are very curious. Lots of great questions, some are humorous and naïve, some will pull at the heart, but they are always interesting.

Every class is concerned that their skills will not transfer to civilian life or won’t be accepted. As an example we had a logistics expert who, on orders direct from the White House, needed to expedite supplies, people and ammunition to a key location during a critical battle. He described the scenario, challenges, scope of operation and political red tape he had to cut through in order to get this done successfully. It was breath taking. Under extremely stressful conditions he organized this highly complicated movement of people and equipment perfectly. All elements were delivered on time and in the right place so that a very important mission was completed and American lives were saved. Yet, this gentleman was concerned that his skills were not transferable. What airline, logistics operation, transportation company or on-line retailer wouldn’t want this person?

We hear similar stories throughout the workshop. It’s amazing that these dedicated and focused individuals who have been through so much are so humble that they don’t appreciate the attributes they have acquired in the military. They have skills that are not just transferable but highly sought in the civilian workplace. We have had mechanics, truck drivers, technicians, supply personnel, materials handlers, Hazmat experts, security personnel, dispatch, planners, ATC, interpreters, recruiters, water purification specialists, IT specialists, and many others come through our classes. They all have the same concerns: will they be accepted in to the civilian workplace and how will their skills translate to civilian jobs?

After every class, we leave the experience impressed and grateful that we have such people guarding our liberty. They are mature. They adapt well to change and have learned to overcome obstacles in order to accomplish goals. They are phenomenal under pressure, professional, goal-oriented, team oriented, motivated, and extremely loyal. They appreciate opportunities to compete and learn, and generally like to laugh. AND, they have skills.

Our workshops are fun but the honor of helping those who have served in our military is our greatest reward. On this Memorial Day, please remember those who have fought to ensure that others may live, that liberty there for all to partake. If you are in business, keep an open mind about hiring our veterans.
They will surprise you.
They will impress you.
Actively look for ways to screen them in. They are not looking for hand outs. They want to compete for jobs and get offers because you think they will be the best hire.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone, and to all veterans – past and present, thank you for your service!