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Why Hiring Veterans Can Reduce Talent Acquisition and Training Costs

Hiring the best candidate for the job typically takes a lot of time and money. While you feel pressure from leadership to fill your open positions as quickly as possible, recruiting the most qualified candidates will save you more time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Scrambling to just quickly fill your open jobs can result in loss of money, time invested, and increased attrition rates by not having the right talent in the role.

 So, how can you cost-effectively hire and retain top notch employees? A good starting point is tapping into a pool of the most skilled, reliable, and impressive candidates. Here’s why the most qualified person for the job could very well be a veteran:

  1. Mission Focus

A military lifestyle by nature is mission focused. Veterans thrive in a culture built on cooperation, personal development, and overcoming obstacles to get the job done. These values naturally translate into civilian roles.

  1. Broad Spectrum Leaders

Veterans possess a wide range of solid leadership experience. Many soldiers become non-commissioned officers who are placed in leadership positions by the age of 20. Throughout military careers, these leaders are taught responsibility, integrity, and decision making techniques that develop into strong, natural leadership qualities.

Intuition is a skill most veterans possess when they exit the military that can enhance civilian job requirements like problem solving, strategizing, and decision making. Because military experience inevitably strengthens intuition, veterans are well fit for leadership and team building roles.   

  1. Shortened Onboarding Process

Often times, candidates are brought into positions with limited training and need to be handheld as they onboard. Veterans’ history of intensive training and formative real world experiences allow them to confidently lead from day one. Because strategic leadership skills have been acquired from years of military experience in rigorous training programs, vets may require less training, saving your company time and money during the onboarding process.

Veterans are extremely qualified for a number of civilian roles, but in order to get a clear picture of how their skills match your job descriptions, you need to first understand how their experience can best support your company — which is easier said than done in most HR departments today. You need a solution to translate military skills from resumes in ways you’ll actually be able to understand.

If you’d like to learn more about a veteran career platform that will provide you with veteran resumes that fit the roles you’re trying to fill as quickly and effectively as possible, request a call with a member of our team!

Set Yourself Up For Success Before Transitioning Out of the Military

 

Army soldiers are no stranger to preparedness and situational awareness. By the time most military personnel are transitioning out of the military, these skills have become second nature not only in relation to their military role, but in everyday life as well. Yet somewhere along the line, we see many veterans leaving out these very formative skills that are not only essential, but critical to a successful transition from active duty to the civilian sector.

Preparedness

You can never start too early. The industry recommendation in beginning your transition is somewhere around a year out (and most military offered assistance programs start around then as well), but there are many avenues of preparedness that you can begin at any time in your career. First on the list of early preparedness: a resume. Your resume will become your story. But, that story has to be translated from the military jargon and technicals terms that strongly define your experience into a meaningful snapshot of how you will benefit a future employer. That future employer will not know what your MOS, military awards, or training credentials mean to them as a civilian company. You have to be prepared and have that translation ready. So whether you’ve just enlisted, just finished the Captain’s Career Course, or you are reaching 25 years and counting down the days, start building your translated resume, and allow that story to build with you.

Situational Awareness

While your situation may no longer be in a combat zone, there are many layers of life, family, and future to work through as you strive to make the best decisions to sustain or even improve quality of life. A successful transition begins with staying actively engaged with the goal in sight. The transition experience is weighted with decision making, but when preparing early, there are a few basic parameters that you’ll need to be aware of and how your situation stands:

  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Will you have children in school?
  • What fields or industries will you pursue?
  • Do you have a network to pull from? (If not, start here: 3 Steps to Building a Network)
  • What are you actually qualified to do in the civilian workforce?
  • Can I articulate my military experience in a way a civilian employer will understand?

If you start to ask these ‘veteran in transition’ questions early and engage in conversations with mentors and spouses, the framework to your transition will slowly begin to build. If you have a strong framework and concept of the direction you desire to go BEFORE you hit those mandated military transition programs, you’ll be able to better piece together the picture being offered for life after active military service.

Active, self-guided involvement in early preparedness is key to a successful transition. Don’t wait until someone says, “Your first TAPS workshop is next Monday.” Go into that transitional period with a plan in place. Remain knowledgeable about your options, clear on the storytelling of your military experience with a translated resume, and aware of the parameters you’ll be needing to set, meet, and achieve.

For more career-driven preparedness tips, check out this blog post!

GuideOn + Stanford = Veteran Opportunities

GuideOn officially placed our first Veteran to the Stanford Ignite program, a program within the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Amanda Taplin, Air Force Combat Veteran from San Antonio, TX, will be attending the Ignite program this coming summer. For the past 6 months, we have been evolving a partnership with Stanford’s Business school to not only place Veterans in their program but also place Veterans in jobs.
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The Ignite program is a one month crash course in entrepreneurship. It is designed to prep potential entrepreneurs for a career in technology. Recently, Stanford has created a program exclusive for Veterans. In our first year working with Stanford, we submitted five GuideOn candidates. The process for submission was resume creation, one on one coaching by our Candidate Services team, and completing an interview with a Stanford representative. We are so proud of Amanda for her recent acceptance into the program and we have one other GuideOn candidate on the waitlist. This is a very competitive opportunity, but we have no doubt we will provide the bulk of their veteran candidates next year. If you are a veteran and interested in this opportunity, please contact
GuideOn Candidate Services.
 

 

 

 
 
 

Meet the Team: Wayne Ludwig

WAYNE

Hi, I’m Wayne Ludwig, a Behavioral Scientist Researcher at GuideOn.
I am working very hard with all the members of our research team at GuideOn to ensure that your hard earned military service is translated into a quality resume. Our goal will always be that every veteran is able to use our resume to showcase their vital skills that civilian companies are looking for, and be compensated at their worth.

I currently live in Boston with my family, and my priority remains to spend as much time with them as possible. You can count on me cheering on my boys playing high school sports and enjoying newly discovered outdoor hobbies with my wife like kayaking and geocaching.

I’ve just recently retired from the Army with almost 22 years of service in the Military Police. I served two combat tours in Iraq and also served in six other countries throughout my career. I am so excited to be helping other vets find a great jobs and being a part of a team who helps and assist with easing transitions.

~Wayne

 

Gaps in Employment

Explaining the gaps in your employment history can be both nerve wracking and confusing for most people. As many Veterans decide to leave the Military and use additional vacation time to transition into their next career path, this additional gap combined with military service can prove confusing to potential employers too. In our September 2015 blog, ETS Equals Active Job Seeker, we discussed what employers might assume of a candidate with a gap in their employment and often “…employers believe the best workers are the ones who already have work.” But as with life, things happen. Unemployment happens, transitions happen, and in the end, honesty is always the best route. 

From family emergencies, illnesses, layoffs, and even luck, each person can be faced with the decision to work full-time or use their time and attention for something else. Overall, honesty will be your main champion on your resume and in your interview.

First, let’s discuss your resume. Your resume is a brief overview of who you are and why a company should sign you up for an interview. Most recruiters are looking at your last two positions in less than 30 seconds to determine if you are a quick fit for the job. If this is where your gap in employment resides, it’s time to make sure your resume is setup to answer questions with clear and concise information. (Note: GuideOn users can add the following information to your Civilian Job or Skills Sections.)

  1. Professional Experience versus Employment. An Employment section of a resume just tells the reader that you worked, but a Professional Experience section can cover a variety of experience and skills learned over time. This avoids you putting more than one sentence about why the gap is there if it works. Use your cover letter to explain any additional information if needed; your resume should include all the achievements and experiences in the past 10 years.
  2. Volunteer work. Add Volunteer positions into the Professional Experience section. Why? You either provided part-time work for free which the organization appreciated or you provided a skill they did not have but added to the organization’s success. Talk to the organization about being your reference and the title you could list as your “job”. This could include PTA officer, Troop Leader, and Volunteer Coordinator if you gained experiences due to parenting or a personal break in employment.
  3. Stay Active and Share. Emphasize any activities you undertook during the gap to improve your professional standing. School, certifications, volunteering or major personal projects can be mentioned as well as consulting, freelance or contract work. The time you dedicated to a project will show your active learning ability. Additionally, mentoring and coaching peers and children should be noted to share your ability to be a part of another person’s development.
  4. Importance of the Skills Section: Having this at the top shows what you bring to the table regardless of gaps in time. Add years of skill experience to enhance that element if the company has it listed in the job description. For example: “10 Years Project Management”, “Bilingual- Spanish (Read/Write)”, or “2 Years Fundraising”. You can add additional Skills to your GuideOn resume by clicking on the Skills section and adding a new Skill at the bottom.

Next up: How to discuss your gap in employment during your interview. Remember, you want to tell the hiring manager or recruiter why adding you to the team is the best option for both parties, don’t feel that you need to give all the details of your gap. Compare it to purchasing a quality used car. The goal is to find out how well the car will help you and be an asset to your life; not all the bad things it went through and how it might not work in one year due to a previous issue or change.

  1. Job cuts. Why are you no longer with your last employer? Identify if you aren’t at a company because of a restructuring or downsizing. Those two words are important to why you no longer work at a company in a time where there are cutbacks, even in the Army.
  2. Your Choice to Leave. Explain your reason for leaving a company in a positive way during an interview. What were your achievements? What did you learn that you want to use in your new job?
  3. Focus on the future. Rather than dwelling on or apologizing for the break, you want to let the interviewer know that you are excited and ready to work. Be prepared to answer questions based on your previous jobs, experiences, and values. Provide positive, future focused responses and be proud of the accomplishments you’ve had at a job, in school, when volunteering and in life.
  4. Be Honest. At the end of the day, just be honest if asked what you were doing during a gap in employment. How you verbally respond to the question and your physical behavior portraying confidence will allow the person to best understand why you were without a job for a specific period of time. 

With ever changing career mobility and economic tides, gaps in employment are becoming more and more common. Don’t let any taboo fears override your instincts to just be honest and explain periods of unemployment in your professional life. Honesty and confidence in your journey will be your best accompaniment in a resume and interview setting.

Ted Talks for Veterans in Transition: How to Talk so People Will Listen

Ever wonder if people are really listening to you? As we’ve seen in previous TedTalk highlights, there are great behavioral methods to adopt to be not only a more effective communicator, but also someone who others’ actually listen, absorb, and react to. As your transition from military to civilian life involves many conversations where you
need answers, assistance, opportunities, and results, Julian Treasure has some great tips on how to speak so that people WANT to listen.

 

 

 

Meet the Team: Kristin Aguilar

KRISTIN-2

I’m Kristin Aguilar and I’m part of the research and behavioral science team (aka the resume makers) at GuideOn.

As an Army Brat, I’ve grown up with the military as part of my life. It’s how I describe who I am because it has shaped my values and allowed me the opportunity to be around various people from different backgrounds. I believe it’s part of what has propelled me into the fields of higher education and leadership development over the

years.

I combine all of that experience and knowledge to find the best elements of a resume for you because I understand your background, your work ethic, and your worth. I am also part of the team that can coach you and prepare you for an interview.

I love social media, working out to PiYo and Cize, and spending time with my family and furbabies. My hometown is San Antonio, but as you know, Army Brats have a hard time claiming one place- my heart is also in Heidelberg.

The 3 Foundational Elements That Drive GuideOn

Core Values, Core Purpose, and Powerful Transforming Vision: Overview

When the GuideOn Leadership Team started the company in September 2014, we wanted to build a high-performance, transformational culture that was driven by intangible motivators that not only recognized each teammember’sbasic needs, but more importantly theirpersonal fulfillment needs and desires. We wanted toengage the emotional energy of the “full person” inside every GuideOn team member, similar to the way that the Army’s Values, Purpose and Vision had energized GuideOn Co-Founders. To realize this kind of culture we knew that it would have to be built on a strong foundation of specific GuideOn Core Values, Core Purpose, and A Powerful Transforming Vision that would engage team member motives and drive our behavior. We invite you to examine GuideOn’s three foundational elements and to ask yourself the question, “Are these type foundational elements important to me, when I make my civilian work place selection?”

At GuideOn we believe that high performing companies possess and are driven by three essential organizational foundational elements, which form the bedrock for enduring company success: 1) a set of Internalized Core Values, 2) a Core Purpose, and 3) a Powerful Transforming Vision.

The first two foundational elements, Core Values and Core Purpose form GuideOn’s Core Ideology. GuideOn team members fully understand that to realize lasting organizational success we must live and work by our Core Ideology. Furthermore, to create and sustain our GuideOn culture we must also teach our Core Ideology to all new team members. Core Values are the crucial and enduring tenets of an organization. In short, GuideOn’s Core Values are our basic beliefs about “what is good”, “what ought” to be, or “what we stand for”. The second part of GuideOn’s Core Ideology is Core Purpose, is “our reason for being” or “why we exist”. GuideOn’s Core Purpose is the company’s and team member’s DNA. These first two tenets essentially identify what is sacred to GuideOn and must remain fixed. They differ drastically from our business strategies and practices, which must endlessly adapt to a changing world. In the end Core Values and Core Purpose, our Core Ideology provides the glue that holds our organization together through time. Our Core Ideology is what defines GuideOn’s enduring character, our consistent identity that transcends product or market life cycles, technology breakthroughs, management fads, and individual leaders. Most importantly, GuideOn’s ability to focus and refocus on our Core Ideology is the primary reason we can solve “unsolvable” problems innovatively”.

GuideOn’s third foundation element is our Powerful Transformational Vision. Our Core Ideology is critical to Vision development and attainment, because it measures the “rightness” of our Vision. GuideOn’s strong Core Ideology prevents us from creating a Vision that could be viewed as immoral or unethical. However, as important as our Core Ideology is it does not provide direction. Only GuideOn’s third essential foundational element, our Powerful Transforming Vision provides crucial direction. Vision is GuideOn’s realistic, credible, compelling future state. It is the vivid description of our desirable future, “What we want to create”. Vision animates, inspirits, and transforms Core Values and core purpose into action.

GuideOn’s Core Values: A Deeper Dive

As noted earlier, GuideOn’s Core Values are our basic beliefs about what is “good” or what “ought to be, or what we stand for”. Our Core Values serve as guidelines for leader and team member decision making and ethical conduct. At GuideOn leaders and team members are embrace and aspire to our Core Values. At GuideOn we live and work by the six team Core Values. These Core Values were developed by GuideOn leaders and team members during our initial Strategic Planning Retreat in September 2014.

1

To ensure that all GuideOn leaders and team members fully understand what is meant by each of our six Core Values, we defined each Core Value by a set of guiding principles. Our guiding principles are value-based statements that specifically define each GuideOn Core Value. Each Guiding Principle is a promise or commitment that describes how GuideOn leaders and team members will live our Core Values, both privately and publicly. It fine-tunes the meaning of GuideOn Core Values and provides a specific frame work to form expectations and judge behavior. GuideOn Guiding Principles answer the question, “How will I act and behave daily as I live and work to fulfill our Core Purpose in pursuit of our Vision?”  GuideOn Core Values with their Guiding Principle shown below.

GuidingPrinciples1GuidingPrinciples2

Core Purpose: A Deeper Dive

The second part of GuideOn’s Core Ideology is Core Purpose, “our reason for being” or “why we exist”. GuideOn’s Core Purpose is the company’s and team member’s DNA. Our Core Purpose is based on our enduring core values and guiding principles. Core Purpose is important to GuideOn’s success because it simultaneously drives our team forward and helps build a sustainable competitive advantage. We believe that in the hands of our leaders and team members Core Purpose becomes the engine of our team and the source of our collective energy. Core Purpose makes GuideOn leaders and team members feel that their work is worthwhile and thus it builds and maintains morale and energy levels. We strongly believe that Core Purpose also guides our work to do things that create a competitive advantage and ultimately turn our Vision into reality (see our Core Purpose below).

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GuideOn’s Core Purpose incorporates a deeply felt awareness of who we are as a team, the circumstances of Service Members and Veterans, and GuideOn’s potential calling: the “problem” our United States society is asking the leaders to solve. It draws equally upon our GuideOn’s self-knowledge and intellectual thought – it calls upon everything our company is, everything our team members have experienced and everything we believe in.

In the end, GuideOn’s Core Purpose is “Battle Flag” for doing what is right and what is worthwhile. As such, it creates our sense of obligation. But this obligation is not a weight or a drag in any way. It’s a way of knowing what our leaders and team members can and can’t do. Because Core Purpose provides certainty, it also provides confidence. All of that comes together to contribute to our team’s competitive advantage. “Do the right thing and do it well” This is GuideOn’s way of saying “Do well by doing good.”

Powerful and Transforming Vision: A Deeper Dive

GuideOn’s third essential organizational foundational element is a Powerful and Transforming Vision, “what we want to create”.  Vision provides our company crucial direction. It is our leaders and team member’s vibrant engaging description of what it will be like in the distant future. In simple terms, Vision is reminiscent of the picture on a “jigsaw puzzle box”, it enables everyone in GuideOn to know what the big picture or desired end state looks like.  Additionally, research demonstrates that a powerful and transforming vision is essential to guide change in an organization and shape a new culture

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At GuideOn be believe our Vision enables the company and team members to: 1) stretch and aim for a high target, 2) energize and jump-start the future by calling forth the skills, talents, and resources to make our Vision happen, 3) bridge the present and future, and 4) muster the strength to persist in the face of setbacks and even failures.  

In the final analysis, when GuideOn’s high performing leaders and team members harness the power of Core Values, Core Purpose, and Powerful and Transforming Vision they become the energy behind every effort and the force that pushes through all problems. By embracing theses three essential foundational elements, our high performing leaders and team members on a mission and a contagious spirit is felt among everyone to solve “unsolvable” problems innovatively.

Soldier to Civilian: Networking as a Veteran

When I left the military in 2007, my next move was business school. As a fresh veteran, I knew little about the private sector, let alone business. What I learned one short week after arriving was that networking is everything.

Networking can be unusual and unnatural for soldiers. We do little of it in our military careers. For the most part, our OER and NCOERs (military performance appraisals) speak for our professionalism and experience. The Army and sister branches rely on this system, in my opinion, for these three reasons:

  • Efficiency – The Army is the large organization with an enormous Human Resources challenge.
  • Continuity – If everyone operates under the same grading system, with all soldiers given equal opportunity to succeed (shine), promotions and job assignments should be fair.
  • Community – When we enter the service we’re designated to a career within a specific branch or corps. In short, everyone will eventually know each other or be one degree away from knowing each other before long.

This system is designed to practically eliminate the need to network the way our counterparts do in the private sector. So where does that leave veterans as they transition into the civilian workforce?

My first week of business school was a networking nightmare. Everyone was doing their best to leave strong first impressions while discovering what each other’s past careers were and where future careers were headed. This felt hokey to me and I was reluctant to participate. After a few weeks I made some friends who asked, “why aren’t you attending networking events?” I explained my reasons and they explained why I was making a mistake.

Here’s why networking is everything

I graduated from Cornell in 2009. Since then I have had three jobs. I worked at a New York start-up straight out of school doing business development. After this experience, I moved to San Francisco and landed a job doing operations management with SRI. Finally, in early 2011, I co-founded Adjacent Applications which has now become GuideOn.

In the past 5 years, what got me work and allowed me to start funding my company was meeting with hundreds of people over coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks, running groups, biking groups, dinner parties… you get the idea. It’s all about networking.

In the private sector, every professional is looking for the next opportunity, even if they say they aren’t. I was in the Army for eight years and never networked to get a job. My father was a Cold War soldier for 21 years and never networked to get a job. It’s because you’re always, technically, in the same organization.

In the private sector people don’t share their performance appraisals when interviewing for a new job with a new company. What they share is a resume and, nowadays, their LinkedIn profile.

I’m not going to tell you how to get over the hokey feeling of networking. You are a veteran or a Soldier, Airman, Marine, or Sailor. You’ve been in tougher situations. What I can provide are some tips to help with the networking process to ease your transition as a veteran entering the private sector:

  • Find a mentor and coach who has made a successful transition from military service to the private sector. No need to re-create the networking wheel — learn from another veterans’ mistakes and successes.
  • Find a mentor and coach who has been in the private sector for their entire career. They can provide just as much guidance and assistance as a veteran. In many cases, their advice may be more valuable as you begin.
  • Prior to leaving service, start translating your military experience to private sector relevance. You’ve accomplished some amazing feats – now you need to translate them. Before you know it, you’re a year way from leaving the military and need that resume and a year of preparation to find your next job.
  • Create a LinkedIn account a year to six months prior to leaving the military. LinkedIn is currently providing a free, one-year subscription for their premium account. The premium account allows you to send messages between other LinkedIn users and gives access to benefits to other features. This is how you get a free premium account: a. Join LinkedIn and complete the profile.
b. Be sure to add your military experience, so LinkedIn can verify you are serving or have served.
c. Join the Veteran Mentor Network and then join the subgroup, “LI Job Seeker Subscription.”
 LinkedIn will later connect you to information on the premium upgrade.
  • Create a 30-second personal pitch. What’s your story? Here is a great tool from Harvard Business School to assist you.
  • Create a Meetup profile and start searching for groups that interest you in your local education or business community. Meetup will help you meet non-military people who enjoy the same activities and have the same interests as you do. This is a good way to network without feeling like you are ‘actively’ networking.
  • Be courageous and put yourself out there! It’s scary at first and seems uncomfortable, but as with everything else, you will succeed and land yourself the jobs and opportunities you deserve and desire!

 

Anthony Garcia
GuideOn, CEO and Co-Founder

 

A Veteran’s Call to Action

When I left the Army in 2007, I had been away from combat for one year and was in the process of transitioning to life as a student. As ridiculous as this sounds, I was more afraid of going to class than receiving a 0300 Dustoff mission. I was afraid because I didn’t know how to act as a civilian, I was zoning out in class thinking about Iraq, I was surrounded by people who had never experienced combat, and I believed I had lost my identity.

Warriors and the Village

Hundreds of years ago, warriors left their villages to fight wars. Sometimes they were away from home for years. Villages knew their warriors, the same as small towns like Bandera, TX and Elmira, NY know their warriors today. When warriors in the past returned to their villages, they were welcomed back with open arms. Every person in the village understood what their warrior had been through. Warriors were not held on pedestals, but were respected because villagers knew they were fighting and defending the community. This understanding helped make the transition from warrior to farmer a relatively smooth one. This understanding eliminated misconceptions about combat and what it meant to be a warrior transitioning to a new profession. Older generations of warriors in a village were the norm, which reinforced the re-assimilation of younger warriors returning home. Our community understood us.

Fast forward to the first half of the 20th century. Many communities were smaller than they are today. There were still generations of warriors in these communities. Organizations like The American Legion and the VFW provided a common place where warriors could come together. Service was mandatory and generations of warriors were still abundant.

It’s different today in the early 21st century. Technology and industrialization have grown our communities and formed our great cities. Our military is vastly improved. We have superior combat technology and our warriors are better trained and educated. We do more with fewer warriors, resulting in only 1 percent of our population serving at any given time. Generations of warriors are widening. Today, a warrior comes back from years of fighting, separates from service, and is thrown into a society that does not understand what he has been through.

Who can help Warriors?

So how do we do a better job of veteran assimilation? I could make the argument that our government and local municipalities should solve the homeless veteran battle, veteran unemployment, and the lack of healthcare resources. I could also make a case for joining the local VFW or American Legion post. I believe it’s our duty, as fellow veterans, to welcome back our brother and sister warriors. It’s our duty, as veterans, to be the community that assists with the transition from warrior to farmer, so to speak. No one can do this better than veterans. And every veteran can make an individual difference. With social media, technology, and the cell phone, we’re all connected and closer than we were 10 years ago. A couple of months ago I discovered that a flight medic I served with was retiring. I got this from his Facebook timeline. The village is not dead, it’s just changed a bit.

Here are some examples of how veterans can help veterans:

  • Telling your transition story to a veteran – Warriors need to understand that they are experiencing nothing that another warrior before them has not been through. This can assist with avoiding isolation from loved ones and assist with combating PTSD – resulting in encouragement to seek professional help.
  • Resume writing – A veteran assisted me in translating my military service to private sector understanding. I was completely lost without his assistance. The process involves digging up old OERs/NCOERs, looking at past assignments, and reflecting on your career. Assistance from a warrior whose made the transition provides validation that what you did while serving can translate to the private sector. It will help you to understand how you can contribute after service and what gaps need to be filled through education and training to be successful. This is why I founded GuideOn.
  • Coaching newly separated veterans on how to interact in the private sector – I currently hold monthly Skypes with two buddies who are in the process of leaving service. I tell them about my mistakes and what I thought when I was interacting for the first time in the private sector. The questions they ask me are the same questions I had back in 2007.
  • Connecting veterans with civilians in a social setting – I knew very few non-military folk when I left the Army. It took me a while to make civilian friends. After I made a few good friends, I could see they were just like me. In fact, I would argue having new friends, who have never served, is vital to the transition.
  • Offering assistance – When I was an Army Aviator, crew coordination was paramount to the safety and success of all missions. A vital element to crew coordination is “Offer Assistance.” Crewmembers offer assistance anytime a crewmember sees or recognizes anything that posses a hazard to flight. This could mean taking the controls if the pilot on the controls is having difficulty, or questioning another crewmember prior to taking action. All warriors in combat offer assistance. It’s a matter of life and death. Why should this be any different after service? If you meet a fellow warrior, ask how they’re doing. If you feel a connection, exchange emails or phone numbers. I consider any day I meet a fellow warrior in the San Francisco Bay Area to be a good day. We’re few and far between in this area and it’s good to know we can lean on each other if needed. Even if it’s for a discussion over a late night beer or coffee.

The days of the village welcoming the warrior back home are still possible. The village is now virtual and comprised of veterans. This past year I changed my profile picture on FB to a photo of me in my dress blues. I later noticed my news feed filled with dozens of profile picture updates. Fellow warriors were changing their profile pictures to high speed photos of them kitted up, wearing their dress uniform, or busting a pose in front of a Black Hawk. We do this because we’re proud of our service. We do this because other veterans are proud of our service. And we do this to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters to cope with. We may be hard to find in the real world, but we’re all discoverable and accessible in the virtual world.

I challenge all warriors to reflect on how they can welcome a warrior back to our village. We’ve been fighting for over a decade. We all have suffered, lost brothers and sisters, many have physical wounds, and we all have emotional wounds. We understand each other. We can’t sit around and wait for the government to do something for us and we can’t count on an organization to solve our problems. We all have the power to have a direct impact on a warrior. That’s something worth living for.

 

Anthony Garcia

GuideOn, CEO & Co-founder

 

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