Are we failing our Veterans?
A good friend of mine shared this with me recently. The song isn’t new, nor is the band, nor the video. Unfortunately, neither is the topic.
Everyone agrees veteran homelessness is bad. No question there. As the studs from 5FDP point out, struggling Veterans and war wounds often go hand-in-hand.
Physical wounds are almost easier to deal with. Non-warriors can understand a prosthetic leg, missing limb, cars, or other visible physical damage, even if they can’t relate to the circumstances. There’s even a dedicated adaptive sports programs within the VA and other private charities, and opportunities to show your physical prowess won’t be intimidated by your battle wound.
Mental and emotional wounds are invisible, and can manifest themselves in erratic and seemingly irrational behaviors. Especially when they’re inflicted on some of the most independent and stoic members of our society; heroes who would rather self-medicate than admit to anyone that they’re struggling.
Our conversation slid to a more difficult conversation about Veteran Unemployment. Having recently transitioned from Active Duty, I’ve had challenges translating my skills from military into civilian, and seen the glazed looks in interviews whilst describing my ‘favorite previous position’ or ‘how I dealt with something that went wrong.’ For some reason, ‘not dying’ wasn’t the response they were looking for.
My friend Mike has seen things from the other side of the fence. He’s worked in the service industry for his entire adult life, and held about every position you could imagine. Mike’s now in management for a large hotel chain, and interviews hundreds of potential employees per year. He let me know that as much as he’d love to hire Veterans, they created plenty of pain on his side of the table. If he’s lucky enough to get a Veteran to apply, they don’t seem to make the process easy for themselves. Despite the lessons the military is known for imparting, most of them show up late and make up for it by being unprepared.
So, we asked ourselves the following questions:
- Where is the middle ground?
- How can eager Veterans and willing Employers have successful meetings?
- What makes an educated, trained, and disciplined Veteran seem like an unsatisfactory candidate?
- How can those two divergent problems be solved?
Stay tuned for the answers. Have an opinion? Leave us a comment and we’ll add your voice to the response.