In essence this blog was created to discusses the current issues facing our service members who are exiting the military and about to enter the civilian workforce. From the obvious issues like the current economy I also want to look at some factors that my not be so obvious to why service members would have a hard time entering into a new career. In today’s post I’m going to look at post deployment stress and how that can effect you from getting a job and how it can negatively effect your physical and mental health.
When returning home from deployment everyone on some level is going to experience post deployment stress, it’s just the nature of the lifestyle. But what separates a healthy soldier from one who becomes a mental casualty is how they manage that stress within the first few weeks of being home. Most friend of mine that come home from deployment are usually rush into attending huge gathering either something low key like a BBQ or something a little more chaotic like bar hopping with friends. Whatever the event is there are usually people there who want to know about your experience and having to relive some of those events can be emotional and stressful.
My advise to you would be to set boundaries in your mind about what is okay to share and what you would rather keep to yourself. It’s okay to not want to answer some questions, If they really are your friends and care about you they’ll understand. Also be open to other peoples views and opinions about the current wars. Listen to what they have to saw and then calmly reply about what you saw. To be honest the media has done a horrible job covering the war so give your peers some slack for misguided views.
If you do find yourself under a lot of stress there are many health ways to release the stress build up. One of my favorite ways to unwind is to do my usual workout routine and then to top it off I do some bikram yoga. I know a lot of guys may be resistant to yoga but let me tell you that it can be physically demanding if you put in the effort and also its a great way to just be with your thought for an hour and almost put yourself in a meditative state. If working out or sports doesn’t seem appealing to you then take up a hobby or something that you enjoy doing in your spare time. If all else fails and your still feeling stressed reach out for help. They are plenty of DoD resources out there for you to tap into and if you feel weird talking to a stranger reach out to any of your bothers or sister in arms. They know what you will be going through and are just as good as any resource to get help from.
About six months ago I was in a morning staff brief that my unit holds daily and we were notified about some major changes that where going to take place within the year. One of these changes was the massive consolidation of our troops in both the Army and the Marines. I know that for the Army they were projecting that over 20% of our troops were going to be released from their service. The majority of them would be the enlisted and NCOs with maybe 5% being Officers.
My first thought when I heard this was, how are they going to make a living outside of the Army. For many of the enlisted and NCOs that joined after 9/11 they come into the Army right after high school. This means they probably have little to no experience working a civilian job.
Now looking back a few years to March 18, 2010, President Obama signed the new Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) into law. This federal legislation created brand-new tax breaks for hiring and retaining unemployed workers “veterans”. Under the HIRE Act (2010), an employer is effectively excused from paying its share of the 6.2 percent tax on wages received by qualified employees.
President Obama signing the HIRE Act
When they say qualified employees they really meant veterans. In the bill, the 6.2% tax break was for hiring and qualified veteran. President Obama saw the trend that was happening when we’ve sent a whole generation to fight two wars back to back within a decade and made a positive step in helping the reintegration process for our veterans. This act ended at the beginning of 2011 and we haven’t seen anything like it since. We need to give American companies more incentives to hire our fighting men and women who would be a valuable assett to any company if given the chance to perform.
The other day I was looking on my desktop at my industry new feed and I spotted a story about the alarming number of startup businesses that the Department of Veterans Affairs are rejecting to certify. At its core the Department of Veterans Affairs are supposed to be the resource that helps veterans get back on their feet after exiting the military but with their high rejection rate of applications and the numerous complaints from would be veteran business owners its forced Congress to take a deeper look into the issues.
Congress found out that over two thirds of the 7,200 companies seeking status as being owned by veterans have been turned down by the Department of Veteran Affairs. This high rate of turn downs obviously has a negative effect on the veterans who have worked hard to start a business in this tough economy. When an investigation was done to see why exactly these business owners had been turned down they found out that in some cases applications we rejected solely based on suspicion that the applicants didn’t have the documentation to qualify them but they never dug deeper to gain evidence to back up their suspicion.
Even if the application made it pass the initial screening stage it was discovered that the process was too aggressive and that there was no consistent process in place to evaluate the applications further and that it was basically luck if you made it through all the screening and received certification. The Department of Veterans Affairs said their process is aggressive do to numerous frauds that happened in recent months.
Whatever the case may be for the current system in place, it is obvious that they are neglecting the people the department was founded to serve. With all the recent lawsuits filed against them there is hope that the system will be revamped and more veterans will have the opportunity to grow their business.