Happy Veterans Day
Here is yet another reason I admire USAA as much as I do: They work and serve according to their values.
For many Americans, finding the right job is the first big step on the road to financial security. But for those who have recently taken off a military uniform to transition into civilian life, the road can be a little rough. Among recent veterans ages 18-24, the unemployment rate is about three times higher than the national average.
Our experience at USAA proves that veterans are precisely the kind of employees companies should hire. They know how to lead — and be led. Veterans are often comfortable with technology and complex processes. And they’re honest, hardworking and mission-oriented. That’s why our goal at USAA this year and in the past is that one out of every four employees we hire be a veteran or a spouse of a veteran — and many are wounded warriors. They not only make great employees, but they instinctively understand the needs of the military families we serve.
In or out of uniform, veterans know how to get the job done. We hope more and more companies and public agencies make it a priority to hire those who have given so much in service to our country.
— Josue Joe Robles Jr., President and CEO, USAA
The quote I’ve shared above, was from a USAA newsletter I had received back in September of 2012. I had kept it in my “Findings” file, because I loved the positive, honorable picture it painted of veterans. It’s also a picture of future expectation, confident our veterans have so much more to give: Their contributions have not ended.
- They know how to lead:
On Leaders, Leading, and Leadership: The How and Why
- — and be led: Purposeful Following
Unfortunately, we often hear about veterans in terms of “veterans issues” these days, such as with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, homelessness and their struggle to fit into civilian life, and the drastic changes necessary at our embattled Department of Veteran Affairs.
Judging from media accounts, I’m the rare American veteran who isn’t homeless, homicidal, or suicidal.
To be sure, the toll of almost 11 years of constant war has been high. Divorce among military families is at record levels at a time when it’s declining among the civilian population. As best we can tell, veterans are half again as likely to be homeless as non-veterans. And more soldiers have killed themselves this year than have died on the battlefield.
These trends are damning and shameful.
— James Joyner, Stop Feeling Sorry for American Veterans
Join me in celebrating this Veterans Day in a highly personal way
On this Veterans Day, let’s resolve to ignore the stereotypes and negative news, and make it more personal. Let’s reach out to the veterans we know, hire and refer them if we can, and appreciate them above and beyond that noble fight they’ve engaged in for our freedoms.
Wear your Aloha Spirit on your sleeve today, say Mahalo to every veteran you know, and ask yourself what more you can do. You. Not the government, not the non-profit charity organizations, not the rich and famous (though we welcome their help) but you, in whatever your own circle of influence might be.
I’d wager your circle of personal outreach, appreciation and acknowledgement is much bigger than you think it is. I would echo James Joyner in saying that veterans don’t want our pity, they want our partnership.
On this Veterans Day, I will also be collecting reading-and-learning links on my Tumblr, Ho‘ohana Aloha. Read more there: Veterans Day 2014
Postscript on our Language of Intention: Circle of Influence
Stephen R. Covey, best known for his classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, gives us a good framing for what we managers can do, can effect, and can work with— without fear, and without feeling we are over-stepping our bounds. He calls it our ‘circle of influence.’ Even if you don’t know Covey, think about that phrase literally: There is a circle in your workplace that maps out your territory; it circles where your work is of best influence, and where your actions are most conducive to GOOD. The only question is if you dare to tread there or not, so good will fully happen.
As Covey points out, everything within your circle of influence is within your sphere of control— you can affect it, and be effective with it.
— Hana ‘eleau: Working in the Dark