Chris Wicker is a former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst and U.S. defense contractor. He has completed several deployment tours in multiple theaters, in and out of uniform. He is currently a small business owner and entrepreneur in Tampa, Florida, where he lives with his wife, Brenda.
Being a boss in the military was about hard and fast conformity. But this stops after service, and civilian employees can actually quit when they want (and they do). This alone can be hard to swallow for some veterans. In addition, negative stereotypes continue to shadow veterans, despite a generation of Americans that take great pride in their vets. It’s become so widespread that even the joint chiefs of staff are making public note of it. Today’s veterans are having to think more and more about how people are perceiving their transition as much as the transition itself.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
In American military circles, it’s often said that the American military “contractor” is a dirty word. And sometimes with good reason, too --- the last decade has been filled with stories of fraud, waste, and blurred lines of warfighting roles. American contractors continue to infiltrate the most basic deployed military operations, and the relationship between the two forces have been strained, to say the least. To the military --- America’s proud heritage of national defense --- the contractor force is overpaid, under-regulated, and fails to meet the “mission first” ethos. For the contractor, the struggle to meet the unquenchable needs of the “all-in” military customer has created a culture of exceptionalism and over-defensiveness. In short, the military folks on the ground want their homegrown contractors to be more like them -- unbending in their willingness to sacrifice all things in the name of the mission -- while the contractors think their unique role should go unchallenged and extra considerations should be allotted to them.