Loving, Learning, Leading, Listening

Working with a Veteran

Published: Friday, November 10, 2023

I was on this ship, when the picture was taken in 1992. Courtesy of PHC Robert K. Hemmerly, USN - U.S. DefenseImagery photo VIRIN: DN-SN-95-00815

I am grateful as an 8 year Navy veteran, to have served in the military. Those experiences have shaped many parts of my character and informed my values. In this month, where we are recognizing our veterans, please consider the following:

  1. We may not be formally trained in the jobs we are at. I know a few of us are not college graduates with masters degrees in computer science, MBAs, or other amazing educational backgrounds. For many of us, our “college” years were spent learning on the job (many times 24/7).

  2. Most of us in the military did not have the concept of an 8 hour day.

  3. A chain of command mindset is pretty much a given. When we hear “what” to do from our managers, it isn’t a question and most of the time, we define the how. Autonomy, and empowerment and drive are friends to us. This also means we have an innate sense of trust that our leaders will do their absolute best for us.

  4. You can call it a “Band of Brothers” attitude when it comes to our co-workers. Many have worked in situations where it is life or death based upon collaboration and trust. Those core values are freely given, but very hard to repair when they have been broken.

  5. Honor and respect: We demand leadership from our superiors. With that demand, comes honoring. Top down leadership is familiar. Respect is earned by example and driven by care for each other.

  6. Tough times are nothing new. But persistence to the end goal keeps our eyes on the mission.

  7. A willing to Sacrifice for the greater good is deep in our souls. We stand for those who can’t and carry forward for those who may have fallen. We understand the mission and that is to fight for those who have not been called to fight.

I left the military in 1996. These items above resonate in my being daily. I am blessed daily by what I was taught. I hope for those of you that may not have been in the military take this rambling and appreciate the co-workers that have served. Take the time to hear their stories. Reflect on the values that they bring to the table.

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