If you asked me 5 years ago what I would be doing, I probably would have said working at a bank (which ironically enough was my first job), not in Human Resources OR manufacturing. But here I am...working in HR and in manufacturing. My job comes with countless responsibilities and demands, and my primary job being hiring the best employees for the company.
I'm sure you're thinking how dang hard can it be to find people who want to work? With the thousands of unemployed people out there, I've found that very few actually want to work hard. Our industry is extremely labor intensive, and we have many people who go through the interview process, take their drug screen, do all their paperwork, and quit after one week because the job is too hard. I receive a lot of applicants that are currently enlisted in the military, some that have already served their time, and some retired. With the variety of experience they have and training they receive, I always find it odd that they have a hard time finding employment.
It struck me today while interviewing a past Army Rifleman why (I think) so many are struggling to find employment. The first thing he said was, "I was in the military and I saw stuff you wouldn't understand" (I wanted to say, "ya, my husband has too...along with thousands of other guys"). I have a great level of respect for anyone who serves/served and dedicates their time and life to our country, but flaunting it isn't something I'm too fond of. He had great character, seemed to be hard working, and could be a great employee, but he kept referring everything to the military. This got me thinking about my time a few weeks ago when our company attended a job fair. Of the multitude of people we met, there was one person that stuck out. She was a disabled veteran, and made sure to tell everyone she talked to why she was disabled. She didn't talk about any job experience she had, the contributions she could make to a company, or what her career path was...but made her entire speech on what happened to her and why she was disabled. She kept telling me that companies discriminate against disabled veterans, how she fought for her country, and in her mind, all companies should want to have her work for them. She didn't know I had a husband away serving, or that I have a long line of military in my family. Maybe she didn't know what else to say, or talking about it made her feel at ease...I don't know. I was honored of her dedication to our country, but the fact that she kept bringing up her disability was off-putting.
There are countless businesses that operate primarily to find employment for disabled veterans. To me, using the military as a crutch is wrong. There's a time and place to bring it up, and using it as an opening line to a job interview isn't one of them. Every person is different, and some are more proud of their service then others. For example, my husband rarely tells people he's in the military when they ask what he does (as if the haircut doesn't give it away). I'm a firm believer in true character, but agin, using your veteran status shouldn't be a main driver in you selling yourself. Call me crazy, but using "I'm a disabled veteran" as your opening line probably isn't the best. There's a time and place for everything.
***These are all my own opinions based on my experience in the field I work in. We have countless military personnel, retired military, and disabled employees working for us...discrimination is not in our culture.***
What are your thoughts?