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.
Carl Chandler was on the fast track to leadership in the Army, but in 2003, while deployed in Iraq as an Airborne Rifle Team Leader, he passed up a pay raise so he could stay with his soldiers.
"I knew I wanted to look for other opportunities outside of the Army after that deployment," he says, "so I turned down my promotion to E6 to stay with my team, to ensure we all got home safely, and begin my transition to civilian life."
The only problem was that Chandler wasn't sure what he wanted to do. He did know that he needed more skills to succeed in the civilian world, so he enrolled in a technical school. Faculty there spotted his talent and leadership skills and urged him to pursue higher education, but first, Chandler returned home to Indiana. There, he got a job at a local plant, working on the factory floor. Before long, however, his supervisors pulled him into the front office; they'd noticed his high technical performance, leadership skills and potential.
Chandler found himself in new territory. He started taking classes to gain the skills he hadn't learned in the Army. "Military leadership skills are different than they are in the civilian world," he says. "I was an infantryman turned airborne paratrooper, so I saw myself limited in the civilian world to first responder jobs and those that only relied solely on technical skills. I knew I needed higher education and training."
In early 2014, a buddy told Chandler about a job opening at Discover. He applied immediately and after several phone interviews, it was the final in-person interview where he got an offer not only because of his resume or skill set, but because of his trainability. "The manager said that since I had mastered these other skills and programs quickly, he knew I could learn something new quickly and master it," he says. The hiring manager knew Chandler had served in the Army, and recognized the value of veterans' work ethic, dependability, and commitment.
Since joining Discover, Chandler has relied on Army traits every single day, especially servant leadership, communication transparency and relationship management. "The Army teaches you early on the fundamental values of servant leadership," he says. "You put others' needs before your own. It's the very essence of being a team leader in any capacity, whether military or civilian." Communication transparency is critical to ensuring that a mission or goal is executed effectively and successfully, whether on the battlefield or in a conference room. Relationship management skills have helped Chandler know how to lead and manage teams. "In the Army, you are told early to befriend the supply clerks and the mess cooks to get what your team needs and wants," he says. "Similarly, knowing how to build relationships and making sure I know who I need to go to get the job done is a key component of my role at Discover."
Working at Discover has also made Chandler realize that a high-quality work environment and culture is by far one of his top priorities. "The work culture at Discover is so supportive," he says. "It provides me the tools and resources to reach and attain my personal and professional goals, which is something not all companies can offer."
Chandler also believes in commitment to service as a key value for creating a positive work culture. Discover's military veteran employee resource group, Honoring Military Veterans, provides a space where military veterans, spouses, family members, and those who want to support the military community can connect, network, and give back to the local military community. Discover values and honors the entire military and veteran community, allowing veterans like Chandler the opportunity to put their military experience to use — and more importantly, to grow and develop, not just as employees but as people.
This post is sponsored by Discover