Recently it has come to my attention that many of us veterans are still in need of some type of “team” or group that will have our backs. By having “our backs” it means a team of individuals that you can trust and let know what is happening in your life without fear of judgment. For the first couple of years, I didn’t really have a team per se but I did have a mentor and they were able to help direct me onto the correct path. Now I have a career and have found myself on an actual team.
At first, I was a very worried about working with this specific team. It is all women and they are all highly educated and extremely good at what they do. The caliber of their work and the efficiency of their office is possibly one of the best in the Nation. I have no idea how I got myself onto a team like this, but I did.
The position that I filled was also a very hard position, but no different than what everyone else on the team was doing. I had very little experience in this field, just some research, and knowledge, and did not want to be “that guy” who brought the whole teams numbers and statistics down. Luckily, the Team Leader and my other co-worker basically held my hand through the whole learning phase. Honestly, there is still some hand holding going on even after almost being at this position for 11 months.
After a while of us all working together, I became more comfortable with being around everyone and talking freely. Eventually, I realized that my new team was basically just like the team of guys from the Marine that I served with. I didn’t have to watch every single word I said and it seemed that they were also a little more comfortable working with me. I tried not to be weird or creepy, but who knows. I do know that now we all get along and like one another (or at least act like it).
My Supervisor is much different than what I had expected. She worries about my well-being, taking care of my health, taking breaks, and that I am not overwhelmed. She is also a person that you can tell anything to and she will help you and keep it to herself. Although, when it comes to keeping things from each other on the team it is not that big of a deal. Basically, if there is a problem or something is happening we work as hard as we can to help each other out. It’s almost too good to be true.
Having this team or group of people that has my back has proved to be very healing and helpful in my transition from the Marine Corps, College, and into my career and being successful at it. I do believe that if the team dynamics were different, and things had to be kept a secret or the personalities clashed, it would make life, in general, a little more difficult. Nobody likes conflict especially when it is something that you will have to deal with daily. If you are a Veteran and you are looking at job opportunities or a new career path, don’t just think about the money. Think about the type of people the job will require you to be around. The saying “you are who you hang with” seems to be somewhat true.
In an interview ask questions about the company and the people that you could possibly be working with. Ask what their style of leadership is like. Nobody wants to start a job and then feel as if they are an outcast or are extremely stressed due to the way the leadership works. If you can figure out what type of an environment it is that you will be working in, it will make your decision much easier.
It is also a good idea to bring up any type of injuries or “disabilities” you might have before taking the job. They might not be a company that is willing to work around those injuries you received from your time in the military. This has been a major plus to working on a team that understands me. The flexibility to make it to doctor appointments and go to certain group meetings with Veteran Affairs has proved to make the job more than a “job”. It is a family that is taking care of me and thinking about my future and well-being.