I wanted my children to “have a father instead of a folded flag.” I heard these words from a veteran discussing PTSD while watching an episode of the goop lab With Gwyenth Paltrow, a Netflix documentary show that pursues different curiosities and topics within wellness, and I’ll never forget them.

Those words, as devastatingly brutal as they are, need to be heard. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), as defined by the Mayo Clinic, “is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event– either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.” It’s a condition that can make someone feel alone, misunderstood, and helpless. But instead of another piece about all the resources to help those struggling with PTSD, of which there are many, this piece is dedicated to spreading positivity within the veteran community in the hopes that even one reader connects with the piece and sees themselves within the words and feels more supported, respected, encouraged, and valued because of it.

AVI & Veterans: Their history and connection are undeniable

Auto-Valve, Inc. (AVI) is known for its blog pieces that center on skilled trades, manufacturing, and business, but they’re also known for being a veteran-owned global company for over seventy years. In fact, AVI dedicates over 60 percent of their services and products to the military. To say AVI is a company that values the military and veterans is a massive understatement. Their strong connection, love, support, and foundation within the veteran community is an example of a company embracing veterans… and they’re not the only company to do this.

If you’re reading this and you’re a veteran who feels disconnected, misunderstood, or perhaps overwhelmed with the transition from the military to the civilian workforce, know that employers see the value of your uniform and all the work ethic and discipline your military experience implies.

Head up.

Shoulders back.

Spirit high.

Do your best to articulate your military skills and experience because companies like AVI and others want to be a part of your successful transition back into civilian life. It’s important for you to know and believe that you are placed in the highest regard by many employers. In fact, it’s quite possible that while you’re worrying if an employer will give you a chance and are fighting with wave after wave of self-doubt that employers are actually struggling with how to remove Facebook access from all their non-veteran employees’ computers.

Your worries of how you’ll transition from the military to the civilian workforce could be the furthest concern from a potential employer, so give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Veterans need to tell themselves they are the team member companies need because over and over again, that is absolutely the truth. Know your value and learn how to articulate it to employers. They need you as much as you need them.

Veterans in the Civilian Workforce

Case and point of employers valuing veterans is a Business Insider article that pleads with businesses to hire veterans for the following reasons:

  • Veterans come from a previous culture built for mission accomplishment in mind.
  • Veterans have ingrained leadership talents.
  • Veterans take their responsibilities seriously.
  • Intuition is a skill, and the military teaches it.
  • Military people will openly tell you when something is wrong.
  • Military people will get the job done.
  • When given the necessary support, veterans are extremely capable.
  • Veterans are independent.
  • Military personnel know the meaning of hard work.
  • The government pays for veteran education (i.e. veterans often have post-secondary education under their belt and are willing to pursue more).

Small Business.com jumps on the bandwagon of veteran support but saying that veterans often possess the following traits: Leadership, Control under pressure, Teamwork and dedication, Integrity, and Goal-oriented. Similarly, Military.com preaches the best traits of veterans to be character, trust, accountability, teamwork, leadership-followership balance, and facing the enemy. So although a veteran may face a no in the workforce and feel kicked in the gut because of it, keep it moving… know that there are companies out there who value your military experience, and you just need to keep sending your resume out and going on job interviews until you find one of those companies.

Veterans in the Civilian Society

Over sixty years ago, my grandparents met at a dance hall in Frenchtown, Ohio called the Crystal Ballroom. To this day, my grandmother talks about seeing my grandfather for the first time… he was dressed in his military uniform, and she talks about that image to this day. His uniform represented strength… a universal understanding that the person wearing it faced challenges and learned to both give and receive respect. The uniform also represented a gentleman… a universal belief that this was a person who could protect and respect those closest to him, since he had already, presumably, learned and practiced that in the military. The Crystal Ballroom days were a time when men in uniform were thought of as the veterans portrayed in White Christmas. It was a time when the Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye image of a veteran opened both the social and business doors.

Fast-forward to present-day and research shows that it can be difficult for veterans to transition into the civilian workforce because of an employer’s fear of:

  • Directness/rigid
  • Fear of future deployments
  • Skill translations

But as the research goes on to say, instead of an employer fearing a veteran’s directness/rigidness, the employer should look at that from a different angle and see that those are the qualities that suggest someone has tremendous leadership potential. Instead of fearing future deployments, employers should consider the dedication toward getting the job done that is inherently within veterans and how that attitude and efficiency within the job can benefit the entire team. Finally, employers should take the time to ask veterans how their military skills translate into the position instead of making assumptions from their military job titles on their resume.

Veterans, Employers, & Perspective

Let this piece be a reminder to veterans that you are not alone if you struggle with success personally or professionally and that so many people and businesses, like AVI, see your potential and are waiting for you to join their team and make a positive impact.

It’s often said that it only takes one yes to turn your life around and although much of that statement rings true, I’d add that with every no there is an invaluable opportunity to reflect, strategize, and strengthen your likelihood of a yes in the future.

For employers, re-read this piece as many times as you need to feel and understand the power, potential, and value of a veteran on your team. For veterans, read this piece anytime you feel the civilian workforce is a land in which you don’t know how to make a home… because not only are there companies, employers, and coworkers ready to help you build that home, you are valuable, worthy, and capable of all the good this world has to give.

Author: Evelyn Lindell