Being part of the United States Military has been a great opportunity for me to take the lessons I learned throughout my military career and now apply them to my civilian life. In celebration of Veterans Day I chose to ask my fellow veterans in our community how has their military career either helped or hindered them as they navigate the civilian workforce? Check out their responses below for a snapshot into what that transition can be like for those that have served our country.
“I had civilian experience before I became a soldier, so I believe I was able to adapt to both “worlds” quicker than most. This is not to say it was easy! As an active infantryman (11c, the smart grunt), I have experienced some things most wouldn’t wish for, however, it has taught me the power of positivity, motivation, and overall, the “how” when approaching life’s obstacles. By far, this is my biggest takeaway and the most helpful tool when it comes to my civilian career. Remember, life is not perfect BUT it works in a perfect way!”
"Military experience has been both a help and a hindrance in the private job market. Though the skills and experience gained and developed in the Army equate to a vast number of civilian professions, most people who have never served do not understand what those skills are. There has to be someone willing to listen and learn about how your military career transfers to private sector positions. Unfortunately there aren’t more hiring managers and HR employees who take the time to understand where veterans and former service members are coming from. That though, is what benefit PG has had for me, with Bobby knowing through his experience what service entails. It is a task that we as recruiters can pass along to our clients and candidates alike. How to interview and understand veterans as well as preparing veterans to translate military speak into common English."
"Being a US Marine taught me many valuable lessons, both as a troop and leader. The biggest impact to my civilian career from my time as a Marine is that mission accomplishment is number 1 priority followed by troop welfare. If you approach your civilian career with these in mind it will help guide your decisions both as a climber and as a leader and will help keep you focused on what is most important. Semper Fi!"
"My experience in the military taught me discipline, hard work, and what solid leadership and teamwork looks like. The way that the military hindered my professional life was by making me a little too candid. Most of the companies I have worked for do not ask their employees for their ideas in an effort to make the company better. And those companies that don’t ask, generally don’t like it when you give them your opinion anyway. Populus Group is very unique in its efforts to make sure that everyone speaks their mind and contributes to making the company a better place. It’s something that I appreciate very much."
"As to how my military career helped my civilian career, it did so by instilling the meaning of teamwork, selflessness, patience, and grit. At the time I completed my tour and decided to get out, I discovered quickly that I wasn’t really prepared for 1st Civilian Division life. It was at a time when the economy was still on its knees, and no jobs were available. I went days without food because I wanted to make sure I paid my phone bill in case a call came back from one of my countless job interviews. I was homeless for a good 2-3 weeks, before I finally started finding traction and things started taking a turn for the best."
"I had to have the patience to persevere through those times and not give up regardless of how hard it was. I had to have the grit to push on and find a way no matter how many prospective employers said no to me. I knew that if I kept it at, there would be one of them who would give me a chance."
"One of the best qualities the Navy has given me that has attributed to my success in my civilian life would be my thick skin. I learned not to take anything personal at work, it’s just business. I still hear my Recruit Division Commander (drill instructors for you non-Navy folks), yelling in my face “It’s not personal”, followed by plenty of critiques of my military bearing and posture. As long as you have that “thick skin” you tend to take less of that work stress home with you, learn from your mistakes quicker, and improve your processes more efficiently."
"The ever famous “attention to detail” is one that afflicted me in my beginning months at Populus Group. Throughout my career in the Navy, “attention to detail” has always been taught with an understanding of someone’s life could depend on it. I brought that same mentality with me to my job here. Every tiny mistake I would make would affect me to the core and I dwell on this mistake over and over again causing a snowball effect of more and more mistakes. Until I learned that someone’s life would surely not end by not attaching the right documents to an email or calculating a pay rate incorrect, I was able to move on from those errors, learn and grow."
Our veterans have varying experiences in the military that have contributed positively and sometimes negatively to our work experiences in the civilian world. Although our veterans have overcome many obstacles to blend into the civilian workforce, the many positive skills and attributes they bring with them from their military experience make them stand out as gritty leaders. We can never thank them enough for their sacrifices. To all the Veterans at Populus Group and throughout the U.S.
Thank you for your service!