The vets coming home after serving their country will need all the job search help they can get. Nowadays with all the means of communication available it’s easier than ever to make contact, but landing that job is something else. A lot of useful information can be found HERE at monster.com. This is just one resource as the internet has all sorts of job help information for both the vet and those doing the hiring. Welcome home and good luck!
Above is a link to a site by the VA with some job search and interview tips as well as many other useful resources.
Some of my work history
When I got out of the Navy at the end of October 1973, I had a hard time finding work right away. I came home to a wife and child with another child on the way, so my lifestyle was pretty much shaped for me. Sure, even with a family to care for, you’re still sort of restless after 4 years away from civilian life. I can see why a lot of guys that came home without any immediate responsibility fell into some bad habits and lifestyle choices. It’s easier than you may think to do so! By Christmas of ’73 I had run through all my US Savings Bonds I had collected during the last 4 years. I still hadn’t found a job, so to pay the rent and have a christmas I went out and painted scenes on windows for businesses with water based paints for about $25 a pop. That’s a hard way to make a living!
Shortly after New Years ’74 somebody said “Hey, you should go see Mr. Howell down at the state unemployment office.” Mr. Howell was supposedly the “go to” guy for vets at the time here in Vancouver, WA. He got me a swing-shift position at a saw mill over in North Portland. I wasn’t about to turn anything down, so I went for it. It’s the middle of winter and I’m working outside (under cover) running the saw or palletizing the little pieces of alder to be shipped to a furniture company in California. Not the most pleasant work, but I stuck with it. After about a month the night foreman comes into the lunch room during a break and tell us a bunch of us are going to be laid off.
So, it’s back to downtown Vancouver to see Mr Howell again. This is right around the first of February and my son will be born in a few days, so I really need some work. This time he sends me over to the VA hospital here in town to see about an opening they have in the Building Management Department at Barnes Veterans Hospital. I go to meet with them and land a gig in Housekeeping. I had a few wards that I had to take care of as far as cleaning toilets, sinks and floors and picking up their trash. The worst were wards 8 and 10 which were for TB patients. The bathrooms were horrible, but the worst was their “smoke” rooms. The wards had a little room off to the side that was sort of the patients lounge, where they had furniture, tv, magazines, etc. and were allowed to smoke in there. It was the most acrid stench and everything had a sticky yellowish varnish of nicotine on it. It sort of reinforced my decision to quit smoking about a month prior. After several months I was able to move into the Linen division of the Building Management Dept. I spent mornings delivering linen items to the different wards, OR, ER and domiciliary areas. They had discovered that I had some creative talent and started a hospital sign shop and had me take care of that in the afternoons and Saturdays. That fall I enrolled in Clark Community College which was located right across the street from the hospital. My bosses at the hospital were pretty flexible with my hours and let me take daytime classes, night classes and the following summer and school year while continuing to work. I graduated with an AA degree in June 1976. The GI bill was a huge help in financing this!
At the time of graduation, we were also having a brand new home built with financing help from the GI Bill with no down payment and a very low-interest rate. During the last month of my graphic design class the instructor from the printing department came in and said there was an opening at the local newspaper and printing company. I went and applied and got the position of a photo lithographer; a fancy name for a color cutter or color stripper. During the first 4 years of that job I was classified as an apprentice and again got a monthly stipend from the VA for that program. This position allowed me somewhat of a creative outlet working on ads and projects for both the daily paper and mostly the commercial side of the printing. It was a job that for the first 11 years or so I didn’t mind going to, even with many long days of overtime. I felt pretty lucky since I had many friends and acquaintences who dreaded their jobs. The last couple of years of that job were kind of stressful with other BS going on and so after 12 or 13 years I just said “screw it”, I’m going to go work for myself. I started a business creating graphics and animation for video games, corporate and industrial video and movie work. This was at the dawn of the desktop publishing and desktop video revolution when the tools became affordable to work in this medium. I took it on as a personal challenge to leverage this new technology into a creative way to make a living. That was 1988 and I’ve been in this business with DC Graphics ever since.
Moral of the story: When you get out of the service, you’ll most likely NOT find that dream job right away but stick with it, follow your heart and dreams. DO take advantage of the educational help that you are now entitled to. If you’re lucky, you may have been trained in the military in some field that you will WANT to transition to in civilian life. In my case as a radarman, the obvious choice is that you have an edge to get into Air Controller training, but who wants that stress! My DD-214 says my civilian equivalent occupation would be as a Radio Operator. Well, I already knew how to work a radio before I went in.;-) Anyway, you may have to clean a few toilets along the way, but it will be worth it! There’s a saying that is a corny cliche’ but fits in a lot of circumstances. “If you find a job doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!”
Hey Dennis hope u r doing well. Welcome home Dennis. I’m sure glad to hear your stories and hope u continue to write. My name is marv_stover served with Gator Navy from 72-74 our paths probably passed many times on Magsaysay Street. I remember much, and try to take the good with the bad as best I can. Hope mankind can find a better way of solving problems soon. Call if you like 505-681-3616
Excellent advancement. I was especially intrigued by your video game connection. I’d like to share a vision I have about using old computers, smartphones and tablets to help educate people.
You may have heard this story. I cannot say I witnessed it, or that it occurred in any way but generically. Here is the story;
Three PI kids who lived on a remote island would put their school clothes in plastic bags, swim across the water between their island than the island the school was on. They’d bury the clothes on the beach, carry the homework, and swim back after school. One day, a storm came up. The eldest girl was responsible for the youngest male. The storm separated the kids. The littlest was never seen again. The annual cost for a ferry service, to carry all the kids to school? $120USD/year.
My vision? That we offer children’s video games that teach English, math and science, in an entertaining and practical way. Even an Android based tablet could utilize apps for early learning, first aid, communications (Tsunami warnings?), weather. Old android phones would be a cheap place to start. Refurbs would be cheap enough to (literally) hand out. That’s not the mechanism, but it’s a real possibility.
There are possible distribution points through agencies like KIVA or Grameen Bank, through their various field agencies scattered around the world. Don’t know what else to say, except I’ve had good luck working with these field agencies. I’ll be happy to share any results you might find interesting.
OBTW: Looks like I told my story twice on your pages. Some of it’s still pretty fresh, but it’s also mingled with other horrid stuff I’ve seen as an EMT. Feel free to delete whatever’s redundant. I am thankful you posted all this. Unless you’re talking to someone who’d been there, it all sounds like a sailors wet dream. Or some kind of BS story, right out of “Terry and the Pirates”
Great meaningful post-service story. I learned to be an expert “head cleaner” at RD”A” school GLAKES! My first work detail was cleaning the modern, swank (to us) brick and steel RD”B” barracks across the street from my clapboard pre WWII barracks. And yes, that was the primary real-world job training that I received!
Your comments about having a family to support keeping you focused was insightful . . . I didn’t have that focus. . . Always trying to find the “high” I got from the “over-the-top”/outrageous/dangerous shit I did in the military.
Ironic that I am haunted by the good times, not by the torture victims I treated, or the dismember bodies. . .