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The American public has received simplistic stories of how war impacts veterans.
The media highlights the devastating effects of physical and psychological trauma.
They also showcase instances when the government fails to provide adequate care for veterans.
Many investigations have exposed the dilapidated living conditions of injured Veterans while rehabilitating.
There is also an extremely high number of suicides within the veteran community.
The physical and mental health consequences of war are important.
However, focusing primarily on the traumas of war overshadows the issue of transition.
The Department of Defense (DoD) does an effective job of training us to operate while in uniform.
However, a lot more must happen to leverage that training to prepare us to return to civilian life.
There must be a focus on the veterans’ processes of transition, change and growth to minimize risks.[convertkit]
Your Transition Is Our Top Priority!
When we transition into civilian life, we exit an institution that trained us in very specific skills, behaviors, and values.
We learned the technical skills necessary to operate weapons, technology, and machinery.
We have learned to act in extremely high-stakes situations.
We have learned how to operate within an institutional hierarchy.
We learned these skills using a specialized language that often doesn’t translate between military branches.
Therefore, the bridge between military and civilian life must consist of more than a brief training program before we leave the military.
We need more to resume life in the civilian society from which we don’t understand how to operate.
The DoD and Veterans Administration (VA) employees counsel us about our benefits.
For example, employment and relocation assistance, educational opportunities, and educate us about financial planning, resume writing, and job search skills.
In spite of recent improvements, the transition program is still ineffective.
The programs brevity and the fact we complete the training weeks before release from our military contracts demonstrates a disconnect with contemporary ways of Thinking, Being, and Doing.
At that time, we’re excited, distracted, and for some, generally unconcerned with finding work immediately.
Eventually, when we’re ready to look for new work, we’re unprepared for a variety of reasons.
Military work happens in a disciplined, rigid, high-stakes environment.
There is also a transparent salary structure and authority hierarchy.
Therefore, being accustomed to a military work environment diminishes veterans’ job preparedness.
For example, we have unrealistic expectations of how our skills transfer to civilian jobs.
Although you are highly motivated to work hard and move up corporate hierarchies, you’re frustrated because you have to start in low-paying entry-level positions.
This makes you feel as if you are starting over completely.
The “soft skills” you bring from your military experience, such as persistence, reliability, conscientiousness, and attention to detail, are also barriers to successful civilian employment.
Your military identity (characterized by being punctual, professional, and respectful) makes it difficult to adapt to civilian workplaces.
Especially considering civilians perceive these behaviors to be undervalued.
Civilians are often times late and lack of deference to authority.
This has you feeling rejected by civilian employers who are dismissive of military skills and experience, and unaware of and insensitive to the needs of veterans.
That’s why you need us…