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Friday, June 1, 2012

Job Skills

Job skills: sleeping on the job, breaking and entering, traffic violations, trespassing, kicking people out of their homes, car and house destruction.

I really enjoyed being a Firefighter, but the skills don’t really transfer to the rest of the job market.

There are other career paths with the same problem. EMS people are almost as bad. Their daily chaos with life and death situations imparts a very low tolerance for BS. Great people, but bad employees.

Military people have high unemployment rates. Lots of their skills don’t transfer. Beyond that, after being in a war zone, it must be hard to take cubical life seriously. Military recruiters are so full of crap, saying how military service will make you more valuable to civilian employers. Many employers think: this is a person with PTSD. There are opportunities for post military education, but the benefits are not nearly as generous as they used to be. A vet enters college older and years after someone who went to college right out of High School. He’s already behind on his new career path.

I know I’m not quite right, but I’m fine with that. I probably wasn’t cut out for a 9 to 5 job in the first place. That is one of the reasons the Fire Service attracted me. Leaving that and expecting to live a normal life? Not likely.

Injuries forced me to leave and it was tough to get back into the world. Some days I had to drive my old motorcycle very fast on mountain roads for the adrenalin rush. White water canoing helped. One time I spent a week winter hiking in the mountains -alone. Those things needed to be done.

If you had a life with that sort of adventure and are having a hard time adjusting to the “real world,” accept it as normal. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find a job with the same kind of rush. Perhaps you’ll need a few bad ass hobbies. Sometimes the only cure is postpone the whole career thing completely, perhaps forever. Hike through South America. Go biking in Asia. Sail the world. Accept that you aren’t like other people and go with it. Have an interesting life.

For example, I know an former Navy diver who then entered a Buddhist monastery, left that and worked as a blacksmith and now has graduated from acupuncture school. It’s not the sort of path a High School guidance councilor can plan for you.



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  2. Studies do show that vets have advantages in the work place, but it is an all things being equal situation. It is them against their peers, and their young peers with no college and limited work experience don't have a prayer.

    The big emphasis on PTSD does not help.

    The job market is so bad that half the military people coming out of the service apply for disabilty.

  3. The only "path not taken" in my "work" life was two excursions into the corporate web.

  4. I left a "real" job many years ago to travel my own route. I have no regrets.

  5. My biggest problem with transfer of job skills is non-compete agreements. If I left my current tax preparation company, I would have to pay them $10,000 if I prepared any one's taxes but my own for the next two years.

  6. One problem I have with ex-military personnel is when two or more meet, they begin to talk in military jargon and you don't have a clue what the hell they are talking about, its a language all its own. Its not their fault I know, but I feel left out.