When I was in the military, my role -besides ALL the other roles that I was given, was to maintain electronic communication equipment. Really, this was an ironic career choice. I should have gone into the social sciences and language. The irony is that, for more than 30 years, I have been very capable in problem-solving. When I lack the specific skills I am not afraid to ask questions – usually over strong coffee.
for veteran success
In the military and in an industry, to be effective, a person has to be capable in the role they were hired to do; possess attitude and work ethic for team success, do more than what is necessary and to be creative in problem solving. At times, it is knowing the proper department person to contact for a quick -turn shipment, a service request, or who stocked a particular adhesive for a repair done outside of the production chain of command. To advance personally and professionally, a veteran often stands out by mentoring new employees and providing a team manager a “go-to” person. In the workplace today, there are so many social contracts, sensitive subjects, and human factors which are at odds with the department production goals and veterans “can-do”, get-the-job-done expertise. While almost every enterprise challenges workers to do more with less, a veteran generally wants a product that a military end-user would have perform flawlessly when needed. It might take more veterans in each business unit to overcome some individuals who do not challenge plans, goals, and promises made by leadership, and to challenge those peers who do only what is necessary to maintain their position.
Problem-solving skills include experiences in a military career to develop civilians into capable specialists. Raised in an environment that does not cater to individual wants, does demand personal sacrifice, and teaches attention to detail, a veteran is unfazed by office politics, used to changing priorities from managers and figures out what gets the job done. Sometimes the response is a cheery dose of salty language. Circumventing the labor to schedule, exchange email, and discuss tools and equipment needed is a skill many military veterans are well-versed. The veteran has frequently used a barter program, the unofficial currency in the military, to accomplish a task. At other times, it means having the confidence to draw a stopping point and get more hands on deck to troubleshoot a complex set of issues.
Once upon a time, I would work myself into burn-out. I no longer set impossibly-challenging goals and am able to call in reinforcements without hesitation. Being creative in solving issues, and not volunteering but being assigned, may get a ‘hanger queens’ successfully leaving my test station. I leave it to others to foul it up.