This post was originally published on LinkedInand written by vice president of Military Affairs at Microsoft Chris Cortez on November 11, 2021.
Honoring the values that make them heroes in and after their military service
Veterans Day is a day for Americans to celebrate members of the U.S. Armed Forces and honor their sacrifice and service to country. We thank veterans and military members still serving for the security and freedom we enjoy today.
As we think about the sacrifices of our military, the high risks they endure, family separations and sacrifices made by family members, we must absolutely show our gratitude to these brave men and women, AND their families. As a family unit, our military community brings much to the cities where they live and the places they work. Our military members come from all over the country and represent a highly diverse segment of our population.
Obstacles as opportunities: where there is a need, there is a way
During deployment, military members are often met with fast moving obstacles where they must think and act quickly. It is with the training they have been given and the resources at hand that they work through sudden challenges.
In private sector careers, veterans apply those same principles. By applying the training they are provided, or skills they already possess, they can quickly assess, analyze, and address any situation, using whatever resources are at hand. When you have veterans on your team, you can count on them to build bridges and find a way to make things happen because of their well-trained mission-oriented perspective.
Trained to lead and to succeed: the incredible workplace impact of veterans’ ‘no man left behind’ mentality
Military service instills a deep sense of teamwork, resourcefulness, and poise in the face of adversity. We require much from our veterans, entrusting them to leadership positions with serious responsibilities at a young age, and require them to professionally mature and thrive while under fire.
In the workplace, veteran teammates demonstrate the same grit and teamwork to overcome the most grueling challenges.
Veterans like Desi Blaney, who transitioned from the Coast Guard to a software engineer role at Xbox, show us how the “stronger together” mentality instilled by military service carries on in future careers. As an MSSA participant training in Cloud Application Development, Desi rallied her cohort to come together and become more powerful as a unit in working through complex concepts and applied training labs, than they were as individual learners.
Defining the core veteran skillset: a continuing spirit of service
Following years and sometimes decades of service, the hard-learned lessons developed while serving in the military are engrained and continue to benefit those fortunate enough to be a veteran’s teammate in any endeavor.
Veterans like —
- Johnny Jones Jr., who uses insights from his own civilian transition to mentor others into tech careers in his own time;
- Rudy Gonzalez, another Marine who leaned on his former career to coach both Desi and Johnny to achieve their potential – and then offer assistance to the next person;
- and Casey Stabler, an Air Force veteran who strives to be the person he needed during his transition to civilian life in his technical skills mentorship of >150 individual veterans with MSSA;
– illustrate the veteran values that permeate any civilian workforce that includes veterans in its ranks.
Above all, to be a veteran of any of the armed forces is to be committed to a mission greater than oneself – and to possess the discipline to honor that commitment day in and day out. If there is someone on your team you trust to be aware of every teammate’s progress, blockers, and needs, there’s a good chance that person is a veteran, was raised by a veteran, or – as our passionate MSSA mentors will tell you – developed their group awareness by working closely with veterans.
While we honor the sacrifice and leadership military veterans provide during their time in military service, today I want to shine a light on the ongoing service that veterans offer long after their active duty ends, and I’d like to encourage people to recognize veterans for the many ways their service makes our lives and organizations safer and healthier.
Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) is a 17-week technical training program that equips veterans and transitioning servicemembers for competitive and exciting careers in tech. To learn more about transitioning to civilian life in an upcoming MSSA cohort, watch a Virtual Brief on the Microsoft Military Affairs YouTube channel or register for a live session by contacting [email protected].
Are you a Microsoft customer who is interested in bringing MSSA grads onto your team? Reach out to the MSSA Corporate Engagement team to learn more about accessing our graduate talent, including opportunities to become a MSSA Hiring Partner.