Veterans’ Assistance: Boots-to-Briefcases

nored06Resume-writing assistance. Aided job searches.  Lists of veteran-friendly employers.  Nope, I don’t do any of those.  Oh, I’m asked pretty frequently.  But it’s simply not my sweet spot, nor of a lot of interest to me.

Seems rather harsh, I’ve been told.

Not really, though.  For starters, there are dozens and dozens of firms out there who specialize in just such services.  Besides, from my perspective, while there is value to providing veterans with such services, I’m better equipped to help out in other ways.

You see, that’s pretty tactical service.  It’s positioning work, getting the veterans to a point where their description of transferrable skills are being honed in a way that speaks the language of the “non-military” work world and pointing a direction in which veterans can look for work.

But you see, while it’s possibly (and maybe, likely) a mass-produced service provision of significant value, it’s not my value proposition.  Let me explain….

thinker1I’ve spent much of my careers working with leaders in all industries, developing their skills, helping them with transitions, raising their self-awareness of their leadership tendencies and matching those with particular organizational settings and cultures.  I stress the word “particular,” because that IS my sweet spot with leaders.  I’m not interested in providing off-the-shelf leadership development or coaching.  My interests and passions lie in the particulars, the contextualized and customized world in which individual leaders operation.

So, too, the coaching I’ve done with veterans over the past several years has focused not on economizing general approaches and monetizing them for the masses.  Again, there’s value to doing some of that.  It’s just not the value that engages me personally.  Nope, the veterans whom I have coached come to me with specific goals…some of which have been focused on transitioning from their military career to a new civilian leadership role.  Others have focused on exploring career avenues outside the mainstream “veteran-friendly” organizations that attract and recruit many talented veterans.  It’s that customized “exploration” that lights my fuse!  That’s what gets me going!

Some have suggested that my approach seems to denigrate the contributions of other professional organizations that have built services, processes, and structures to leverage economies of scale in the area of “veterans’ services.”  Wait, let me reiterate.  I love any organization (or individual) that is providing assistance (of nearly any kind) to the millions of veterans we have in this country.  I’ve partnered with quite a few of these organizations over the years, and I continue to refer individuals to these service providers.  Again, it’s not that I think what they are doing is poor business or exploitative in the least.  It’s simply that it’s not my area of expertise, nor my area of particular interest.

Keeping a Sense of PurposeSo, if you’re involved in a firm that provides employment services to veterans, let’s connect!  Let’s collaborate!  Let’s jointly serve this wonderfully deserving constituency group!  Together, doing those things and providing those services where we each have distinctive expertise, we can help the hundreds of thousands of transitioning veterans ease into the next phase of their working careers.  Let’s make the move from boots-to-briefcases a seamless one together!

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