There is a stigma about our men and women returning from the military that is creating some road blocks for employment.
When many of our veterans first talked with a recruiter they are built up to believe in the benefits of the military. Sign up and improve your life! Discipline, courage, self reliance, sense of belonging, self direction, pride, and a life time full of stories is what every one of them experience. The fact is while all that is true it’s not going to help you with employers if that’s not how they view you. For many a welcome home to the United States after war is more of a wake up call.
It’s not a secret that some veterans return with severe PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Those who do are dealing with it in the best way services and treatment will allow. Those who exited the military without PTSD are blanketed with the stigma that we all went through the same military history.
Large companies and “Veteran Friendly” employers claim to want veterans to work for them. If they do end up hiring it’s usually in an entry level position well below their qualifications. Typically what you would expect an 18 year old to be able to get with a blank resume. How is that even possible when the experience and training the military receives is state of the art? A lot of veterans being only 19 to 21 years old hold more responsibility in their short time in than most middle aged people that choose a different path.
Instead of being seen as highly valuable or hard working Americans with great work ethic, we are seen as dangerous and violent. I feel as though this is partly due to the media reporting only when veterans screw up and the movie industry for portraying PTSD in an imperfect light. Stigma associated with PTSD: perceptions of treatment seeking combat veterans. If you’d like to view an example of how veterans are usually shown in movies check out the trailer below.
Currently as I’m writing this I’ve asked my fellow veterans in an OIF/OEF facebook group if they’d had difficulties getting jobs because of how we are viewed. Just to show you an small example of how veterans feel they are viewed I’ll post the comments below. If you would like to add to these comments add them at the bottom of this post please.
There are businesses out there are doing what they can to combat these issues. A new friend of mine Alex, as seen helping other veterans out, is a combat war veteran is more than willing to help out hiring veterans. All that he asks is that they work hard and put in the effort. If you’re an out of work veteran I suggest checking out the website.
PTSD is not a reason interviewers need to turn someone away. Being a veteran is not a reason to believe that we automatically have some deranged form of PTSD that will cause us to lash out at work or have a psychotic episode. I’m not able to speak on behalf of all of them struggling to find jobs, but I would consider the ones shaking our hands and saying, “we’ll be in touch”, when they know it’s a lie to be foolish. These men and women give up their lives to protect and serve in whatever country our government asks of us. The next time one walks into your office you should have one of those “adult conversations” with them about their service. We are not simply high school graduates that have no idea what’s going on in the world.
In other news.
If you’ve been following along with or efforts to help homeless veterans this Thanksgiving we’re pleased to tell you it’s going extremely well. Co-workers are spreading our message out to friends and family more and more. We’ve raised $250.00 so far, which means I need to get out on my bike tomorrow to pay it back with some miles. We’ll be sharing the story on two radio stations this week which is exciting! Appreciative of all who are participating and sharing on social media, keep it up!