By Liz Claman
For anyone who’s ever started a business, worked in a business or run a business, admit it: At some point in your professional career, you’ve thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be great to cobble together a ‘dream team’ of hyper-aggressive, super-smart people? People who sport the same can-do, never-say-die attitude?"
You just know that if you could put together such a dream team, you’d win. Your company would grow, you’d sell more product, your product would be better and your customers, on balance, would be quite satisfied.
Such a pool of super-employees actually exists right now, right under our noses. They're called veterans.
From the smallest to the biggest jobs, U.S. veterans have proven time and time again that, in general, the training they got to defend the nation translates beautifully to the workplace.
As a journalist, I usually only speak of that which I know. Therefore, I call upon examples of exactly what I believe to be true. Take the case of U.S. Marine Corps Captain James Byler, who lost both his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. After a painful and trying recovery, the wheelchair-bound Byler was immediately hired by a Wall Street trading floor to train and work behind the scenes. Today, he is working on his MBA at NYU.
I know Captain Byler. He is calm, collected, upbeat and focused. These are the very traits every company wants in an employee.
Army Staff Sergeant Aaron Hale was with the Iraq bomb neutralizing team (think of the movie “The Hurt Locker”) when an improvised explosive device blew up while he was working on another bomb. Today, although totally blind, he has been hired to teach the would-be experts in that very same field.
Sgt. Hale has a sense of humor that would best most comics. Self-deprecating and self-assured, he convinced the training center he’s the man for the job … all this while being a father to his three children and a husband to his wife who has cancer.
These are just two examples of the stellar qualities so many U.S. veterans have. The question now becomes, who among all the business leaders out there will actively step up to the plate and hire these men and women who have sacrificed so much? Serving in the military, in and of itself, is not the sole reason any business leader or any CEO should base a hiring decision upon; however, the qualities learned while training to serve and subsequently serving in the military — while often facing extremely pressure — makes many of them perfect candidates for what we know is a different kind of battle: winning in the world of business.