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Employment on the Wellness Spectrum

With Beau Higgins


Many veterans will leave their new careers within the first 18 months. They find adjusting hard, and they may not like that first job. They wind up taking jobs they don’t feel comfortable in.

If they make it past the 18 months, they promote faster. Employers need to help get them through the transition. If you can get them there, get them bought into the culture, and get them feeling good, they will do well.

The Shawshank Redemption

A great analogy is The Shawshank Redemption. The prisoners did not love being in prison, but they had a sense of camaraderie there. You knew your place in the military; your rank meant something. You have a uniform, and you know how to get things done. You become very comfortable in that, especially if you’ve been in for 10-plus years. To leave that all behind is hard.


I would say to any veteran: We’ve been there before. You are not alone. It’s going to be hard. You’re going to have some challenges.


There isn’t a way to recreate the camaraderie they had in the military, especially a deployment. I mean, you can’t ever get there. But, finding some way for veterans to get together locally and engage with the community, it’s something. Just having someone they can talk to about a shared experience. For employers, community engagement can be an aspect of retention.


Sometimes there are just too many resources. It can become overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s just too much.

Having a one-stop-shop for resources and other stuff is essential. Create somewhere veterans can go without feeling overwhelmed by not knowing where to start and just choosing not to deal with it. Whether it’s your VA benefits, a job, or mental health, have it all in one easy place for someone to access. Some excellent organizations do that, like Combined Arms in Texas or VETLANTA in Atlanta. Organizations like that are critical for veterans to be able to engage without feeling overwhelmed.

Employment Guidance

Hire Heroes USA is great. I see a lot of Veteran resumes every day, and some of them are just horrible. It’s hard translating your military skills into a civilian resume.

Higher Heroes USA does a great job of that. In particular, prepping veterans’ resumes and helping them work through the transition.

Hiring Our Heroes is another excellent organization. They’re known for hosting all the different events, like in-person and virtual job fairs.

Candorful is a great company that helps with veteran interviewing. All of these organizations are designed to help veterans be successful.

Why Military Programs Don’t Work

The military transition program is five days long. Everyone there is just ready to punch out. Especially for junior enlisted, most of them just want to go home. They want to be done. They tune it out. Then, and after being on Mom’s couch for six months, they’re realize, Awe man, I should have listened to what they said, and by then sometimes it’s too late.

They Do Exist

The programs to help transitioning veterans are out there. The problem is veterans don’t know about them. Or, they heard but just missed it. Personally, I am here to help. All I want is for that Veteran to find a job that best fits them from a cultural work perspective. Oplign is an incredible tool for veterans.


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