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The L.O.S.E.R. System: 5 Easy Steps To Avoid Being The Vet Everybody Hates
One of the greatest disservices thrust upon transitioning servicemen and women, particularly in the GWOT generation, is the notion that their service distinguishes them from those who didn’t serve.
This mindset doesn’t just come from the daily thank-you-for-your-service platitudes they’ve received from much of the public for over a decade. It comes from leaders in the very institution they’re transitioning out of.
Let’s be real here: Very few organizations on this planet are able to heap praise on people for seemingly ordinary accomplishments like the military does. For proof, look no further than that Army Commendation Medal your roommate received for doing that thing that he was supposed to be doing in the first place, but it just so happened the right person witnessed it. Yes, the same roommate whom you witnessed the week before chugging half a bottle of Black Velvet and puking off the roof of the barracks, before he cried himself to sleep, because his 19-year-old hometown girlfriend wouldn’t drop out of Arizona State and jump on the B.A.H. train with him.
I’m here to remind you that, though the military has left you with many good traits, you are jumping back into the private sector with a whole bunch of learning to do.
When the world is constantly flattering you for your chosen life, the facile idea that you’re special can slowly seep into your brain, whether you realize it or not. Consequently, many veterans jump into the civilian world with the impression that their military service makes them uniquely qualified for any job at hand.
I know this, because I made almost every conceivable mistake during my own transition, and for the past four years I’ve watched others nauseatingly put the onus for their own transition woes on the public and not their own poor decisions. Their frustration about not getting the work they want consistently turns into internet outbursts that read something like “I FOUGHT 4 my country and came back to a place that wont give me a job cuz these civilian morans cant handle ppl like us!!!!”
Screenshot"Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets." "So... you have janitorial skills?"
Don’t worry. I’m here to remind you that, though the military has left you with many good traits, you are jumping back into the private sector with a whole bunch of learning to do.
I’ve created a system to help those who are about to or have recently separated from the military. I call it L.O.S.E.R.
Behold its steps:
L: Listen to others.
This is self-explanatory. Do you remember your early days in basic training, M.O.S. school, and arriving at your new unit? You realized right away that everyone above the rank of private probably knew more than you, and you listened to what they had to say — partly because they had the knowledge, and partly because you were so naïve that you weren’t in a position to question anything.
This step is applicable to entering a new job or educational opportunity you’ve secured post-service, but you can also apply it to your job or school search. There are other veterans studying or working in your potential career field, so hit them up, ask questions, listen, and—at the very least—act like a fly on the wall and just absorb what you hear around you.
O: Operate like you know nothing.
This shades fairly close to Step 1, but its distinctive flavor comes from a mental cleansing of certain things that made you stand out in your service. I’m not saying you need to pull an “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and completely erase the military from your memory. But proficiencies like P.F.T. and rifle scores, combat experience, and your master floor-buffing abilities are not applicable in the private sector.
I can’t stress the middle of that last sentence enough: Your combat experience will not make you look sexier to potential employers, and dwelling on downrange exploits will only make you look like a psycho.
The Romans had a phrase, tabula rasa. It basically means “blank slate.” Your next step in life, especially if you come from a combat arms background, is more than an extension of the military world you just came from. You must look at this part of your life as a rebirth. You know nothing, but you have the capacity to learn and do everything.
S: Sell your qualities, not your service.
All that said, remember to highlight all the good things about your service without making everything revolve around your service. You can bring all the good attributes you acquired—leadership, tact, your ability to withstand an ass chewing—without solely concentrating on your service. Your military experience is merely a footnote in the story of you and your developing skills.
Screenshot“IN THE FIELD, WE HAD A CODE OF HONOR.” “Sir, this line is for issues with your Comcast bill.”
Like anything in life, your actions will speak louder than your words. Don’t be John Doe the Veteran in your civilian life. Be John Doe the Productive and Well-Liked Member of Society Who Happens to be a Veteran. Show up. Have a good attitude. Be nice to people. Don’t cram your service down their throats and make social situations awkward.
E: Expect setbacks.
Nobody promised you that separation was going to be a rose garden. A lot of vets want to get down on themselves and gripe about how tough the civilian world is. Buddy, I assure you the civilian world is tough for civilians, too. It’s called life.
If you’re not completely full of yourself, you’ll take the jobs you can get, when you can get them. Thinking that the world is somehow out to get you is snowflake stuff. You’re not a snowflake, are you?
R: Roll up your sleeves and go to work.
Do the work. Whether it’s an actual job or going back to school, just show up and put in the effort. It’s not (usually) going to be like the military, where you can sneak off at random times and catch a nap under your vehicle. You’ll actually have to consistently be there. Trust me, you’ll get used to it.
Whatever you do, don’t fall into the post-service trap in which you become a professional veteran. There’s a passion for you to discover. There’s money to be made. There’s a new life to build. You just have to appreciate the rest of the people in this country the same way you appreciated the people you served with. You can either do that, or you can be the veteran nobody wants to be.
Former Marine Commandant tells Trump that pardoning troops accused of war crimes 'relinquishes the moral high ground'
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Associated Materials. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Associated Materials Incorporated is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Associated Materials, a residential and commercial siding and window manufacturer based in Ohio, employs people from a variety of backgrounds. The company gives them an opportunity to work hard and grow within the organization. For Tim Betsinger, Elizabeth Dennis, and Tanika Carroll, all military veterans with wide-ranging experience, Associated Materials has provided a work environment similar to the military and a company culture that feels more like family than work.
President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."