Why the Military Produces Great Leaders


By Debbie Gregory.

Bravery in the face of opposition, stalwart leadership, and unyielding ingenuity. While these traits are often used to describe Medal of Honor recipients, they have also been proven to be invaluable traits to succeed in the economic realm.

The American military produces the most innovative and entrepreneurial leaders. Few institutions teach discipline, management, logistics, and efficiency like the U.S. Armed Forces.

Military officers learn to remain calm and think quickly under intense pressure. They are comfortable making command decisions, working in teams, and motivating people. Twenty-six of our 44 presidents were veterans.

These skills translate powerfully to the private sector, particularly business: male military officers are almost three times as likely as other American men to become CEOs.

Examples of senior executives who attribute their leadership skills to their time in uniform include: Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky, Proctor and Gamble’s Robert A. McDonald, Walgreens’ James A. Skinner,  Viacom’s Sumner Redstone and FedEx’s Frederick W. Smith, to name a few.

Founded by Marine Corps Officer Fred Smith, FedEx benefited from Smith’s application of his military logistics know-how to the realm of company.

“Lessons learned during Vietnam played over and over in my mind when we developed the business plan,” Smith said. “If you take care of the folks, treat them right, put good leaders in front of them, communicate with them, set the example, make sure they understand what’s in this for them, make sure they understand the importance of what they’re doing, they’ll provide that service.”

The best leadership—whether in peacetime or war—is borne as a conscientious obligation to serve. Tie selflessness with the adaptive capacity, innovation, and flexibility demanded by dangerous contexts, and one can see the value of military leadership as a model for leaders in the private sector.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Top Ten Tips for Vets to Achieve Successful Civilian Careers


By Debbie Gregory.

Transitioning from the military is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be a little intimidating. In order to help you achieve success, here are some tips to help you navigate your way into your new civilian career:

  1. Deal with issues

You need to demonstrate that you are a team player and are engaged with the company’s needs. Learn the company’s issues and priorities, and how you can contribute to dealing with both.

  1. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Unlike the military, there are no uniforms with rank that reveal someone’s position within the organization. Until you’ve been with an organization for a while and have figured out who is who, treat everyone as if they are the boss.

  1. Don’t rely on military terms

While addressing those at work as “sir” and “ma’am” will set you apart in a good way, it’s important to remember that you need to civilian-ize your speech in order to be understood.

  1. Loosen up a bit

Military customs and courtesies don’t often translate well in the civilian world. Gauge your behavior to your company’s social culture. If it is a bit laid back, your behavior should fit in with that. Rely on your coworkers to educate you.

  1. “Praise in public and punish in private” is still important

In the military, you learned that the best leaders heap praise on their teams in public and choose to go behind closed doors to make corrections. Stay with that, even though sometimes you may see the opposite.

  1. Don’t overshare PTSD or TBI

While your civilian counterparts at your new job may be curious and ask questions about your experiences in the military, a measured response will serve you better than too much detail. This is especially true of the invisible wounds, such as PTSD and TBI. Private information should be shared on a need-to-know basis, or in with those with whom you truly feel comfortable with. Which brings us to the next tip:

  1. Be prepared for off-the-wall questions

There is a large disconnect between veterans and civilians. Most civilians would never intentionally ask rude questions, but should a question come off as rude or ignorant, try to roll with it.

  1. Learn the company’s corporate culture

Corporate culture is comprised of the values, beliefs and attitudes that characterize the company and guide its practices. To some extent, a company’s internal culture may be articulated in its mission statement or vision statement. Learn it. Know it.

  1. Find out how to advance

Build a diversity of relationships and rely on those individuals for honest feedback, advice, insight, and information. Include peers inside and outside the company, higher-ups in your chain of command and in other divisions, someone in your company’s human resources department

  1. Join your company’s veteran affinity group

Take advantage of the camaraderie, assistance and support of your co-workers who have traveled a path similar to yours. If there isn’t one, start one. Your employer will only benefit from the support provided to their veteran employees.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Interview Do’s & Don’ts, and the Questions You Should/Should Not Answer


By Debbie Gregory.

If you’re searching for a veteran job after military service, you may be out of practice when it comes to the job interviewing process. Here are some important tips.


Prepare: Research the people interviewing you, the company, and the job itself. Know what does the company does, the requirements for the job, and how your experience matches those requirements.

Engage: Remember that you are, first and foremost, having a conversation. It’s nerve-wracking and highly formalized, but avoid stock responses. Preparation is a foundation, not a set-in-stone strategy.

Ask the right questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but make sure they are the right questions. For example:  Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare? Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? What are the challenges of this position? What do you like most about working for this company?

Close on a positive: Towards the close of the interview, look the interviewer in the eye and say, “I can do this job, and do it well. I am the type of person who puts 100% effort and energy into my work. What are the next steps?

Do not flinch and wait for an answer. No one likes rejection and they want a candidate who will accept the offer and not reject it.  This might be the most important part of the interview.


Be late: This rule is ironclad. No excuses, no exceptions. Showing up late shows disregard for your potential employer’s time, and insinuates your inability to plan.

Say negative things about your current or past employers or managers: No matter how grounded your complaints are, negative comments will be viewed as disrespectful. When faced with the challenge of talking about former employers, make sure you are prepared with a positive spin on your experiences.

Be Desperate: Never let on that you’re applying just because you need a job. It’s in the best interests of the employer to hire a passionate employee rather than someone who is simply filling a slot.

Show lapses in your professional veneer: The interview begins as soon as you receive notice that they want to interview you. Party pictures on social media? Not a great idea. As soon as you enter the building, make sure you treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Don’t let your professional veneer slip for a moment.

Talk too much: Don’t take too long to answer direct questions. It gives the impression that you can’t get to the point. An even though you’re nervous, try not to over-talk.

Ask the wrong questions: Examples of this would be: How much does the job pay? What are the benefits? What can you tell me about your company? (You should have already done your homework.) How long will it take to get a promotion? Are you flexible on the schedule? Can I work from home?

Give away too much information: Don’t weaken future earning potential by speaking too freely about current income. No matter the official salary range of the position you are interviewing for, your current earnings have an enormous effect on the size of the offer.

You already know your resume set you apart as a candidate of choice to be invited for an interview. Hone your interviewing skills to actually win job offers. Polishing your interviewing skills can mean the difference between getting the job and being a runner-up.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

The Transportation Industry Has Jobs for Military Veterans


By Debbie Gregory.

A career field that military veterans should keep their eyes on is the fast growing transportation industry. According to a recent report done jointly by the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor, there are a multitude of skilled and semi-skilled jobs available in the transportation sector.

Transportation employment includes jobs in industries which transport passengers and cargo via plane, rail, bus, boat, transit system, and other modes of private and public transportation, warehousing and storage for goods, and scenic and sightseeing transportation.

The report ranked the top 10 jobs, based on the projected growth. Coming in at No. 1 is heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. The job requires a commercial driver’s license, and most heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers attend professional truck driving school. The job can require a lot of traveling.

In second place is school bus drivers and special client bus drivers. This job entails transporting students or clients such as the elderly or persons with disabilities.

In the number 3 position are laborers and freight, stock and material movers. These are physically demanding jobs that may require moving materials, feeding materials to machines, cleaning vehicles, etc.

Coming in at number 4 are transit and inner-city bus drivers. These drivers can work regular bus routes, chartered trips or sightseeing tours, and require a commercial driver’s license.

Number 5 are taxi drivers and chauffeurs, although with the advent of driving services such as Uber and Lyft, it is getting harder for taxi drivers to be competitive. Limousines drivers have a slight advantage.

At number 6, highway maintenance workers are responsible for maintaining highways, roads, runways, etc. The job does carry some risk, and the possibility of a lot of night work.

Flight attendants are in the number 7 spot. The upside is the ability to travel. The down side is  the schedule, which could have flight attendants away from home for days at a time.

Construction laborers come in at number 8, and this physically demanding job can also be dangerous, as you work at great heights and in all weather conditions.

Number 9 are bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. These are the people who inspect, repair, and overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine. Most applicants have completed training programs.

Rounding out the top ten are dispatchers, who may work for the police department, fire department or ambulance company.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Guidelines for Obtaining a Security Clearance

security clearance

By Debbie Gregory.

A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information or to restricted areas.

A security clearance alone does not grant an individual access to specific classified materials. Rather, a security clearance means that an individual is eligible for access. In order to gain access to specific classified materials, an individual should also have a demonstrated “need to know” the classified information for his or her position and policy area responsibilities.

There are three levels of security clearances: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret, which correspond to the levels of sensitivity of the information that a cleared individual will be eligible to access.

The process to obtain a security clearance must be initiated by a sponsoring federal agency and is usually paid for by the requesting agency.

The determination of whether the granting or continuing of eligibility for a security clearance is based upon careful consideration of 13 guidelines:

(1) allegiance to the United States; any act , association or sympathy that aims to overthrow the Government of the United States or alter the form of government by unconstitutional means.

(2) foreign influence; potential for foreign influence that could result in the compromise of classified information.

(3) foreign preference; any indication of a preference for a foreign country over the United States.

(4) sexual behavior that involves any criminal offense.

(5) personal conduct; refusing cooperation for any required testing, questioning or paperwork.

(6) financial considerations; financially overextended to be at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds.

(7) alcohol consumption; in excess, which could lead to bad judgement.

(8) drug involvement; could lead to impaired social or occupational functioning.

(9) emotional, mental, and personality disorders;

(10) criminal conduct; creates doubt about a person’s judgment, reliability and trustworthiness.

(11) security violations; raise doubts about an individual’s trustworthiness, willingness, and ability to safeguard classified information.

(12) outside activities; especially those relating to foreign interests


(13) misuse of information technology systems; compromised ability to properly protect classified systems, networks, and information.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

ESGR Week Celebrates Our Nation’s Guard and Reserve Troops


By Debbie Gregory.

August 21st through August 27th has been proclaimed by President Obama as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week.

The president said, “For more than two centuries, brave patriots have given of themselves to secure our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — and in times of both war and peace, members of the National Guard and Reserve have stood ready to don our uniform, answer our Nation’s call, and protect our way of life. This week, we recognize the important role played by the families, employers, and communities of these men and women in ensuring they can step forward and serve our country when they are needed most.”

As the Director of Employer Engagement for California’s ESGR, I see the sacrifices these servicemembers and their families make in order to balance their civilian lives with their commitment to our country’s safety and well-being. I also am privileged to liaise with their outstanding employers, who give their employees the flexibility that enables them to honor this commitment.

The employers who hire our National Guard troops and our Reservists give their employees the support which has been vital to the success, stability, and security of our Nation.

While the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) gives certain rights to uniformed servicemembers and their civilian employers, I have the pleasure of working with the employers who voluntarily sign a statement of support that they will do the right thing by their employees. Their employees do not need to worry about being discriminated against in their employment based on past, present, or future military service.

And that is something we should all honor and celebrate!

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Calling All Veterans for Employment Study

survey says

By Debbie Gregory.

In the past several years, quite a bit of effort has gone into helping veterans successfully transition from service to civilian employment. Hiring commitments from the public sector, the private sector and nonprofits have resulted in improved training and support and have helped reduce the veteran unemployment rate.

Despite this success, a great deal remains unknown about veterans employment. Questions remain, such as: what does a veteran career path look like after the first post-service job? How does veteran retention compare to that of civilians? How do employers view veterans in the workforce? Can we estimate the contributions of veterans to the economy, to make a case for hiring veterans?

It was recently announced that the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has been commissioned to conduct a study and produce a report on veteran employment, retention and economic performance.

CNAS needs volunteers to take part in this study.  Participants will be asked to take three anonymous, online surveys. Contributors will help illuminate how veterans and firms perceive employment and retention issues. If you would like to volunteer for this study, click on the link that pertains to you. Your participation is needed if you are:

  • A Veteran (including anyone who has served in the military, including those who may fall into the other groups)
  • In Human resources (including anyone who works primarily on recruiting, talent acquisition, human resources or related issues)
  • A Business manager/business leader (including anyone who manages personnel, business functions or business units, from first-line supervisors to executives)

Participants may skip questions they do not want to answer. Results from this study will be published in November 2016. Further information and the survey can be found on the CNAS website.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

What Are The Top 10 Paying Jobs?


By Debbie Gregory.

Would it surprise you to learn that attorneys are only in 10th place when it comes to the highest paying jobs in the U.S.?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, based on median annual salaries, the top paying jobs are in the medical field.

After attorneys come the friendly skies. In 9th place, you will find airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers, and 8th place is claimed by air traffic controllers.

While most pilots fly commercially transporting passengers and cargo, 34 percent of pilots work in other areas, including crop dusting, seed distribution, testing aircraft, firefighting and rescuing and evacuating injured persons. Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of air traffic to make certain that planes stay a safe distance apart. Their immediate concern is safety, but controllers also must direct planes efficiently to minimize delays. Some regulate airport traffic through designated airspaces; others regulate airport arrivals and departures.

Next come those on the information super-highway, in 7th place, computer and information systems managers, who implement, plan, coordinate, and direct research on the computer-related activities of their companies.

Most people are familiar with the already mentioned careers, but coming in at number six is one I wasn’t familiar with…natural sciences manager. Those in this position direct research and development projects and oversee the work of life and physical scientists, including agricultural scientists, chemists, biologists, geologists, medical scientists, and physicists.

In 5th place are podiatrists, who work from under the knee to the tip of the toes. Podiatrists treat corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, heel spurs, and arch problems; ankle and foot injuries, deformities, and infections; and foot complaints associated with diabetes and other diseases.

Engineering managers come in fourth, and work with engineers who design and develop machinery, products, systems, and processes.

The chief executive officer (CEO) is the top executive of a company. It’s where the buck stops.  Of course, the CEO of a major corporation probably makes more than the CEO of a small business, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CEOs are in third place.

While you may be surprised to learn that physicians are not in the number one position, they are as close as they can be, coming in at number two. It’s a long road to get there, requiring four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and three to eight years of internship and residency.

So who is in first? The cousin-profession to physicians: dentists and oral surgeons.

We all know what dentists do, but may not be as familiar with oral surgeons. They’re the ones who operate on the mouth, jaws, teeth, gums, neck, and head.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

When Job Hunting, Work Smarter, not Harder

job hunt

By Debbie Gregory.

Whether you are transitioning out of the military and looking for veteran friendly jobs, graduating from school, or simply looking for a new job, there a few steps that you can take that will help you work smarter, not harder.

First of all, you need to do your homework on any prospective employers. One of the best places to begin is on social media. Reach out and ask current and past employees about their experiences with the company. And don’t forget that prospective employers may be doing the same, so be careful what you post on your personal social media pages.

If you have been working with a recruiter, you can ask questions. But exercise caution so that you don’t jeopardize the interview if you say the wrong thing or make them feel like you aren’t serious about the job.

If you’re at the interview stage, you will learn a lot by actually going to the job interview. Remember as much as they are interviewing you, you are also interviewing them to see if they are a good fit for you. Ask the questions you have to ask to know whether it’s where you really want to work. Asking good questions also shows that you are interested in any veteran friendly jobs they have, and that you’re prepared. The answers to those questions should also help you decide whether or not you want to work for the employer.

Try not to ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. You want more information, and people will usually provide that if you ask “open-ended” questions

Important questions to ask include: What can you tell me about this job that isn’t in the description? What’s the day-to-day of the job actually like? What will I be doing, and how many hours are in a typical work week? What is the key to success in this job? Who will I be interacting with and in what capacity? How are performance reviews conducted, and how often? What is the turnover rate?

It’s best not to ask a question that could be answered by a quick visit to the employer’s website or a Google search.

Don’t forget to ask your interviewer questions about themselves, such as how long have you worked here, what do you enjoy most about working here, and to what they attribute their success at the company to.

Finally, make sure you know the final questions to ask: What happens next in your process? When will you be back in touch with me, and how (email, phone call?) When do you expect to make a decision? When do you anticipate the person in this job will start work? Who should I stay in touch with (get name, job title, and contact information)?

Rand Study Reveals Interesting Findings Re: Veteran Unemployment

rand study

By Debbie Gregory.

According to a 15 year RAND study, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are not having as much of a difficult time finding employment as some sources would have the public believe.

There are still many hurdles to overcome, with the study revealing that veterans aged 18 to 24 who have recently separated have struggled to find jobs compared to the same demographic in the civilian population. With that said, part of that statistical information may be due to the fact that this age group is opting to use their education benefits and attend school rather than working full time jobs.

Other post-9/11 veterans do not have a much higher unemployment rate than their civilian counterparts. While the media relies on data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for its reporting, RAND looked at the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, where the sample size is much larger. Utilizing these numbers, the RAND study shows that post-9/11 veteran unemployment is not so different when compared to demographically similar non-veterans.

Also factoring in to the unemployment statistics is the number of veterans who are receiving unemployment benefits. With that said, the RAND study found that the majority of veterans receiving unemployment benefits were reservists returning from mobilization in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The RAND study found that tax credits for hiring veterans, such as the Vow to Hire Heroes Act and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, have had a positive effect on veteran hiring.

So have programs designed to improve veterans’ transition and employment opportunities, such as the 100,000 Jobs Mission, which has exceeded expectations.

Whether you are an employer looking to reach the veteran community with your job openings, an institution of higher learning, or a member of the military, a veteran or a supporter, we hope you will reach out to MilitaryConnection.com.  We are known as “the Go To Site” and have of the most comprehensive online directories of resources and information for our audience.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.