Guest Blogger Peter Weddles Talk Job Seeking

Peter Weddles shares this narrative about what General Petraeus can teach civilians when it comes to job hunting. You can visit his website at for more information.


What General Petraeus Can Teach Job Seekers

In 2005, General David Petraeus was an executive in transition.  Having fallen out of favor with the civilian leadership in the Department of Defense, he was reassigned to lead the Army’s mid level leadership school in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  For a combat commander, that wasn’t a lateral move, it was a steep step backwards.  What the General did next, however, provides a rich case study of how to recover from a career setback.

Given his current high regard in both the media and the government, it’s easy to forget that General Petraeus was an outsider looking in just five years ago.  How did he accomplish this extraordinary transformation?  He followed a game plan that every single person who is out of work and feeling out of luck can and should emulate.  It involves just three steps:

  • Reinvigorate your talent
  • Redefine your brand
  • Stay true to your new you.

Let’s take a brief look at each of them.

Reinvigorate Your Talent

General Petraeus had spent his entire career as an infantryman.  He was a proud, old fashioned rifle carrying soldier whose job was to defeat the enemy in close combat.  That’s what he had been trained to do and that’s certainly what he knew how to do best.  It was not, however, what the Army needed for the war in Iraq.  It had won the war with the Iraqi Army, but was losing the insurgency that followed it.

So, what did General Petraeus do?  First, he carefully assessed the situation on the ground in Iraq to determine what the problem was.  Then, he thought through the alternative strategies and determined that the traditional tactics of ground combat had to be replaced with a new kind of counterinsurgency warfare.  Finally, he acquired the knowledge necessary to develop that new strategy and literally wrote the “book”—the Army’s Field Manual—which detailed it.

That’s exactly what those of us in transition need to be doing, as well.  Employers increasingly believe they need new strategies and tactics to win the competition in the global marketplace.  They are no longer looking for people who can accomplish the job the way it used to be done—no matter how well they were able to do it.  What they want, what they need, is someone who can devise new approaches to accomplishing work and is willing to extend their talent so they can deliver those approaches effectively on-the-job.  You don’t have to write a book, but you do have to be credibly able to deliver innovative excellence on-the-job.

Redefine Your Brand

General Petraeus didn’t just develop a new way of war-fighting, he redefined himself as its author and champion.  In other words, he was no longer an old fashioned infantryman, he was the “father of counterinsurgency” and rebuilt his reputation on that theme.  He was tireless in his efforts to explain it to his superiors in the Defense Department, to convert his peers to his point of view and to convince all of them of its potential to turn the tide in Iraq.

A similar campaign is also critical to success for those of us in transition.  Hard as it is to reshape your talent for the new and often confusing needs of the post recession world of work, that’s only half the battle.  Once you’ve accomplished your reinvigoration, you have to convince others that you’re different.  You have to break out of your legacy brand—the old way you described yourself in the workforce—and develop a clear and compelling description of your new persona.

This redefined brand must be accurate, of course, but beyond, that it must set you apart.  It must differentiate you from those who are still offering the traditional strategies and tactics in your field and for the kind of job you seek.  And, it has to portray you as the singular person who both knows how to be a key contributor to the success of an employer and will not flinch from playing that role.

Stay True to Your New You

The journey of General Petraeus from a backwater command in Kansas to the front lines of this nation’s Armed Forces didn’t occur without some difficult twists in the road and a setback *or* two.  He had the courage of his convictions, however, and a fierce determination to succeed.  He fought through the hard times because he believed in himself and what he could do.  While his reinvigorated talent and redefined brand were both essential to his advancement, it was that factor—his character—which ensured his success.

The same is true for those of us in the civilian workplace.  Whether you’ve been shoved out the door and into the job market *or* into a box with no security *or* opportunity, it is who you are on the inside that will determine what happens to you on the outside.  That doesn’t mean the course will be easy *or* without its frustrations, but it does mean there is hope … if you believe enough in yourself to grab hold of it.

Not everyone can lead an army into combat but everyone, every single person, can be a victor even in today’s rough and tumble world of work.  It will require that you teach your talent some new and more powerful ways of contributing and that you reset your brand so that your new capability is recognized by prospective employers.  Those tasks take courage and commitment, to be sure, but their accomplishment is a gift, an affirmation of the indomitable spirit resident in each and all of us.  If you stay true to that limitless personal possibility, you will always end up a winner

Thanks for reading,


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P.S. My new book, The Career Activist Republic, has just been released. Look for it on, at *or* in your local bookstore.

Preventing Suicides in the Military

Although suicides in the military weigh heavily on the shoulders of leaders and the military community, the U.S. Government and military officials have taken long strides to understand suicides and to work to prevent them. The stress of deployment, combat and other factors related to the military are often some of the causes of depression and military suicide.

Suicide rates have risen drastically in the past few years and officials have made it a priority to help soldiers assimilate back into normal society after serving their time with the military. Healing and prevention have become major focuses of post-service life, for soldiers, families and military leaders. Maintaining efforts to reach out to soldiers and their families is crucial, especially as many soldiers are unable to admit they feel depressed *or* simply don’t understand the problem.

According to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, “Suicide is a tragedy that all leaders must address.” Mullen has driven greater focus toward better understanding and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other behavioral health issues associated with military combat and deployment.

The military has utilized the technology available for instant communication as a means to helping service members cope with the stress of deployment. Using Skype, Sight Speed and other online communication programs, soldiers can talk with behavioral health specialists and discuss their feelings, emotions and the issues they are encountering. Military leaders hope that utilizing this route will help ease stress and increase healing. This is just one step being taken to help diminish the larger issue of military suicides.

Healing and prevention are not solely reliant on soldiers *or* behavioral health specialists, though. Family plays a large role in identifying and treating emotional issues. There are a few warning signs that can be noticed when a person feels depressed *or* suicidal.

He *or* she:

  • Cannot think clearly.
  • Cannot sleep, eat *or* work appropriately.
  • Cannot stop the pain.
  • Cannot make decisions.
  • Cannot make the sadness go away.
  • Cannot see any way out of the depression.
  • Cannot see a future without pain.
  • Cannot get anyone’s attention to address the issue.
  • Cannot seem to get *or* maintain control of himself, *or* his emotions.

If you notice any of these symptoms from anyone close to you, there are some tips you can use to help support the person and steer he *or* she away from suicidal thoughts:

  • Be open, direct and honest with the person. Talk with a “matter-of-fact” manner.
  • Be non-judgmental. Avoid talking about the “right *or* wrong” of feelings, emotions *or* suicide itself. Steer away from lecturing about life.
  • Be a great listener. Show compassion and acceptance of the person’s feelings.
  • Offer your interest, support and availability.
  • Refrain from “daring” the person to actually do it.
  • Don’t react negatively *or* shocked.
  • Encourage seeking help and support and do so yourself. Don’t promise secrecy.
  • Seek advice *or* help from professional suicide prevention *or* crisis intervention agencies.
  • Don’t remain inactive. Collect any potentially harmful elements, including guns, large collections of pills.
  • Stay positive, but avoid insincere reassurance.

The Veteran’s Affairs Department has founded a national suicide prevention hotline to help ease the weight of depression and suicidal emotions in service members and veterans. A program from the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA), the hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and service members can talk with trained professional counselors. To access the hotline, call 1-800-273-8255 and press “1”.

For more information on treating combat-related depression, mental health articles, PTSD articles *or* information on military family and spouse support, visit If you are a civilian mental health professional, the Army is seeking to employ nationwide overseas help to make a difference in suicide prevention. Please check out Army Civilian Mental Health openings and the outstanding benefits offered in their ad in the Virtual Job Fair by clicking here.

Newest Jobs on Military Connection

We’re back with another installation of’s job search assistance program! We constantly have jobs available for viewing on our site for all kinds of professions, all over the country. Just register as a job seeker *or* employer to check ‘em out!

  • Physical Therapy, Clinical Specialist, Inpatient/Outpatient-float – Rockville/Takoma Park/Silver Spring, Maryland (Healthcare)
  • Physical Therapy, Outpatient – Silver Spring/Rockville, Maryland (Healthcare)
  • Occupational Therapy, Inpatient/Outpatient-float – Rockville/ Takoma Park/ Silver Spring, Maryland (Healthcare)
  • Occupational Therapy, Inpatient – Rockville, Maryland (Healthcare)

Tip #2: The Follow-Up Call – Many recruiters and job experts stress the importance of a follow-up call after submitting a resume *or* attending an interview for any position. The follow-up call reinforces your interest in the position, your willingness to put forth extra effort in order to obtain it and also solidifies a connection between you and the hiring manager. These days, a hiring manager may find stacks of applicants on her desk for a single position, so following up your resume with a personal call will help plant you in her mind.

Check back next week for even more job opportunities and job search tips! And remember, is here for you, so if you have any questions, comments *or* even success stories about your job search, feel free to share them with us and we’ll help you find the answers *or* simply give you a high five!

Thanks for reading!