22 April 2008

Brother, Can You Spare a Job For a Vet?

It seems veterans are having difficulty finding employment after they get out of the military (h/t The Captain's Journal). This is most likely due to the fact that employers think they are going to flip out one day and start shooting up the place with all that "PTSD running through their head" (highly unlikely), or if they are reservists or in the Guard they are going to ship out to Iraq/A-Stan in the future (much more likely). I thought veterans would be an employer's wet dream as any personnel over the rank of an E-2 have some level of managerial abilities. Also, they have a keen sense of dealing with bullshit all the time in a timely and hostile fashion. This indicates a lack of understanding amongst employers that you just "follow orders" in the military, when the actual dynamic of the day-to-day routine is much more complex and nuanced. While legislation that would force private employers to hire vets might be a bit intrusive, a cultural enlightenment campaign from respectable veterans organizations may help nip this in the bud. That and the American economy needs to stop sucking so much ass.


Sisu said...

This is a sad situation and the cause has me a little confused. I sometimes think it's because, unlike WWII, we, as a whole, are not involved. We are not asked to sacrifice any comfort. As you have pointed out time and again, the populace is not encouraged to enlist, we are not saving gas by any means, there are no victory gardens being grown or savings bonds being purchased. The military has been devalued for the most part, and I think the fall out is that veterans have been as well. Your point regarding re-deployments is valid and I also read somewhere that employers do not think veterans have the skill sets necessary for a specific type of employment. You are right, most employers are ignorant of what skill sets (managerial, technical, etc)veterans actually possess. There are programs like HireVetsFirst.gov and HireVeterans.com, who hold job fairs and do as much promotion as they can, but it's not nearly enough.

Now if we could get the economy to stop circling the drain....makes me glad I'm a member of a profession with an aging body of workers. You may be overworked, but you have job security. Unless you have a major fubar. Then people can die, and management seems to frown on that.

Dale B said...

I could write a book on this but I won't. I'll just say that most employers haven't a clue about what military experience means or what people in the military actually do.

Most people who have no military experience seem to think that in the military you operate as some sort of a robot doing whatever you're told with no independent thought involved. This seems to be true even for those who like the military. I have no idea where they get this but it seems to be the case none the less.

The company I work for does not recognize my two years of Navy A, B, and C avionics and systems schools or my seven years of active duty and four years of reserve time as having any meaning at all. My experience starts the day I graduated with an electrical engineering degree when I was 30 years old. The Navy gig essentially didn't happen. If I hadn't had the degree I wouldn't have been able to even get an interview for a technician job.

This isn't just true for enlisted either. A while ago another department hired a former Navy LT (O3). He was a sub qualified nuclear engineering officer. He told me that they credited his six years in the Navy as equivalent to two years engineering experience. He was hired as a new grad plus two years experience. He said that he had three job offers in the area and ours was the best.

This isn't a slam on the company I work for. As these things go my company is quite a bit above average in the way they treat employees. They have treated me very well and I have no problems with them other than the way they consider, or rather don't consider, military experience. This isn't an unusual situation either. Many technology companies work this way.

The only companies I've seen that give reasonable credit for military experience are defense contractors.

LT Nixon said...


Thanks for the tips on those websites.

Dale B,

Thanks for shooting it straight. I've heard this before (I'm also a Sub Nuke guy). That sucks they act like your avionics time is useless. I don't know what to say, but it sucks that this is the way of the world.