National Guard August 2012 : Page 48

LAST WORD Two Masters By Capt. Morgan C. Lerette I HAVE ONLY BEEN in the Massachusetts Army National Guard for a year upon my departure from active duty, but I am beginning to realize why some employers are leery of hiring National Guardsmen. This article intends to explain, from the employer’s point of view, why the desirable attributes of a Guard sol-dier or airman can have negative effects within the civilian workplace. Guardsmen possess a number of qualities that an employer desires—leadership, loyalty, mental toughness, etc. However, it’s often these same attributes that keep our employers from extending to us better employment oppor-tunities or promotions. Let me expound upon this. From the National Guard to Wall Street, the first char-acteristic that any employer seeks in future employees is reliability. Guards-men possess just this attribute, but their employer likely sees it from an alternate paradigm. Many employers don’t hire individu-als on traditional days to work tradi-tional hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (0900-1700 for the military folks). Guard drill weekends certainly causes disruptions for these employers in their scheduling, which forces them to adapt. I posit that most employers are not bothered by this inconvenience as they feel they are “doing their part” to sup-port the soldier, the Guard, and the country by adapting the monthly schedule around drill weekends. They likely feel this is a small price to pay to obtain the desirable at-tributes of a citizen-soldier. However, it is still an inconvenience. Duty and loyalty are two additional remarkable attri-butes possessed by Guardsmen, but here there seems to be a conflict of loyalty between the Guard and to the civilian employer. Guard leadership, in my limited experience, has the latitude to arbitrarily change drill dates and schedule drill on traditional working days (for example, multiple unit training assembly 5s and 6s). This change can have a negative impact upon the employer of the soldier as they lose the reliability of the soldier being at work. Worse, the soldier usually feels a sense of duty and loyalty to adapt their schedule to meet 48 Guardsmen can be amazing civilian employees. It’s our job as leaders to give them and their employers the tools they need to ensure that happens. the needs of his/her Guard unit over the needs of their employer. In this instance we have a juxtaposition of loyalty to one’s Guard unit, and by proxy one’s nation, next to the loyalty to one’s employer, which provides the bulk of the Guardsman’s living wages and benefits. Most soldiers “drive on” or “suck it up” and attend these drills. However, by no fault of their own, it places both the Guardsman and employer in difficult positions. First, the employer must scramble to change schedules and second, the Guardsman may be seen as unreliable. This can have repercussions later when a promotion within the employee’s work place comes available. Would any Army leader want their NCO or officer at the beckon of another employer? Luckily, the solutions are simple. First, Guard leader-ship should make every effort to stick to training sched-ules. Company or battalion com-manders are no different than civilian employers; they do not like to have their schedules changed. Please be cognizant of this as when you change your schedule, it changes those of your soldiers and their employ-ers. Second, create a civilian-employer form that every unit member completes with their employer’s contact informa-tion. Then send these employers regular emails to inform them of scheduled training events and, more importantly, thank them for their support of your soldier. This will go a long way in helping employers maintain consistency in their work schedules and show them their sacrifice is not unnoticed. Finally, when schedules must change, allow soldiers to have the latitude to miss drill weekends without repercus-sions. As I mentioned, Guardsmen rely upon their civilian employers for the bulk of their living wages and benefits. Making them choose between loyalty to the Guard and their civilian employers is unfair and myopic. Guardsmen can be amazing civilian employees. It’s our job as leaders to give them and their employers the tools they need to ensure that happens. The author is a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s101st Engineer Battalion. He can be contacted via magazine@ngaus.org. | Na tional Guard

Last Word

Capt. Morgan C. Lerette

Two Masters<br /> <br /> I HAVE ONLY BEEN in the Massachusetts Army National Guard for a year upon my departure from active duty, but I am beginning to realize why some employers are leery of hiring National Guardsmen.<br /> <br /> This article intends to explain, from the employer’s point of view, why the desirable attributes of a Guard soldier or airman can have negative effects within the civilian workplace.<br /> <br /> Guardsmen possess a number of qualities that an employer desires—leadership, loyalty, mental toughness, etc. However, it’s often these same attributes that keep our employers from extending to us better employment opportunities or promotions.<br /> <br /> Let me expound upon this.<br /> <br /> From the National Guard to Wall Street, the first characteristic that any employer seeks in future employees is reliability. Guardsmen possess just this attribute, but their employer likely sees it from an alternate paradigm.<br /> <br /> Many employers don’t hire individuals on traditional days to work traditional hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (0900-1700 for the military folks). Guard drill weekends certainly causes disruptions for these employers in their scheduling, which forces them to adapt.<br /> <br /> I posit that most employers are not bothered by this inconvenience as they feel they are “doing their part” to support the soldier, the Guard, and the country by adapting the monthly schedule around drill weekends. They likely feel this is a small price to pay to obtain the desirable attributes of a citizen-soldier.<br /> <br /> However, it is still an inconvenience.<br /> <br /> Duty and loyalty are two additional remarkable attributes possessed by Guardsmen, but here there seems to be a conflict of loyalty between the Guard and to the civilian employer.<br /> <br /> Guard leadership, in my limited experience, has the latitude to arbitrarily change drill dates and schedule drill on traditional working days (for example, multiple unit training assembly 5s and 6s).<br /> <br /> This change can have a negative impact upon the employer of the soldier as they lose the reliability of the soldier being at work. Worse, the soldier usually feels a sense of duty and loyalty to adapt their schedule to meet the needs of his/her Guard unit over the needs of their employer.<br /> <br /> In this instance we have a juxtaposition of loyalty to one’s Guard unit, and by proxy one’s nation, next to the loyalty to one’s employer, which provides the bulk of the Guardsman’s living wages and benefits.<br /> <br /> Most soldiers “drive on” or “suck it up” and attend these drills. However, by no fault of their own, it places both the Guardsman and employer in difficult positions.<br /> <br /> First, the employer must scramble to change schedules and second, the Guardsman may be seen as unreliable. This can have repercussions later when a promotion within the employee’s work place comes available. Would any Army leader want their NCO or officer at the beckon of another employer?<br /> <br /> Luckily, the solutions are simple. First, Guard leadership should make every effort to stick to training schedules. Company or battalion commanders are no different than civilian employers; they do not like to have their schedules changed.<br /> <br /> Please be cognizant of this as when you change your schedule, it changes those of your soldiers and their employers.<br /> <br /> Second, create a civilian-employer form that every unit member completes with their employer’s contact information. Then send these employers regular emails to inform them of scheduled training events and, more importantly, thank them for their support of your soldier.<br /> <br /> This will go a long way in helping employers maintain consistency in their work schedules and show them their sacrifice is not unnoticed.<br /> <br /> Finally, when schedules must change, allow soldiers to have the latitude to miss drill weekends without repercussions.<br /> <br /> As I mentioned, Guardsmen rely upon their civilian employers for the bulk of their living wages and benefits. Making them choose between loyalty to the Guard and their civilian employers is unfair and myopic.<br /> <br /> Guardsmen can be amazing civilian employees. It’s our job as leaders to give them and their employers the tools they need to ensure that happens.<br /> <br /> The author is a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s101st Engineer Battalion. He can be contacted via magazine@ngaus.org.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here