The Best Jobs For Veterans No One Is Telling You About

career

Some of the best opportunities for a fulfilling post-military career are in a field you’ve probably never considered.


About a year before leaving the Army, as I began my transition process, recruiters were calling me several times a week. Private companies seek out military leaders because they wisely value the leadership experience that we bring to the table. But while I was grateful for the attention from these headhunters, their pitches always lacked a certain something.

Finally, I figured out what was missing: I didn’t care about the missions of their companies.

I didn’t care how many tubes of toothpaste they sold or how efficiently they could produce them, and their bottom line didn’t interest me because it just felt inconsequential. I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m too idealistic for that kind of work. I need a mission. Granted, everyone isn’t wired this way (those are great jobs and someone should have them), but I am, so I decided to look elsewhere for a post-Army career.

Eventually, I stumbled into a career field where I feel uniquely qualified, fulfilled, plugged-in, and challenged by real, complex, interesting problems: Nonprofits.

Through my research, I learned that there is more to nonprofit organizations than hippies and the Peace Corps. This field is chock-full of smart, motivated people addressing lofty, resonant missions that I could get excited about, like curing cancer, ending hunger or poverty, fixing education, or advocating for rape victims or wounded veterans.

Now, three years after leaving the military, I feel like I’m on a mission every single day when I go to work, because I am. I run a small nonprofit organization that works to fight illiteracy in Savannah, Georgia, particularly among low-income youth.

I found this job by chance, not through a headhunter or a career fair or even my alumni association. I found it by volunteering in my community on a resume-building whim. After volunteering at the Deep Center, I was subsequently hired onto the staff once the organization recognized me as an asset.

There’s been a big push lately for veterans to become entrepreneurs and small business owners, which is great news for those who want to do that kind of work. I’m hoping the next big push will be for vets to become leaders in social entrepreneurship, where the currency is social change and the bottom line is calculated by asking how much progress towards solving the problem was made. Many veterans may not realize that they are well suited for leading small nonprofits --- especially those who want to answer the kind of “call to service” that we experienced in the military.

Having worked in this field for about two years now, I’ve learned that one of the reasons transitioning soldiers never hear about these jobs is that nonprofits are notoriously bad at recruiting and marketing. Even big ones like the United Way can’t compete with behemoth for-profits like Procter & Gamble when it comes to grabbing veterans’ attention. During my own transition, the Army assigned me a career counselor. When I told her I might want to work in the nonprofit field, she said she had no idea what I was talking about.

But within the nonprofit world exists a diverse range of jobs in leadership, operations, project management, training, finance, among others, and veterans are completely missing out on these opportunities because not enough people are talking about them.

Nonprofits are often referred to as the social or the “third” sector because the overarching purpose is to fill the gaps between what the public and private sectors are able to provide. Lately, with gridlock in Washington, and a stagnant job market, those gaps are growing, so we need effective, well-run nonprofits more than ever and they need us. They need leaders.

Small and medium-sized nonprofits are particularly in need of leaders who are mission-focused, know how to delegate, implement a plan with limited resources, learn from mistakes, and develop a team.

If you want to find out more about this field, your best bet is to seek out opportunities in your community on idealist.org or opportunityknocks.org.

You can also get involved by applying for a fellowship with The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that partners transitioning veterans with action-oriented initiatives to build stronger communities and tackle pressing issues.

Full disclosure: You probably won’t get “rich” working at a nonprofit organization, but I guess that depends on your definition of the term. This is to say that if you do end up working for a cause that truly matters to you --- even if you just start out as a volunteer and work your way up --- you just might find yourself in that holy grail of careers where you are truly fulfilled.

Photo courtesy of The Deep Center
(Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.

Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.

Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.

Read More Show Less
(Associated Press/Don Treeger/Michael Casey)

Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.

Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.

Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.

Read More Show Less

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.

After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.

The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

Read More Show Less