Veteran’s Perspective: Finding a Company that Values Veterans is the Key to a Successful Transition
By Jackie Jolly, former Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Nationwide
When preparing to transition to civilian life and you are looking for a job or beginning a career, it’s important to identify companies that support and respect the valuable skills you’ve gained from serving in the military.
I’ve been blessed to have great experiences. I enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves when I graduated high school and was deployed for a year to Djibouti, Africa while employed at Nationwide.
Many employers, like Nationwide, offer pay differential and military leave. While I wasn’t guaranteed the same role after deployment, I knew I could do my duty by serving my country and come back to a job with a great company that genuinely cares about their employees.
Nationwide also has dedicated HR specialists who help service members and their managers prepare for leave. It helps when companies have these specialists because it prepares the leader and the team for what’s expected of active reservists or guard members.
Every veteran knows it can be mentally draining to be away from friends and family while you’re deployed. My coworkers were amazing; they would email me and send care packages while I was away. They were then and are now an invaluable part of my community.
Transitioning back into civilian life after a deployment is also tough, but Nationwide’s support made that transition much easier. I returned to my job confident that I would be fully supported – it was seamless.
Employee resource groups are great resources for veterans transitioning to civilian employment. These groups provide an instant connection with other veterans. Nationwide’s Military Associate Resource Group facilitates mentoring relationships to help veterans successfully navigate corporate culture.
Another way companies can help you successfully transition to civilian life is by helping leaders understand how the skills you develop while serving are valuable for their organization. This includes educating hiring managers on military positions/grades and how those fit within their company and demonstrating how a veteran’s skills directly translate to the civilian sector. Nationwide also provides interview guides to help hiring managers interview veteran job candidates.
When I was deployed to Africa, I managed the supply logistics of all our gear, armory and motor pool in support of our mission to protect the base. All of that required attention to detail, an ability to coordinate people and communicate effectively. Those are skills I use every day in my civilian job.
Shortly after I got back, I told my coworker about everything I did while I was deployed. She was in awe of the skills I gained and immediately asked my boss if I could transfer to her group and help with some projects. While working on these projects, I realized that I wanted to build a career in underwriting.
The most important part of making a successful transition is finding a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion. I can always tell by talking to different people on my team and across the company that my military service is respected. Veteran inclusion is a part of Nationwide’s culture. Our On Your Side®