In the modern economy, employees with military service generally enjoy some form of advantage over other workers.
But why? What common thread runs through this diverse group of people?
The benefits of military service differ based on branch of service, MOS, rank, and a long list of other factors. Yet all veterans are the same in one important way. The problem is that it often takes time to realize just how crucial this shared quality is to succeeding at work.
In the military, people are trained to meet a comprehensive set of high standards that are relevant to the “business” (i.e. winning wars). From basic training to MOS school to the operating forces, service members move forward through levels of mastery related to increasingly complex tasks.
In other words, we are trained to do our job.
Everyone else, including our instructors, have a stake in our success, because they may end up relying on us in the future. And not just for profit, like in the private sector. This is about staying alive.
You build confidence going through this process. You become friends with completely different types of people. You gain new skills. You receive personal mentorship (though you may not call it that) by experienced professionals. It’s a transformative experience.
Compare this to the civilian world, where purely economic logic reigns. Companies don’t want to spend the money on developing their workers. Usually, you must already be qualified. Onboarding is a joke–a few PowerPoint classes and some paperwork. Your job description does not correspond to what you do. No one offers to train you for the next level of responsibility. You are left alone, sink or swim.
So why does this matter?
At the end of the day, companies are only as good as their people. And companies will only improve as their people improve.
Now step back and ask yourself who is more likely to offer more as an employee – veterans or civilians?
Who will look for opportunities to train others? Who will try to build a sense of camaraderie in the office? Who will ask about opportunities to move up the chain of command? Who will ensure the company is an evolving, improving organization?
Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.
About the author
William Treseder, Military1 Advisor, writes about well-designed approaches to national security issues ranging from technology to veteran careers. He co-founded BMNT Partners, where he helps start-ups grow by solving government problems from advanced manufacturing to veteran employment. William enlisted in the Marines in 2001 and served until 2011, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. A Rising Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution where he studies 21st century conservatism, William also contributes to other national outlets such as Foreign Policy, TIME.com, and Breaking Defense.
Military1 is a comprehensive military website that provides access to essential resources online for military personnel. Military1 features the most current news and analysis from experts in the military space, as well as providing members with resources for career progression, education, military benefits, off-duty information, product research and more.