Neither a career nor a short stint in the U.S. military was on my list of postsecondary plans back in 1987. After high school, I took the do-not-pass-go route to college.
It’s not a decision I regret. But at the same time, I can see now how military training and values would have served me well. I was a good student, but I could have used lessons in not thinking I knew more than everyone else, working as a team, overcoming obstacles and not procrastinating.
In this issue of The Municipal, Winston-Salem police officer Marcus Alexander talks about another valuable skill — decisiveness — that he learned while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Indecisiveness can get a soldier killed, he points out. Now enjoying a new career as a law enforcement officer, he’s again applying quick thinking and the ability to act immediately on decisions that are made.
It’s little wonder why former members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard tend to make effective police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and even assessors, surveyors and dispatchers. Our nation’s military trains men and women how to do a job right, whether it’s a desk job or a dangerous or difficult assignment. Not weather, malfunctioning machinery or personal discomfort constitute acceptable excuses to the men and women of the U.S. military. They’ve learned to power around or through challenges to get the job done.
Municipalities that don’t make a point of searching out these men and women to fill departmental openings are shortchanging themselves and their communities. This welltrained, talented and hardworking pool of job applicants returns to civilian employment ready to apply themselves to a good job for an honest wage. According to Robert Walker, director of events and national accounts for RecruitMilitary.com, they also tend to be interested in career advancement — which translates into an employee who shows initiative. Contact your local veterans affairs office to begin the process of including veterans in your city’s list of job posting outlets. Bases across the country also accommodate job fairs in which your city could participate. Or, see the story in this month’s issue of The Municipal for two national veteran employment resources.
We hope you find this article and the rest of this month’s edition of The Municipal useful. If there’s a topic you’d like to see discussed in the magazine, or if there’s someone you think deserves a little recognition, let us know and we’ll take a look at your suggestions in future editions of the magazine.