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Reflections November 2015

What’s So Special about Veterans? An Easier Question Is, What’s Not?

By Teresa Ambord

Working under difficult circumstances does not faze most vets. They did their jobs on ships, in the desert, under fire, and with limited supplies.

Most people agree that those of us who never served in the military — or kept the home fires burning so that a spouse could serve — owe an immense debt of gratitude to our military, current and retired. Don’t be fooled by the reports of a few bad apples. Every group has those. But overall, the military equips people with skills and qualities that any employer should covet.

To find out what’s so special about veterans, I asked Lonnie V. Scott. Scott, a veteran of two branches of the military. He started his military career in the Air Force, serving in military law enforcement. Much later he joined the Navy as a chaplain, and then worked in the private sector with ex-military personnel. He knows what he’s talking about. Here’s how he describes veterans.

  • Veterans (at least the younger ones) tend to be in good to outstanding physical condition and most try to maintain that condition after their military service ends.
  • They learn loyalty to those in authority over them.
  • They are generally self-motivated and seldom need close supervision.
  • Punctuality is a given. Unauthorized breaks and sneaking out early are highly unlikely. Monday morning, your veteran will be there on time, not at home, hung over from a weekend bender.
  • Veterans are trained to follow policies and procedures, and will probably not question your right as the boss to direct their work.
  • Job planning comes naturally, and occupational safety is a priority. You can generally assume they are watching out for not only their own safety, but yours also.
  • Veterans are focused on the task at hand, and they are done when the job is complete.
  • Working under difficult circumstances does not faze most vets. They did their jobs on ships, in the desert, under fire, and with limited supplies.

It’s hard to imagine anything an employer could want that isn’t on that list. If there’s one drawback for employing a vet, said Scott, it might be their need for routine. Routine, in many cases, is what kept a veteran alive while deployed, and sometimes they find it hard to work in an environment where routine is not employed. Also, said Scott, while an ex-serviceperson is generally willing to bring a less-efficient coworker up to speed, he or she might find it hard to tolerate outright laziness on the job.

The bottom line is, veterans have not only earned additional consideration for employment, but they bring a long list of qualities to a job that is increasingly hard to match these days. These are the cream of the crop.

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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