This past week I saw several veterans standing next to freeway exits with cardboard signs that read:
Veteran. Homeless. Anything helps.
Will work for food. Homeless veteran.
Each time I see these veterans I cringe with shame. These men and women served our country and this is the thanks we give them?
Thankfully many organizations are stepping up their recruiting efforts to focus on hiring the veteran population.
The focus on hiring veterans brings to mind a former colleague who served in the military reserves. People appreciated his drive and his commitment: He met deadlines. He delivered great service. He stuck with a problem until it was resolved.
People also struggled when working with this colleague: He didn’t do well with the “gray” — his approach was to view things as black or white. His responses were right or wrong, nothing in between. He was called back to active duty which meant his job was left open for six months and other people on the team had to take on the extra work.
Of course this person is an individual; as such he has has his own personality traits. But I imagine he shares many of those traits — for better or worse — with his fellow members of the military.
As organizations hire veterans or members of the reserves [insert applause here], we need to be proactive in facilitating awareness about how these individuals contribute to our organizations and also how to adapt and foster conversations if there are bumps in the road.
Above all, we need to appreciate their service and honor their commitment to our country by helping pave the way for a return to the United States that includes employment, a living wage and an opportunity to enjoy all that our country has to offer.