Tag Archives: veterans

How to Fulfill Your Desire to Keep Serving

Have You Chosen the Right Role Model?

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Vayeira – Genesis 18:1-22:4

One thing military people can take pride in is our basic decency. Countless veterans have told me they want to work helping other veterans. What could be nobler than continuing a life of service? Unfortunately many don’t have the ability to follow this desire. Some lack the knowledge base. Others have to support their families and it’s hard to make a living helping veterans.

How to Fulfill Your Desire to Keep Serving

The Two Paths of Greatness

If only they could expand their view of those in need. Why not find another arena in which to serve? It comes down to choosing whether Noah or Abraham will guide you:

“And Abraham approached (G-d) and said, ‘And You will obliterate the righteous with the wicked?’” (Bereshis/Genesis 18:23)

Contrast Abraham in Parshas Vayeira with Noah.

G-d told Noah to build an ark because He was going to destroy humanity. Noah complied. For 120 years he worked on it. People came by to ask him what he was doing. When he told them about the coming flood, rather than repent they scoffed at him. Still, Noah kept working to save his family.

Like what you're reading? Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you a FREE gift as a thank you. Click here to subscribe.

In counterpoint, when G-d told Abraham He was going to destroy Sodom, Abraham did not sit idly by. He bargained with the Almighty in an attempt to save the Sodomites. He acted more like a lawyer than a shepherd. While he didn't succeed, nonetheless Abraham demonstrated his concern for all people.

Consider Service in All Its Forms

G-d noticed the difference in their approaches to impending disaster. He calls Noah a righteous man, perfect in his generations. Why only in his generations? Abraham became the father of the Jewish people and one of the most righteous people of all time.

Compared to his contemporaries, Noah was righteous. But he fell short by not pleading for the lives of the people the flood would destroy. Abraham looked beyond the information G-d gave him and chose to intervene. Even though he didn't like the people of Sodom, Abraham tried to help them.

You have the potential to be a Noah or an Abraham. You can focus on helping your family of veterans. Surely such an endeavor is valuable. But what about all the other people in our country?

We have it easier than Abraham. Your fellow citizens aren't Sodomites. And they need your assistance.   Their businesses will pay better salaries than most veteran groups can afford.

An organization doesn't need to be nonprofit to help people. Companies today have to serve their customers well. Otherwise, they’ll go somewhere else. No longer is healthcare the only sector that takes care of people. Service and products. Retail and wholesale. Commercial and industrial. Large and small. Every business must dedicate itself to service. In other words, anywhere you work you can pursue your desire to serve.

Who will be your role model: Noah or Abraham?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below

 

Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. Its name comes from the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

Do you have a question about the Old Testament? Ask it here and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

Do You See Yourself as Just a Veteran?

How to Use Spiritual Power to Drive Your Transition

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Lech Lecha – Genesis 12:1-17:27

Earlier this evening a shipmate asked me why veterans cling so tightly to their military identity. He’s known too many who couldn’t see the potential for enriching it in civilian life. Year after year they struggle to connect with non-military people. And their job prospects go nowhere.

Do You See Yourself as Just a Veteran

 

A Limited Self-Image Subjects You to Defeat

A large part of my work involves helping veterans see themselves in a new light as they reintegrate to civilian life. The process is age-old. Parshas Lech Lecha shows it's priceless:

“…his initiates who had been born in his house – 318 – and [Abraham] gave chase as far as Dan.” (Bereshis/Genesis 14:14)

Abram, later renamed Abraham, won a war against the armies of four kings. They’re the same ones who had defeated the armies of five kings. Yet Abram had just 318 soldiers. He had no tanks, jets, or other overwhelming firepower. Such a victory seems impossible.

At 75 years old, Abram took his wife Sarai, who was 65, and Lot to a strange land. You would expect the local inhabitants to overrun them. Yet they prospered.

As a small group, Abram and his family went to Egypt. Pharoah desired Sarai. How difficult would it have been for Pharaoh to kill Abram and take his wife? Instead, they leave Egypt with greater wealth than they brought there.

After that, Abram defeated four of the most powerful kings in the world.

Like what you're reading? Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you a FREE gift as a thank you. Click here to subscribe.

Do you see a pattern to these events? If you focus only on the physical dimension it would seem the stronger side would have had to win.

The Power of a Revised Identity

The four kings saw themselves as great warriors. They confused their enemy’s greater corruption with their own strength. So they thought they could take Lot captive and break Abram’s spirit. Had they had Abram’s, or even Pharaoh’s, perceptiveness they would have realized such an endeavor had to fail.

Pharaoh identified himself as a deified monarch. But at least he had more insight than the four kings. Since G-d afflicted his household, he knew he could not defeat Abram. So he let him go.

In all Abram’s trials, the moral and spiritual dimensions dominated. By following G-d’s commandment to leave his home, Abram enlarged his identity. Over time he gained deep clarity about his reshaped persona. The Almighty recognized his development by rewarding his effort and amending his name to Abraham.

Put spiritual power behind your transition to civilian life. Find a quiet place to think about these two questions. Play some music that will inspire introspection. Write out your answers. Longhand will produce a greater impact than typing.

1. Who are you now? You’re already more than a veteran. You may have the roles of spouse, parent, child, and sibling. You may have a passion that makes up a part of your current identity. Write them down. Develop a hierarchy among the various facets.

2. Who do you need to be? As you approach or navigate civilian life, determine the components to add to your identity. Broaden your professional dimension. Consider facets to discard in favor in new ones that will help you better reintegrate. Review and alter your hierarchy as necessary.

Gain clarity on your reshaped persona. Doing so will focus your spiritual energy on reaching your transition objectives. You’ll communicate better with people who can help you. And you’ll show the Almighty you’ve done the hard work worthy of reward.

Have you been in a situation where the spiritual factor meant triumph rather than defeat?

Please comment on this question or ask another question below.

 

Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Increase Spiritual Fitness with Competition

Are You Competitive in Only One Way?

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Vezos Haberachah – Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Competition has gotten a bad reputation over the last few decades. Children’s programs are notorious for giving everyone a ribbon no matter how abysmal their performance. One of the few places this idea doesn’t reign supreme is the armed forces.

How to Increase Spiritual Fitness with Competition

Competition with Others Produces Greatness

The military remains proud of its up or out culture. Annual reviews let service members know where they stand in relation to their peers. A process known as racking and stacking determines the performance hierarchy at a command. A select percentage at the top advances. The rest may see their careers stagnate.

Substantial improvement that doesn't place you in a high relative ranking constitutes failure. You might be able to hang on for a few more years. But if you don't advance, High Year Tenure forces you to leave.

Of course, the military only rates factors related to your military duties. Primarily these include physical matters, such as skills proficiency and leadership ability. Spiritual fitness doesn't come into play. The military relegates this to G-d. Parshas Vezos Haberachah reveals the rating system:

“And Moses, servant of G-d, died there in the land of Moab by the mouth of G-d.” (Devarim/Deuteronomy 34:5).

As the end of his life neared, Moses urged the Israelites to reflect. The Almighty showed him the Promised Land from across the Jordan. Then Moses died as he lived, by the word of G-d. No mention is made of a eulogy. But the Torah names him the greatest prophet in history.

The Rambam, an exceptional Torah commentator, said anyone can be as righteous as Moses. How does this reconcile with the Torah’s declaration that there will never be a prophet as great as Moses? The answer lies in not confusing effort with effect. Moses dedicated his life to G-d. By doing so, he reached the pinnacle of virtue. The Almighty endowed him with unprecedented prophecy.

By dedicating yourself to G-d’s service, you can reach Moses’s level of righteousness. But you’ll receive a different reward. You won't become a greater prophet than Moses. But, you may get an outstanding marriage or amazing children. The Creator may bless you with wealth. He may hold a special place for you in the World to Come.

Like what you're reading? Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you a FREE gift as a thank you. Click here to subscribe.

It looks like the Almighty has created a competition for spiritual achievement. Moses appears to set the standard. But not all is as it seems.

Competition Against Yourself Produces Greatness

Spiritual accomplishment is not a contest against others but with yourself. Are you trying to surpass your finest effort? If not, it doesn’t matter that you know more scripture or give greater amounts of charity than anyone else. G-d’s interested in how much you know relative to what you knew last year or last week, not Moses. He cares how much you strive to improve.

Moses and many other outstanding religious figures give you targets at which to aim. But the Creator delights when you use your abilities to their fullest. In so doing, you build spiritual resilience. And, you deepen your relationship with Him.

Competition with others isn’t inherently bad. Nor is self-competition obviously good. A resilient life recognizes each has its realm.

Vezos Haberachah completes this year’s cycle of Torah readings. Like the rhythm of life: birth, death, rebirth, next week begins the next round of sifting lessons for our lives from G-d’s instructions to the world. Each will give you the opportunity to improve your inner life. We’ll pursue the self-competitive goal of perpetual growth, even as we deal with the competitive pressures of military and civilian business life.

How do you motivate yourself to pursue spiritual fitness?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below

 

Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. Its name comes from the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

Do you have a question about the Old Testament? Ask it here and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Find Veterans with the Precise Skills You Need

You Can Break Military Occupational Specialty Codes…

2-½ minutes to read

(NOTE: This is part of a series of articles for civilians who want to help veterans transition better. If you’re current or former military, pass this on to a civilian friend.)

Last week’s post showed how to assess the experience and educational level of military people. You saw the typical veteran is ahead of his civilian peers on both counts. But businesses and veterans struggle to understand each other when talking about skills. Nonetheless, you can pinpoint the ones you need. The bureaucratic nature of the military will do most of the work for you.

How to Find Veterans with the Precise Skills You Need

Job Specialties by the Numbers

Next time you meet a veteran, ask him what his military specialty was. Chances are you’ll get an answer like, “I was an 11 bravo.” Bravo is the phonetic alphabet equivalent of the letter B. The number and letter combination is called a Military Occupational Specialty Code. The Army has about 190 of them.

Each branch of the military classifies its people according to codes. They go by the following names:

Army - Enlisted: Military Occupational Specialty Code (MOS)

Army – Warrant Officers: Warrant Officer Military Occupational Specialty Code (WOMOS)

Army – Officers: Area of Concentration (AOC)

Marine Corps – Enlisted: Military Occupational Specialty Code (MOS)

Marine Corps – Officers: Military Occupational Specialty Code (MOS)

Navy - Enlisted: Rating

Navy - Officer: Designator

Air Force – Enlisted: Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC)

Air Force – Officers: Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC)

Each service has a different coding system. Most are combinations of numbers and letters. The Navy is the last holdout for using names, such a yeoman or SWO (Surface Warfare Officer). The links in the above list will take you to guidance current as of this writing.

In addition to these basic classifications, service members can earn specialty designations. Again, they go by different names. The Army has ASIs, Additional Skill Identifiers. The Navy has NEBCs, Navy Enlisted Billet Classification codes. In a simple example, if you need an office manager, the related Navy rating is a yeoman with a NEBC of 1815 – Office Manager.

Like what you're reading? Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you a FREE gift as a thank you. Click here to subscribe.

Many service members haven't done the paperwork to get these designations. But they’ll know the ones relevant to their job specialty. If you choose to learn ASIs, NECBs, and the like, you can be even more specific about your job needs.

Put Your New Knowledge into Practice

Let’s look at an example of how this can work in practice. Say you need a geographic information system (GIS) analyst. The military is the perfect place to find one. Every service branch has this job specialty.

The relevant codes are:

Army: 12Y – Geospatial Engineer and 35G -Geospatial Intelligence Imagery Analyst

Marine Corps: 0261 – Geographic Intelligence Specialist

Navy: AG - Aerographer's Mate

Air Force: 3E5X1 – Engineering

The names associated with the codes can be deceiving. Service members in these job specialties get trained in and use GIS systems.

Combine this information with what you learned in my previous post. If you want an entry-level GIS analyst, look for a veteran in the E-3 or E-4 pay grades. He’ll have a working knowledge of various systems. If you want a more experienced analyst who can be a team leader, target the E-5 and E-6 pay grades.

An E-6 with 8 years of military service earns $62,600 after adjusting his pay for the third that’s non-taxable. Salaries I’ve seen for GIS analysts range up to $70,000 so pay expectations mesh. Figure out the typical pay of a service member you're targeting using my Military-to-Civilian Pay Convertor.

When you post your job openings, include language like the following:

FOR TRANSITIONING SERVICE MEMBERS AND VETERANS…

 

Seeking E-5s or E-6s in military specialties

Army - 12Y or 35G, Marine Corps – 0261, Navy – AG, Air Force - 3E5X1

Consider posting your job opening in veteran’s groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Although there are hundreds of specialties, many won’t apply to your organization. Once you learn the ones that do, you can communicate your specific needs.  Your ability to speak directly to veterans will give you a competitive advantage. Now go out and hire adaptable, well-trained, experienced military people.

What do you find most confusing about how the military personnel structure works?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below

How to Match Veterans to Your Job Openings

3 Qualifications All Military People Have

3-½ minutes to read

(NOTE: This is part of a series of articles for civilians who want to help veterans transition better. If you’re current or former military, pass this on to a civilian friend.)

From last week, you’ve seen that the military ingrains adaptability in its people. Now let’s look at how you can find veterans with the specific skill set you need. Most jobs require a mix of soft and hard skills. Your organization may call the first group people skills or emotional intelligence. It may refer to the latter as technical or practical skills. The names don't matter as much as understanding their military equivalents.

How to Match Veterans to Your Job Openings

Military Career Tracks

Military people have two basic career paths: enlisted and officer. About 80% of 1.3 million people on active military duty are enlisted personnel. The career paths cross when enlisted people become officers. Most warrant officers come from mid to senior level enlisted ranks. Rarely will you find enlisted people who started out as officers.

Most enlisted people join between completion of high school and age 21. Often, and for a variety of reasons, they’ve found college is not for them. Their first step is basic training, which lasts from 8-1/2 to 12 weeks. Most of the time, they’ll receive follow-on training in their specific job.

Junior enlisted work to gain technical proficiency in their military occupation. Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) develop training and leadership skills while advancing their hard skills. Senior/staff non-commissioned officers (SNCOs) train NCOs and junior commissioned officers.

By contrast, all service branches require commissioned officers to have a four-year degree. Only 20% graduate from a service academy. The rest go through a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in college or join after college and attend Officer Candidate School (OCS). (The Air Force calls it Officer Training School.) As a result, officers tend to be a little older then enlisted when they begin active military duty.

Junior officers are expected to exercise leadership while they gain greater technical proficiency in their job. Senior officers hone their leadership skills while developing command ability.

Staff officers bring hard skills to the military. They attend an abbreviated officer-training course to acclimate them to military life.

Like what you're reading? Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you a FREE gift as a thank you. Click here to subscribe.

Leadership is the key to promotion for both the enlisted and officer career paths.

Education, Soft Skills, and Experience

With the above in mind, you can begin to match job openings to military qualifications. What education level and mix of hard and soft skills does a position need?

1. Education Level. Contrary to the stereotype, military people are better educated than the population as a whole. They are 1.5 times more likely to have graduated high school. Over 90% of enlisted people have their diploma. Officers are three times more likely to have a college degree. Eighty-four percent of officers have at least bachelor’s degree. Over 40% have an advanced degree.

2. Mix of Soft and Hard Skills. The more a job entails the former, the more senior the military person you should target. NCOs provide hands-on leadership. The civilian equivalents include foreman, team leader, or supervisor. SNCOs provide daily operational leadership. They have responsibilities similar to managers or directors in civilian organizations. See last week’s post for more on leadership levels.

A service member’s job determines his hard skills. I’ll cover military occupational specialties in my next post.

Time in service (TIS), how long someone stays in the military, varies by category, job, and contract. Most enlisted people serve for one or two active duty periods, lasting a total of four to six years. Officers have to serve at least eight years. Several of these years can be in the reserves.

To be eligible for a pension, a person must serve at least 20 years. Service members separated early for medical reasons may qualify for pension-like payments.

Broken down by category, TIS is as follows:

The higher the pay grade, the longer the TIS. And, with greater TIS comes multiple deployments. This gives a service member the opportunity to put his skills to use under the most adverse conditions.

As with any organization, many people do not fit into the general patterns outlined above. Nonetheless, they give you the guidance you need to figure out which group of military people has the basic qualifications you need for a particular job.

Next post, I’ll cover military occupations. Then I’ll give you an example of how to use this information to create a detailed job description tailored directly to the veterans you want to recruit.

What do you find most confusing about how the military personnel structure works?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below ↓

Get More Ideas Like These for Firing Up Your Life and a FREE Bonus!

Use:

  • The wisdom of Scripture
  • Battle-tested ideas from the military
  • Profitable business concepts

to design a better life for you and your family!

Plus, you'll get a FREE bonus, my 49 Day Challenge to Refine Your Character!