After years of uniformed service, which might have included deployments to hostile environments, a transitioning veteran might be excused for feeling a certain level of entitled selfishness in contemplating his next job move.
Having done so much for others, it would be normal to think that the civilian phase of one’s career is about pursuing self-interest and personal gain above all else. However understandable these sentiments might be, the truth is that maintaining the spirit of selflessness and idealism that drove volunteering for service in the first place may be the key to an effective civilian job search and lifetime career satisfaction.
Like most people, veterans seek career momentum, money, mentorship and mission in their civilian employment. Of these, the mission element can be the hardest to replicate. After bonding with colleagues to fight terrorists and defend the nation, it can be difficult to get excited about sales quotas and abstract operating business metrics. Successful transitioning veterans learn through experience that if they cannot find mission satisfaction in their day jobs, they can find it through volunteering in their local communities.
There are three primary veteran aspirational values of purpose, community and identity, says Jake Wood, a former Marine sniper and founder of Team Rubicon, which provides veteran volunteers with an opportunity to assist first responders during natural disasters and other community needs. Wood is a regular media contributor on the subject of how community service and giving back have a positive effect on veterans and their careers.
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