After finishing my contract with the United States Marines in 2011, I realized that there are a lot of preconceived notions from civilians about what service men and women learn in the military. Something that might be surprising to learn is that many of the skills we learn in the military are on par with skills needed in today’s workforce.
In honor of Armed Forces Day this Saturday, May 20, I’d like to advocate for hiring veterans by sharing skills that I, and many other service men and women, have inherited from serving our country.
Most people I have spoken with do not think of the military as an organization that encourages free thought, innovation, and creative thinking. At first glance, I can see how many people would have this impression (in fact, there were many times while I was serving that I had the same opinion), however there is more to serving in the military than first meets the eye. During my Marine Corps service, I worked as an FA-18 mechanic. On a daily basis, we had a mission to accomplish, and not accomplishing that mission was not an option, whether we were deployed or at home, the expectation was that we always reach our goals. I think that most of us know that part of life is occasionally not reaching your goals, and there were days that we fell short. However, each one of my superiors made it very clear that my job was to never stop trying to accomplish the mission.
I served in the U.S. Marines, and while no branch of the military seems to have a reputation for breeding humble young professionals, the Marines are notorious for encouraging the exact opposite. I have found that many people expect prior service members to be hubris and stubborn, but I learned more humility during my five years of military service than I have in the other 25 years of my life combined. During my service on a daily basis, I worked with people from a very diverse set of backgrounds and life experiences, and while I might have signed the contract as a hotheaded 19 year old, I quickly discovered that I could learn something from every person I worked with. There was no room for me to ignore my mistakes or refuse help to learn to fix them, so I learned to listen, to be teachable, and that I should never assume that I knew more than everyone else around me did. I learned to learn from my mistakes and to go into every situation with the goal of not only accomplishing the mission but also learning how to do it better the nest time. I am so glad I learned this lesson before I joined the business world, because it has given me the opportunity to learn from everyone I have worked with and become more skilled at my job quicker than I ever could have imagined before serving.
Planning, Prioritizing, and Organizing:
On any given day, during my time as an aircraft mechanic in the military, I was given a list of every maintenance job that needed to be completed and of every aircraft that was supposed to fly. My supervisors expected my peers and I make sure that everything was completed on time so that every aircraft could fly as planned. This meant that as a team we had to make a plan and decide what needed to be done first and what could be done last. Given that, it seemed every day there was more work than hours to do it and we had to find most efficient way to get the jobs done. That meant we had make a plan that we could stick to organize our supplies, tools, and time. If we failed to plan, organize, and prioritize our work, we would find ourselves at the end of the day without the time or resources to finish the job.
Almost all veterans come equipped with skills that would add value to any workplace! If you’re interested bringing veterans to your workforce, Veterans Forward at National Able Network can help! Click here or call 312-994-4200 to learn more!
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