A Veteran’s Story

My Struggle Transitioning from the Service to a Civilian Career

Sheri Dozier, E4, Navy

When it was time to exit the service, I was not sure what I wanted to do. I was full of nerves, scared and excited for a new direction for my life.My Navy career started in Chicago, IL. This is the only training location for bootcamp now. Your day started at 5 am and ended around 7 or 8 pm. My first duty station was shore duty. Most of the women that I went to bootcamp with received shore duty, at the time there was no room for females on the ships. After serving my time on shore, I was sent to a destroyer. It was very impressive; you really don’t understand how big the ships are until you are face to face with one. Being in the services prepared me for all challenges. You are faced with hard and tough decisions on a regular basis, so you are taught to never give up, figure things out quickly and to be a team player.

In the service, I learned how to trust my fellow sailors and work as a team to complete a mission. Being in the Navy was the best decision that I ever made, it taught me leadership, hard work, and accountability. Without the military, I would have never been able to finish college or connect with so many people from all over the world. I would not trade this time for anything, I would do it all over if I could. However, little did I know that there were more career obstacles ahead of me after my Navy career.

After my service was finished, I was excited to transition my skills over to a civilian career. However, when I first began my transition, the door was closed in my face so many times. No one cared that I served this country and they were not looking to bring a young woman with military service background to their company. It was hard for them to understand my competencies and skills that I gained while in the military. Even with a master’s degree, I was turned back many times because companies would not recognize my time in services as proper experience. Eventually, after struggling and failing to connect and communicate what I was trying to achieve, Vector found me. Vector’s team really was the liaison for me, they understood what my background entailed and what capabilities I was able to bring to the table. They really helped my transition, not just by setting me up on my next career path but also helping me with Veteran Affairs paperwork, benefits, and helping to answer all the questions I had moving from the military to the civilian workforce. I am now running HR programs for many different employees across the United States and cannot be more excited about the opportunities ahead of me.

Now that I am a part of Vector Force Development, and helping transitioning veterans, I have learned that the company was formed with a vision to aid veterans by leveraging the skills and knowledge gained in the military and translating into a career in the private sector. The company’s founder, a veteran himself, observed a critical opportunity for former members to excel in the workplace if given an opportunity. Vector supports partner companies by building up their workforce through the recruitment of military veterans and their spouses.

Working at Vector, we have outlined our top 5 Reasons why adding veterans to your workforce is beneficial to your business:

1. Teamwork | Teamwork is ingrained in service members from the first moment they enter the service. Veterans are the ultimate team players because they understand genuine teamwork grows out a sense of responsibility to one’s colleagues. Veterans were trained to frame their work in terms of how it benefits the teams as well as what role they play in strengthening the teams they are a part of. Effective teamwork is invaluable to the success of any business or industry.

2. Leadership | From the very earliest days of service, the military cultivates leadership skills. Military service imbues a sense of respect for peers and a need to bring people together to achieve common goals. Service members understand followership and to poised for leadership responsibility directly out of the military.

3. Trainable | The military is a learning organization. From basic training to the time of discharge, service members are continuously expected to learn and develop, take initiative, and be accountable. Veterans have learned to take constructive feedback in order to improve and develop. The continuous learning mentality is one of the main differentiators of veteran workers. Organizations who want to enhance their growth mindset can do so by adding veteran workers to their strategy.

4. Decision-making | Servicemen and servicewoman have keen decision-making skills. Often, they are presented with very challenging circumstances whereby they need to react quickly and precisely, adapting to new data in dynamic situations. The ability to pivot as circumstances warrant is a welcomed in any business environment wishing to remain viable and relevant in an ever-changing environment.

5. Diversity | Veterans have learned to work in concert with others without regard to race, gender, ethnic, religious, and economic background. Veterans are better experienced globally, which gives them a higher sensitivity to diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, their experiences can give an organization an edge in a global environment.

Military veterans bring a depth and breadth of identifiable and transferable skills, vetted in real world situations. The skills and attributes they bring forward can pay big dividends to any organization’s productivity.

For more information about how we can help you recruit veterans and their spouses in your place of business, please contact us at 989-418-1134 or services@vectorfd.com.