Do you know what life is like after the military? I hope the American people realize the injustices that veterans are experiencing today and care about the future of the military men and women who have served their country. I am a veteran of the armed forces and am proud of the job I did honorably for eight years. I also know the reality of life as a veteran.
First, let’s look at the people who are serving in the military. They are average citizens. The majority grew up with moderate means. Their parents are the “Worker Bees” who spend 40 plus hours a week at regular jobs to support their families. These families are the backbone of our nation. They believe in our Constitution. They support our government. They give 10 percent of their incomes to their local churches. Their children sell Girl Scout cookies and knock on your door at Halloween. They are the ones who call in to vote for the next American Idol. They are in essence what we define as the typical American family.
So, why is it so hard to help our veterans find decent jobs so they can start their own families and continue the process? You may be thinking, “What is he talking about? Our government takes care of the veterans.” Well, you would be surprised to learn that the government does just enough to get by. Yes, they help our injured and provide the GI Bill for college, but most veterans still have to look for other resources to help pay for all their expenses while attending college.
Consider this. You are a soldier who may not have given college much consideration because of the financial strain to your hardworking family. You did not take the necessary college preparatory courses during high school. Instead you took what you needed to finish high school and thought about getting a job at the local factory, where mom or dad was employed.
But perhaps halfway through senior year, you realize you want more than the life of your parents. But you can’t go back to change the choices you have made. What can you do? All of a sudden you see a clean-cut American solider dressed in a shining uniform telling you that the best decision you can make is to join the military. You want to go to college? Don’t worry, the solider tells you. We will pay for your education when you get out.
Problem solved, right? Wrong.
You join the military. You go through psychological hell during boot camp and then off to military school to learn to work on aircraft or whatever. You graduate and head off to wherever your country needs you. You work 12 hours or more daily doing your job and are put in dangerous situations. After you complete your assignment, you can decide to stay in or try a career outside of the military, a civilian job with good benefits.
News flash! Everything you learned in the military doesn’t count on the outside. You have to be retrained in the civilian world. “If I have to go to school again for the same job I have done for years, why don’t I change careers? Why not take full advantage of the GI bill?” you think. Universities jump at the chance to take the military’s money, but you soon learn that college costs more than you have. You have living expenses that aren’t covered. No worries, you are told. You can apply for government loans, and the best part is that you don’t have to pay back the loans until you finish school. Wow, this university really cares about veterans.
But the courses are harder than you expected because you didn’t take the right classes in high school. You call your parents, but they don’t know how to talk to you because they never came close to attending a university. All your family can say is that they are proud of you. You have been taught not to give up, so you continue on, but after a couple of years you find yourself on academic probation. You have failed your one opportunity to change your life.
You decide to put college behind you and look for a job. You call your Veteran job counselor and this man or woman (who hasn’t spent one day in the military) tells you to go to a website and submit your resume. “What? I could have done that on my own,” you tell yourself.
Why don’t they actually help veterans find jobs? Why is the government paying a counselor to send people to a website? Answer, because the counselor showed his or her smarts by not joining the military.
My suggestion: If you aren’t going to stay in until retirement, don’t join! Go to College!