An Interview with an Honest Veteran
I interviewed a guy today for a job as a line cook. As with any interview, there was back and forth between the person doing the hiring (me) and the job candidate. I always ask open-ended questions, put the answers into my gray-matter puzzle solver, find pieces that fit, and the holes that are left. Then ask questions to figure out more about the holes.
This particular applicant was a well-spoken “High and Tight” man in his early 40’s. His haircut screamed military. His interview was spot-on, his mannerisms were great, and he made just the right eye contact to make me believe he was telling the truth about everything he said. Turns out he was a combat Veteran in the 90’s, and has been out for about 10 yrs. I asked him about his service, and he was uncomfortable. He said he had taken a few hits but they were all ‘solid impact’ hits that healed well, not like some of his buddies who lost pieces.
But as I said before, there were some holes left; like no work for the last 3-4 months. With the skills and resume across the table, and everything I was looking at, we had a great candidate. Still, I wondered where had he been for the last 3-4 months.
“Tell me something about yourself that you want to change, or something that you really don’t want me to know.” He looked away and tensed up, I really knocked him off-guard.
After a pause he said, “Can I tell you about what I’ve been going through lately?”
Pushing the resume to the side, I said “Sure.”
Turns out some of his service buddies had been dealing with their demons by self-medicating. Most were on methamphetamines. He had been drinking. He said that it wasn’t out of control, but one of his buddies convinced him that he could deal with it now, or wait till it got bad and harder to deal with. He obliged, and a bunch of them all went to the VA in a nearby city and did it together.
He spoke of meeting a 92-year-old WWII Vet that was dealing with his PTSD just now and getting the help he needed, the successes of the group he was with, and their ability to all help each other.
This guy had a pretty good situation. They don’t often work out as well as his did. He’s smart, well put together inside, and lucky. The help was there when he needed to find it. I just find his story inspiring and thought maybe you would too.
We spoke about my “grand ideas” to help Veterans, some of the thoughts that I have had along the way, and observations I’ve made. I commended him on his service and on where he is today and everything in between. I hope I can offer him the job. I hope that he accepts, and I pray that I wasn’t snowballed. It has happened before.
You see, when I ask someone to tell me something about themselves they’d like to change, I think of myself. One of my greatest weaknesses is that I trust too much. I trust in the fact that people will treat me the way I treat them. With honesty and integrity.
It has bitten me in the backside a few times over the years. Would I change it? No.
I’ve become wiser and more perceptive of the people around me, but now I expect that every once in a while I’ll get duped. It is my own fault. But I’d rather be trusting, honest, and show those who look at me that I value integrity. I’m not perfect and neither are you, and that’s OK. I just hope this turns out to be a success story about a worthy Veteran.
I have great ideas while I shower, driving a car, and even in the middle of the night. When those ideas come it takes the right combination of motivation, opportunity, and gumption to get them rolling. I’m busy, just like everyone else. As I lit my own fire one day to change the world with my desire to get the ball rolling on this idea of putting veterans to work, I wrote my first blog post. I promised my friend, Alex, that I would do more, like maybe one a week! Here it is about 8 weeks later and he has politely asked me to put a few new ideas on paper a couple of times. Today was the day that I found that combination. – Mike