Planning for one’s future is almost as much fun as shoveling sand. But, if the job’s got to be done, doing it well is the only thing that provides peace of mind. And in the case of planning for the future, doing it well provides more than peace of mind.
In an earlier piece, we took a look at the highest paying, post-service jobs available to vets. But not many of us are going to be aviators. Fewer will be surgeons. Leaving the military presents some unique problems that can be made somewhat easier by picking a career that doesn’t contradict everything we’ve become in our years of service. Everyone of us are different, but we share some core values. Ideas like “hard work and responsibility are honorable.” And “discipline counts.”
Being happy isn’t the most important thing in the world, but it ranks right up there with a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning. It’s hard to be happy in one’s work if one is engaged in an endeavor that betrays his core values. Panhandling is not generally an occupation that very many vets would find fulfilling. What would be fulfilling?
Vets Are Goal Oriented
Vets, like me, tend to be goal oriented. We need something that provides a challenge; something that meaning for ourselves, and to others. Getting paid counts, too. But just getting paid won’t cut it. So what’s a good man, or woman, to do?
First, we need to decide if we want to continue in the specialties we pursued in-service. For some of us, the point of separating was making a change. Happily, making a change is easier now than it has ever been. Employers will hire a vet almost just because he’s a vet. Give him training if he needs it, knowing the vet is going to bring to the job attributes that are rare, almost non-existent, in the civilian workplace.
Spent your service as a medical corpsman, but always wanted to drive a truck long distance? You’re a vet. Call CDL Trucking1, or almost any trucking outfit, tell them you’re a vet, and brace yourself for the whirlwind of salivating managers. Spent your service as an HVAC specialist, but always wanted to be a computer nerd? Call GE, tell them you’re a vet, and they’ll all but drag you to one of the 400 job fairs they’ll heaving at vets just this year. Civilians don’t get to go. Just vets. It may be hard to imagine just coming out, but vets are the most prized employees in the United States.
How about an apprenticeship as a Union Plumber? A Union Plumber only averages $60,200 a year2, but the Department of Veteran Affairs through the GI Bill can get you into an apprenticeship program with no fuss at all. If you’re a vet. Everyone from “Gulfstream Aerospace” to “Pratt and Whitney” and “Proctor & Gable” have apprentice programs with on-the-job training so you get paid while you work. If you’re a vet.3 They don’t care about experience. Not interested. They’ll put you to work at a decent job that has real value, paying higher than the national average on a hand-shake, and a smile. If you’re a vet.
Career Choices For Vets Have Never Been Better
Some of us liked what we did in the military, and most specialties vets performed in-service have mirror images in the civilian world. Many people consider law enforcement the cop on the beat, or the patrolman in a car. The fact is that law enforcement entails a vast array of the specialties vets are commonly trained in from procurement to watch. And law enforcement is a field that simply can’t find enough veterans to absorb. Health care fields, construction, maintenance, HVAC, IT, purchasing, management, personnel co-ordination, security, and nearly every other industry, trade, and profession offers careers to vets that they are not only trained for, but experienced in far beyond what’s possible in civilian life.
Veterans have a reputation that’s well earned for character, competence, and dedication. Whether a vet wants to pursue his in-service specialty post-service, or take on a new mission, employers are anxious to put them on the pay-roll. Career choices for vets have never been better.