It’s easy for us non-veterans to view all of those who have served through one lens filtered by patriotism, gratitude, awe, respect and pride. Not that we shouldn’t, as all of those things are rightly earned and due them as they transition into a non-military life. But we do them a disservice if we stop there.
As with any well-defined group, and the military is particularly good at defining things, the label can override the individual beneath it. Every veteran has been changed by their service but in different ways. By understanding the individual and their experience, a prospective employer can help make what can be a tough transition from military to civilian life easier.
A Pew Research study shows 43 percent of all veterans say they had a “very easy” time adjusting to their post-military lives, and 29 percent say re-entry was “somewhat easy.” Different factors contributed to making it easier or harder to transition: level of education, exposure to combat (and knowing someone who was killed in combat jumps that percentage considerably), rank, clarity of their mission, marriage prior to service (curiously, the Pew study found being married while serving reduces the chances of an easy re-entry from 63 percent to 48 percent).
But an additional 21 percent, according to Pew’s survey of 1,853 veterans, say they had a “somewhat difficult” time, and six percent had major problems integrating back into civilian life. While more than seven-in-ten veterans (72 percent) reported they had an easy time adjusting to civilian life, 27 percent said re-entry was difficult for them—a proportion that swells to 44 percent among veterans who served in the ten years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
It is fitting we dedicate this issue to those who have put their lives on the line to protect us. For those of us who haven’t served, we can take some pride in our industry’s record in employing vets, seeing them as the individuals they are and welcoming them as a dynamic addition to the tower industry.
By Jim Fryer, Managing Editor, Inside Towers
November 10, 2017