G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   Apr 25

Virtual Job Fair   |   Apr 25

Relating to Civilian Co-Workers

Relating to Civilian Co-Workers

Much of the employment assistance for veterans leaving active duty service is based primarily on how to land a civilian job.  There is not much to be said on how to interact within a civilian company once employment has been achieved.

Working cooperatively with your co-workers and supervisors is vital to the success of any organization civilian or military.  If these relationships are poor productivity will be negatively affected.  Here are a few suggestions on relating to civilian co-workers.

Military members enter systematic training and development program that prepares them for the next step in their prospective fields.  Civilian training by comparison can be sporadic with a lot of what is commonly referred to as OJT or on the job training.  Coming from a highly structured training environment into a civilian organization with a sink or swim training style can definitely leave veterans feeling somewhat lost.  It is never the intention of any company to alienate its junior employees but with profit as their main objective formal training programs are rarely considered as necessities.  During a company meeting for managers I asked the head of our technical department about the existence of a formal training doctrine for our technicians.  The question was answered politely with “that is something that we are currently working on”.  Two years later I have not seen any technical training guidelines for our technicians or any employee for that matter.  Civilian supervisors expect their employees to ask questions and train their employees as they see fit.   Your ability to apply common sense solutions and ask questions when necessary are your biggest assets, remember they wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t think you had these abilities to begin with.

Conformity standards like those in the military do not exist in the civilian work force.  Veterans can experience culture shock if never having been exposed to the vastly different personality types that are present within the civilian world.  Dress codes, grooming standards may or may not apply depending on company policies.  Any preconceived notions you may have regarding this type of personal choice should be left up to your immediate supervisor for enforcement.  Most human resources departments will have training for new employees on what is and is not acceptable behavior while on the job.    In the military regulations typically dictate how and when you interact with different departments including what is discussed and even how it is discussed in some instances.   By contrast in the civilian workforce this type of interaction is left up to the individual.  Being able to recognize the need for interaction and having the job knowledge to know what needs to be discussed takes the place of military regulations in the civilian work force.  When dealing with your co-workers make it a point to understand the challenges they face and empathize with their position.  Be approachable and willing to help and you will forge strong long lasting working relationships that will aid you as you move forward in your civilian career.