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The Missing Piece in Veteran Transition: A Mentor

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Active Military
Active Military
Veteran News
Veteran News
September 26, 2018
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Take it from someone who has transitioned and it's been difficult. Only now ten years out of the Marine Corps am I really finding my stride. Maybe I'm a bit slower than the rest, but something that I've noticed has been missing from the transition process is a mentor. I've found that the guidance of someone who is a friend, who has been there before, who has had success, failure...all of the above is one of the most important things for the transition that we don't have.Nothing wrong with any of the non-profit charity organizations that we have trying to find a better way for all of our veterans, but true mentorship is hard to find. You have to have the inherent trust of the person you're mentoring and a proven track record in their eyes at least, of having overcome a lot of the same struggles they are. That's why mentorship is so hard to find.I didn't have it, many of the guys I served alongside didn't have it either. We forged our path all on our own, mistakes, missteps and unhealthy coping mechanisms, we owned them all and got to where we are through pure defiant willpower.But a mentor would have helped a great deal. Someone we knew. Someone we trusted. Someone that had a roadmap, that could guide us through the minefield of the civilian world. Yeah, we know dropping f-bombs is not necessarily appropriate in the workplace, but there are about a million other things that nobody tells you about being in the civilian workforce that you can screw up. Usually, I'd say it's your fault and because it's your fault, you can fix it. That's a life motto I have. If it's my fault then I can make it right. However, in this instance, it isn't. An example you seek, very well. Nobody told you that being honest and blunt is a quick way to get fired. Where you come from being honest and blunt saves lives, so you find it imperative that you continue that modus operandi.Nobody was there to guide you towards being honest and blunt the way corporate America understands and wants you to be. See the point we're driving at?If there was a way, a solid way to pair newly transitioning veterans with other veterans they know, have served with be mentored, I think it would go a long way towards reducing veteran homelessness, veteran suicide, VA difficulties, marital discourse, depression. You name it, I firmly believe that a mentorship program would be one of the most beneficial things to place in a veteran transition program.

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