Published on July 14, 2014
8 Common Traits of Military Personnel That Are Not So Common in the Civilian Workplace: 8 Common Traits of Military Personnel That Are Not So Common in the Civilian Workplace Adapted from blog of Christy Rutherford By Col Mukteshwar Prasad( Retd ) 8 top traits of Veterans: 8 top traits of Veterans As members of the military, we are evaluated annually on certain performance criteria. These traits are simple and basic to service members and most of those we serve with, and sometimes it’s not apparent to us that a large number of non-military people don’t share the same “combined” traits. Military members are conditioned to operate differently than civilians, and these traits can give us a competitive advantage in the job search if we are aware of them. Since they’re common to us, we may not be aware of them, or of how these combined traits set us apart from others. We need to highlight these traits in our interviews, showing the competitive edge we bring and how we can make significant contributions to the company we’re applying to. India by and large has not yet evolved to recognise veterans of values which we have and have to start with biases and struggle to live with our values. 1. Dependability: 1. Dependability Dependability is a key characteristic of veterans and is drilled into us at our entry source. When we say we are going to do something, we’re expected to follow through all the way to the end, whether the task is simple or complex. We are trained to figure it out, or use others to gain necessary input, and only seek guidance from the senior person once we have exhausted all other resources and need their expertise to complete the task. But “simple” to military can be “complex” to others. If an appointment is made two weeks from now, a phone call is not necessary to remind us or re-confirm whether or not the appointment is still valid. We will show up on time at the specified location. If something changes, we will call to let the person know. We won’t just flake and not show without proper notification. 2. Integrity: 2. Integrity It’s a big deal to lie in the military. My favorite saying is “When you lie, people die.” We are taught to take full responsibility for our actions, and if wrong, we would rather suffer the consequences of being wrong than lie and be caught. People outside of the military don’t have as many severe consequences for being untruthful, so a “little white lie” that may seem harmless to others is not so little to us. 3. Decision-Making: 3. Decision-Making Military personnel are conditioned to make decisions quickly. When decision-making in a two-minute time frame determines whether or not someone lives or dies, we are taught to use experience, gut and intuition. There is rarely a time that 100% of the information will be available to make a decision, so we’re taught to use what we have, make the decision and then “make it right.” We aren’t afraid to make decisions and then make corrections along the way if we encounter unforeseen challenges. 4. Looking Out for Others: 4. Looking Out for Others Camaraderie is huge. We uplift the weakest point in the chain because we can’t afford for the chain to be broken. We are all about accomplishing the mission at hand and know that it can’t be done alone — it’s all for one and one for all. Without request, we will step up to help others because we are for the mission and not personal gain. If our colleague looks bad, it’s a negative reflection on the team; and we’re more willing to go the extra mile to help fill in the gap because we feel the weak team member is a direct reflection of our performance. 5. Initiative: 5. Initiative We are conditioned to seek additional tasking, go above and beyond, and complete tasks with haste and minimal guidance or direction from our seniors. If we are clear on the task, we will drive it all the way home and surpass expectations. 6. Tenacity: 6. Tenacity We can be counted on to complete complex tasks. Military members love a good challenge; the more challenging, the better. But “challenging” is relative, as most of our missions require a different mindset and skill set than that of our civilian counterparts. What may take a civilian four months to do can be done in four days by a military member. (Seriously!) Because of this, some veterans have challenges finding mentally stimulating work in the civilian sector, so please choose a job that will challenge you. 7. Professional Presence: 7. Professional Presence Grooming standards are very important to military members. Clean-cut, neat hair, shaven, clothes ironed, shoes polished. We give eye contact when we talk to people, walk with great posture, remain aware of our surroundings and greet others in passing. When we separate, we carry most of these traits with us into our civilian career (with the small exception of the beard, as some men love the idea of growing beards). These are all elements that contribute to a professional appearance and presence. 8. Adaptability: 8. Adaptability Most military members move every two to four years, depending on their rank and desire for upward mobility. We are well-traveled and exposed to different cultures, since living in six different states over a 14-year period is not uncommon. Most civilians don’t move as often or face the uncertainty of which country or state they’ll reside in with five months’ notice. We hope to move to Georgia from Texas, only to find out we got Alaska. While working full-time, we get five months to coordinate how to move a spouse, three kids, two dogs, the entire contents of a four-bedroom house and two cars to a part of the country where we don’t have any friends or family, don’t know if there are good schools and have no leads on employment opportunities for our spouse. It can be nerve-wracking. However, we get it done without fail and make it all work; only to do it all again three years later. We are highly adaptable — and without complaint. Our Value Is Not Only In Our Tangible Achievements: Our Value Is Not Only In Our Tangible Achievements Sometimes military members are nervous about separating from the military because we don’t know how our skills and value convert into the civilian sector. For the most part, we recognize tangible achievements, such as rank, degree(s), certifications or medals we attained, but it’s the attributes that enabled us to achieve these that are important to highlight. These traits can be lost upon us because they’re common in our lives and circles, but they aren’t that common in others. They are not only important to highlight in the interview, but are also key in the job search and in realizing our true value. But are they recognised ? Who is to be blamed? CONCLUSION: CONCLUSION Were you aware of these common traits within you as a veteran? Have you experienced how uncommon they are?