Copyright John T. Reed 2014

A labor Department report released 3/20/14 said what other recents ones also said. Post-9/11 U.S. military vets have a significantly higher unemployment rate than non vets or older vets.

9% down from 9.9% in 2013—civilan unemployment is 7%

Youngest vets age 18-24 have 21.4% unemployment

I remember an Army recruiting commercial not that long go where they said if you enlisted, when you got out and went looking for a job and the interviewer asked if you had any leadership experience, you could smile knowingly and remember the time you led your fire team on a parachute jump out of the back of a Chinook helicopter.

Apparenly, when you did exactly that, the inteviewer showed your smug little overaged adolescent ass the door and said, “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.” Or more likely, since you were a 21-year old vet with no civilian skills or experience, the interviewer had no interest in your leadership ability or experience because guys with no civilian work training or experience do not get put in leadership positions as their first civilian job in a real company that has to make a profit.

Army recruiters told you that BS because they had a quota to fill and they figured that you were so naive and inexperienced that you would believe it. And they were right.

Here’s what your military experience and training means to a civilian recruiter. You have NO relevant training or experience. That means you are an older-than-normal, entry-level applicant who has the beginnings of the bad habits of a government bureaucrat or bottom-level government worker:

• close enough for government work

• go on sick call to avoid work

• quick with a shoulder shrug to avoid responsibility for anything

• used to getting paid for breathing, not for producing any good or service

• used to having every decision made for you from hair cut to clothes to what to do every hour of the day or, if you were a “leader” in the Army

• used to bossing people around just by barking orders at them

The AP story about this quotes Labor Secretary Thomas Perez saying,

Smart businesses recruit veterans because it’s in their self-interest, because they know it’s a sound investment in their bottom line.

Perez never served in the military or had any job other than government jobs. So his implied criticism of the competence of most of the businessmen in America is a bit rich considering he never even operated a kid’s lemonaid stand. He’s is a radical, Ivy League, Harvard Law School, quota hire Democrat political hack who needed the filibuster rule ended to get enough Democrats to vote to confirm him as Labor Secretary.

The data is not in yet but I’m guessing the number of dumb businessmen who changed their minds about hiring young vets because of Perez is zero. That’s the kind of effectiveness we expect from government employees—including former military government employees.

If you want a civilian job at 21, the best way to get one is to get a civilian job at age 18, or a civilian college education. The fact that you were impressed with military vets at age 17 does not mean 30-year old employers will also be impressed with your “war movie” first job. The reason young vets have a hard time getting a job is because many employers are, themselves vets, and know the military is a SNAFU, FUBB, FUBAR, hurry-up-and-wait, Kafkaesque nightmare and they want none of that in their company. Even the vast majority of nonvet employers have experience hiring vets.

With today’s all-volunteer military, the young vets tend to be more immature than their non vet peers, more insecure about their manhood, more socially awkward, and so on. Many, if not most, enlisted to try to take a short cut to respet. You are not the first newyoung vet today’s employers have ever met, and THAT, men, is precisely why you are having trouble getting a job.

Contrast this with the mostly draftee Army of World War II. A great many of them went to college on the GI bill. The professors said they were the best students they ever had.

That’s draftees—randomly-chosen cross section of society—not people who were so immature at age 17 to think it would be cool to get yelled at by sergeants and shot at by third-world insurgents and called a “hero” by draft dodgers starting the first day of basic training.

When I was 17, I entered the U.S. Army by entering West Point where I got yelled at by upperclassmen. My three sons have never had anything to do with the U.S. military. I learned my lesson—now trying to save others from making the same mistake.

By the way, I have not seen any study on it but this applies to a lesser extent to young, former military officers who get out. They are not likely to be unemployed—more likely underemployed compared to their birth-year civilian peers. They often have to stay in longer and just come across to civilian employers as 26-year olds with the civilian job experience of a 21-year old. They know, or suspect, that all that stuff you put on your resume about what you did in the military is hype and bull. You are almost certainly not the first young, former officer they ever hired. And the previous ones had that same BS on their resumes. Probably one of the execs in the company was himself former military and read between the lines of your resume to the non-vet execs and pronounced you a “pig in a poke” with no meaningful experience that would translate to a civilian job.

John T. Reed