Josh Atencio (Courtesy photo)

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at IBM committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. IBM is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company.

Much of America doesn't understand what it means to be a member of the National Guard or the Reserves. But today's citizen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are exceptionally skilled at balancing their military duties with their family lives and civilian jobs. Meanwhile, it takes an understanding, flexible, and supportive employer to ensure that America's part-time service members have the tools to succeed in both careers.

Josh Atencio knew he had found a great opportunity when he accepted a position at IBM after graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato. But the Minnesota National Guardsman didn't know how well IBM would support his job as a citizen soldier.

"When I was in school, balancing my coursework with drill and work was tough, but I made it work," he says. "When I graduated and started working at IBM, I had no idea how challenging it would be to balance both my military and civilian careers. But my teammates and leadership at IBM are incredibly supportive, and give me the flexibility I need to ensure I can be successful in both arenas."

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Kelly Hill (Courtesy photo)

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Discover Financial Services committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. Discover Financial Services is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.

Her decision to leave the United States Air Force as an Intelligence Officer was a tough one, but ultimately, Kelly Hill knew it was the right choice for her and her family. Her husband had transitioned to the Navy Reserve shortly before they got married, and when they thought of their future together, providing balance and stability for their growing family was an important value. But Hill didn't know how to leverage her military experience, or which career field she wanted to pursue.

"It was a terrifying time in my life," she says. "I didn't know what skills I had to offer or how to market myself."

Hill and her family relocated to Chicago, where she's forging a successful career at Discover. "I had a veteran friend who worked at Discover and gave them such high praise for the values, work culture and environment, that I knew it was a place I wanted to be," she says.

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(DoD photo)

Your time in the military is coming to a close and it feels like the world is your oyster. But just like you can prepare an oyster a thousand ways (like Bubba Gump and shrimp…), sometimes having countless options feels more overwhelming than exciting.

Here are four great options to consider after your service:

1. Build a business

Maybe you've always wanted to open up a coffee shop or a t-shirt company. Whether you have the next post-it note type of idea or you want to build your own consulting firm, entrepreneurship may be a good option for you.

Your military service has taught you leadership, discipline, attention to detail and so many other skill sets that you'll be able to leverage as your forge your own path. Plus, we heard your boss is awesome.

2. Trade school

If you know the specialty you want to focus on, trade school may be a great option for you. Whether you want to work in aviation or engineering, fashion merchandising or marketing, there are a lot of great options to consider.

Attending trade school can help you save time, which in turn will save you money. Having a professional certification can boost your credibility, confidence and hireability.

3. Government contracting

Sometimes finding a career after your time in the military might be as simple as walking down the hall. Military service is greatly valued in the government. Whether you served as an operator and want to head into the Intelligence Community, or served as an Intel-O and want to parlay that work as an analyst, the options are endless.

Government departments and agencies rely on contractors to augment their staff and there is no better place to look than to the men and women who have already done the job or are at least very familiar with it.

4. Let CTVI help you

Maybe you're not 100% sure what you want to do. Leverage the incredible programs through Columbia University's Center for Veteran Transition and Integration (CVTI). CVTI provides innovative educational programming and support for service member and veterans making the transition to two- and four-year colleges, graduate and professional schools, civilian life, and the workforce.

Utilizing a team of educational technologists and instructional designers, CVTI creates robust online educational programming that facilitates transition from service to academia and the workforce.

The Center for Veteran Transition and Integration is dedicated to creating courses that are designed specifically to ensure veteran success in transition. Currently CVTI is offering three courses with more on the way, and they're free to everyone.

The courses are:

Attaining Higher Education

Prepare to transition to college using intentional decision-making. This course is aimed at active duty service members and veterans. Learn about the college admission process, financial aid, and choosing a right-fit college.

University Studies for Student Veterans

This course helps veterans transition smoothly from military service to college, and helps them maximize their success once they arrive.

Find Your Calling: Career Principals for Returning Veterans

This course provides military veterans with a useful roadmap to transition more smoothly from military service to a new and meaningful civilian career.

You can access all their content through the CVTI website which includes a Video Library and Microlessons. No matter what you decide to do, whether it's finding a meaningful career or furthering your education, CVTI can help.

First decision made. CVTI.

This post was sponsored by Columbia University.

Jill Anderson and Danielle Stone (Courtesy photos)

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at PayPal committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. PayPal is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.

The mood was somber in Washington D.C. at the Washington National Cathedral on Dec. 5, 2018. Jill Anderson, the program manager for a team of Air Force social aides at the White House, welcomed presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump to George H. W. Bush's funeral service, which she had helped organize.

"I really wanted to have all these conversations, Anderson recalls. "But my job is to let them be their most authentic selves, and have that control of 'Hey, this is just another person that's having a hard day by attending a funeral.' To be so intimately involved in such a unique point in history was really a powerful experience."

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Brad Lieurance (Courtesy photo)

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Xerox committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. Xerox is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.

Brad Lieurance was never one to settle. From his time in college through his 25 years in the Army to his career with Xerox, he has pushed the limits and achieved success in ways he never thought possible. Now Lieurance is using his experiences to encourage others to step outside the career comfort zone.

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Kimberly Bryant, second from the left (Courtesy photo)

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Comcast committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. Comcast is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.

The night of September 11, 2001, Kimberly Bryant drove her boyfriend to the airport to deploy immediately to the Middle East. "That was the last time I saw the man I knew, the man I fell in love with," she recalls. On that deployment, her boyfriend was severely injured and returned home with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. When he was medically retired and deemed unemployable, with 100 percent disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs, various people told her that she had no obligation to him, but she couldn't walk away.

"I knew the person he was before this happened," she says. They got engaged, married, and raised a family together.

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