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Sacrifice and Responsibility: For America, For You

feb newsletter

Sacrifice and Responsibility: For America, For You
by: Dawn McDaniel

Why is it that less than one percent of the population serves in the military? Have you ever taken a minute to really think about that? 

I interact with a lot of people veterans and civilians alike and I gauge their reaction to military and veterans. The hard reality is the generations of today do not reflect the same level of pride and honor for their country, for their freedom.

Decades with an all volunteer force, has made this country forget what the true sacrifices are for freedom. Sure, people talk about it in a cavalier manner, but do they truly reflect on what it would mean to be without freedom?

Throughout my travels I have seen an increasing lack of appreciation for freedom. I even question, at times, if these younger generations could comprehend what it was like without freedom. The greatest generation was and still is a prideful group. They worked hard, fixed things that were broken, took their time to get it right the first time, and they valued their freedom. Many even left their homelands for the land of opportunity.

The United States of America used to be filled with people who were proud of themselves and their actions, took care of their neighbors and built communities, and knew how valuable freedom is. This is what made them the greatest generation. This is what prompted them to fight for freedom and their way of life. Everyone was invested and the Nation was unified.

Today, the focus has shifted. As a result the appreciation for freedom and the understanding of what it means to be without it has virtually vanished from the majority. There is an expectation that things will be given rather than earned, replaced rather than fixed, and happen at the speed of light.  These thoughts are not grounded in reality. Instead, someone makes the sacrifice so that these things can take place as they appear.

This responsibility and sacrifice falls squarely on the shoulders of our military and their families. They volunteer to fight the hard fight while others demand and replace things. They sacrifice time with their families, miss weddings, births, and deaths of close family and friends, all so that the rest of the nation can experience them in real time.

The military respects and appreciates freedom in a different way than most. It is easy to respect and appreciate something you do not have. While many may think that the military is an easy lifestyle, this just shows how little they understand. When you cannot take that vacation, the one that took two years to plan and save for, because Uncle Sam needs you to help the nation, you have no freedom. When you must wear a specific uniform, morning, noon, and night; you have no freedom. When you have no choices and no control, you have no freedom.

The USA has a wealth of freedom, and with all things that are in over abundance they are easily taken for granted. Consider what a few sacrifice for the many, so that the citizens of the USA can maintain their desired lifestyle. Taking some time to educate yourself on the military culture and sacrifice can go a long way to building your own appreciation for your freedom and opportunity in this country. Perhaps if more people did that, we could emerge as the greatest generation again!

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Military welcoming job descriptions

I was at a meeting, a summit really, where we were discussing corporate job descriptions and how they are not military welcoming.  This is a continuation of the concept that only Veterans must take the steps to integrate. Well my friend, it is more than a two way street and civilians, veterans, business leadership, and government all have a stake in this game.

But, I digress.  During this conversation, one company shared how they changed their job description to read college education or military experience equivalence. This was ultimately met with a law suit that said that it put those without a college degree, no military experience, but 20 years worth of experience at a disadvantage.

Two things come up with this scenario.  First, military experience, education, and training are seen as less valuable than a college degree.  Likewise, decades of experience are also seen as less valuable than a college degree.  I ask why?

What about a college degree makes it more valuable than experience or military training?  Does hands on training account for nothing?  What about those who are well read, brilliant, and still couldn’t afford a college degree, are they somehow less valuable people, employees, contributors to our society?

I think that notion is absurd!  We all have something to offer.  Will our experience, education, or training qualify us for every position we seek, not likely.  However, to rule out the possibility and potential within someone simply because one box isn’t checked is illogical.

I understand that there was a time where education set candidates apart.  I understand that a job description that pulls in 10,000 applications needs some barometer with which to whittle down the candidates.  I understand that some jobs also require specific book knowledge and experience that is gained in a bachelor’s or master’s program.

However, I think we can do better!  As a nation of highly educated, free people, we can identify a way to evaluate the potential of a candidate on more than just the credentials they paid for.  I believe that we can support and encourage our fellow Americans to reach for their fullest potential and not just a job.  By shifting the focus off of these paid credentials and providing opportunities for candidates to illustrate their potential we will have a stronger workforce, a stronger community, and a stronger economy.

As hiring managers, we need to start looking for aptitude for skill sets and core competencies.  The truth is that every company trains their new hires.  Some train a lot, while others train a little.  However, I have yet to see a single position that required no adapting to the company culture, product, or people.  These are things that are learned.  A candidate that is adaptable, trainable, and has a strong work ethic will succeed with the right guidance and training. Veterans with or without college education are strong candidates for any company.

So I ask you, how will you leverage your employees for success?  How will you empower them to illustrate their true potential, rather than quickly dismissing them based on a series of letters after their name?

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