Veterans often return home from war to face their most difficult battle — readjustment. Those who are severely injured may need to learn how to live with limited mobility. For others, it might be invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, which can make the transition into civilian life a struggle. Fortunately, veterans can achieve a positive adjustment after service.
Read on to learn how veterans, employers, family and community members all play a role.
Veterans are more likely to bond with former service members because of their shared military history. They’re able to understand emotional struggles and financial difficulties due to service-related injuries. This support can also foster trust, camaraderie and connections. Talking to someone who has the same level of experience and empathy can help veterans smoothly transition into civilian life.
Some veterans may have difficulty finding employment. By reaching out to fellow servicemen and women who have re-entered the civilian world, veterans can overcome difficulties in the workplace as well as grow personally and professionally.
Former service members may want to consider seeking a mentor who has successfully adapted to gain perspective and advice regarding interviewing skills, resumes and training. Vets who surround themselves with a familiar support network not only feel a sense of solidarity, but they can obtain assistance with finding a post-military career.
A Veterans Affairs (VA) facility focuses on post-war adjustment, counseling, and outreach services for vets and their families. Employers can become involved and donate their time to make a difference in the lives of former military members and gain an understanding of the military mindset.
Volunteering can help employers eliminate their perception that military individuals are too distressed or unfit for work. Instead, employers can become aware of the unique and valuable skills that veterans offer to the workforce. Veterans often make some of the best team members due to their strong leadership abilities, self-discipline and ability to work with others from diverse backgrounds.
The civilian work culture is far different from the battlefield. Veterans often feel that the level of discipline and performance is below their expectations. Providing job coaching and career training opportunities can give veterans the tools, skills and encouragement they need to pursue a new career. It can also help veterans translate warrior skills to the workforce.
Severely injured veterans who return home often need a place to live that better accommodates their physical disabilities. For example, the organization Building Homes for Heroes builds or modifies homes for vets and their families and gifts them, mortgage-free.
Community members can volunteer their painting, wiring, plumbing, carpentry and other skilled services or simply donate to the cause. By rebuilding a home for a veteran, family and community members can restore some of the freedom that veterans have sacrificed while defending the country.
Veterans assistance programs, such as Disabled American Veterans, are able to put family and community members in touch with local veterans who need help completing everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping, running errands and yard work. This can help veterans stick to a structured and healthy routine throughout the transition process.
It is possible for veterans to have a successful re-entry experience into the freedoms of civilian life. By consulting pro-veteran employers and reaching out to other comrades for support, they can overcome the challenges of transition and thrive in their careers.
Visit our job board regularly to find companies that may have veterans’ jobs available, and follow our blog and social media profiles to get news of job fairs in your area.
Author bio: Jeremy Silverstein is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Veteran Car Donations. During the years he’s been with the organization, he has become quite an expert in the industry and has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles.