I you’re wondering whether you should hire a veteran, I would encourage you to stop wondering and simply do it. Sadly, America has an OUTSTANDING workforce being shunned because of… What? Fear of failure?
Those of us with a military background have a “Can Do!” attitude. Failure wasn’t an option. We’re sons of success, not sons of failure. Successful businesses hire people who’re both self-learners and self-starters. They hire people who will see the job through to the end, who do quality work, and who will accept nothing less than the best.
So why aren’t more companies willing to hire veterans?
I think it boils down to one thing: Fear. Some HR managers are afraid of the “unknown.” Perhaps their only contact with a vet has been negative. If so, they should visit a Rotary Club meeting, or an on-base open-house. Others are afraid the only thing veterans know how to do is fire a gun, drive a tank, and fly airplanes, none of which has anything to do with their business. They forget that military aviators like me, my 2,500 hours in the cockpit and the accompanying 2,500 hours spent in mission planning and debriefings comprises just 12% of the total time I spent in the military. At the most, another 12% was spent in ground training, in everything from firearms to self-aid/buddy care (combat first-aid), protection of the President, records management, anti-terrorism/force-protection (AT/FP) and many, many other fields of study. Some of those areas have no applicability to modern business, but most of them do.
Take records management, for example. That’s a given, as all businesses have records they need to manage. But with about first-aid? Most businesses require at least some of their employees to know first aid, and at least a few to also know CPR. AT/FP is indirectly applicable. It’s primary focus is to be fully aware of your surroundings, and to be unpredictable.
Most businesses use various forms of SWOT analysis to assess themselves and their environment. Being aware of one’s self, one’s unit or crew, and the environment in which we’re operating is always in the mind of a veteran. Combined with our winning attitudes and solid work ethic, we do a great deal of good for the companies who hire us!
So what did I do the remaining 76% of my time in the military? I worked! I did the same kind of work required by all businesses. In fact, I’ve been all of these:
- computer technician
- network designer, installer, systems administrator
- database designer, developer, and administrator
- corporate trainer
- records manager
- team leader
- department head ($220k non-personnel annual budget)
- project manager
- program manager ($11 million non-personnel annual budget)
- academic instructor
- courseware developer
- writer / technical writer
- executive assistant
- data and systems analyst
The rest of the time, about 25% of the time I was in the military, I had the distinct honor of being able to mission plan, fly a multimillion dollar aircraft, and debrief, both in training and combat.
So, in answer to the question, “Why should I hire a veteran?” the only valid response is to ask you, “Why NOT hire a veteran?”