May 28

Real Support

So I’m guessing that when you see someone on Facebook sharing a “Support Our Troops!” meme, you’re thinking, “Yeah. I support our troops.” Maybe when you meet someone in uniform you might thanks them for their service. There are many ways to support our troops and I’m hoping that if you’ve spent time in the work world that you’ll join me in mentoring veterans who are transitioning to the private sector. ACP AdvisorNet (so NOT a catchy name unfortunately) is a social media site for people with professional skills willing to offer real world advice to veterans transitioning to a new career outside the military.

Some of these veterans are looking for advice on interviewing, on starting a small business, on continuing their education. On the site you can throw in your 2 cents by joining others in answering specific questions the veterans are asking. Some are still serving and planning for their release from the military. Others have recently been released and are struggling to get that first job. I hope you will encourage people you know, especially people with HR expertise, to scroll through the site to see if there are any topics on which you might be able to offer some helpful advice.

The site also asks for people to write articles on work-related topics to inspire veterans in their new careers. Here’s the article I posted last night on preparing for an interview.

When we hire a new employee, we ask them to come to the interview with a list of three things they hope to learn from us. This list tells us a lot about the person we’re interviewing. It tells us whether thy are just interested in a paycheck or if they have goals and aspirations. Are they motivated to learn or will they wait around to be given a task? We tack up on the office bulletin board the goals of the person we’ve hired and make a point of pulling them in when we’re working on something related to their list. One new hire was interested in understanding our accounting software while another was interested in how we got our first licensing deal.

I tell each person when I ask for their list, “The least valuable thing you will get from this job is a paycheck. Make the most of it and figure out how to gain the most valuable thing from any job: knowledge to advance your career goals.” Because guess what? Even as the boss I have my own list of things I want to learn to make our business more profitable and more fun. Having a list of goals also helps you get through tedious or repetitive tasks because it’s one thing to say, “Oh well, it’s a paycheck” and another to say, “I’m learning something that will help me advance. This skill will add to my marketability.” That’s invaluable and should be a goal of everyone at any level of an organization.