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Jason A. Savage
Jason A. Savage

Posted on • Originally published at thesavage.dev on

Why You Should Hire a Veteran

REPUBLISH

What is a Veteran

I'll only speak for veterans of the US Military, because they are the ones that I have the most experience with on a personal and professional level. A veteran is a person who voluntarily (in the US) signed up to be changed as a person at their core to become part of the safeguard for the American way of life. A person who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect the Country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

In initial training, you are taken as a person and worn down mentally and physically. You are yelled at until your ears ring. You are running until your legs are shaking. You do push-ups until you're eating dirt because you just can't do anymore. You're given enough food to survive, but that's it. Then, something magical happens.

You get built back up. You learn what it means to be a soldier/airman/seaman/marine/coastie. You learn how to save a life. You learn the discipline it takes to be an adult. Your bed must be made perfectly. Your weapon must be spotless. Your uniform must be clean and presentable. Your hair must be cared for. Your fingernails need to be trimmed and neat. Your boots have to be laced a certain way. You learn how and why we salute. You learn to carry yourself tall with good posture. It builds confidence in yourself.

You become a different person. You walk taller, with confidence. You speak differently. In 9 weeks (for the Army at least) you gain so much knowledge about life and to be a leader.

Disclaimer

There are those people who sign up for the free education or because they are out of options to be a functioning member of the public. These aren't the people I'm talking about, so be sure to still do your due diligence when hiring.

Okay, so Why?

Disregarding those service members covered in the disclaimer above, veterans are hardworking, disciplined, leaders from day one. They don't need to be trained on how to lead people. They don't need to be trained on how to talk to people. They may sound vulgar and harsh to their buddies, but they know when to turn the verbal filters on to speak to civilians appropriately.

It is like having a senior level employee at a junior level. They need little supervision. You can trust they will be working. You can trust they will do everything in their power to get the job done and done right.

We don't take ourselves too seriously. We like to have fun. We don't act differently around different people. We are comfortable with who we are and so don't feel the need to put on a fake face for people. We know when to be professional and sensible, but we know when to have fun and make fun.

Veterans are all about sharing knowledge. That's how we survive. If everyone knows what's going on and how we are going to tackle a problem, it makes things a lot smoother. At my current place of employment, I set up a "Lunch and Learn" within a couple of months of being hired to share everything I was learning about React and about everything I've learned in general. I did the first couple then others started sharing as well. It brought us together as a team and helped us take a minute to pause and have our minds go to something other than our project work. It doesn't have to be about code. I've talked at various venues about soft skills. I've even given a tutorial "lightning talk" about how to make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

How to Hire a Veteran

We're everywhere. We may not have the coding experience you are looking for but give us a chance to show you what we can do. We bring so much more to the table. A service member has is to be able to quickly adapt to any situation. Nice easy boring day, great! Next minute you're getting shot at and have to take cover and return fire. Not so great, but you're ready for it and can flip the switch in an instant. Although we (hopefully) won't be getting shot at in the developer office but we'll be able to adapt just as fast.

A lot of veterans have spent ten or more years out of high school in the military. Now they're are in their 30's and are looking for a civilian job for the first time in a decade or more. If you see a resume that doesn't meet your coding experience requirements but see service years. Don't throw it out. Give that person a chance to interview and show you that they can bring other, sometimes more valuable, experience to a team.

Thank you

Thank you for reading this far. I hope you gained some insight to this group of very special people.

Credits

Cover photo by Lucas Sankey on Unsplash

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