Hire a vet: Edmonds’ Mike Schindler releases second book Oct. 11
There’s a lot of talk these days about how to make America great again. Or, if you prefer, how to keep America great.
Mike Schindler has a simple solution: Hire a veteran.
“Veterans are America’s greatest asset,” said Schindler, founder and CEO of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family Cares. “Every community across the country has their solution.”
Schindler shares success stories, and tips for companies as they consider veterans’ resumes, in “U.S. Veterans in the Workforce,” due in bookstores and online Oct. 11. The book’s subtitle is “Why the 7 Percent Are America’s Greatest Asset,” referring to the number of those in the country who have served.
Schindler said the book, although it will hold the interest of the general reader – it tells stories – is really targeted at human resources directors and college recruiters.
He wants to share a common perception many have of veterans. “When I go to college campuses, I ask people to tell me one word they think of when they hear the word ‘veteran.’ The most common is ‘PTSD’ or ‘wounded.’ ”
Much of that perception, he said, is due to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charitable service organization that serves veterans. It frequently airs commercials focusing on the most debilitated veterans. “It’s a $300 million juggernaut,” he said, “and that’s what people see.”
But Schindler said that less than than 10 percent of veterans leave the military with serious health or psychological issues.
“So we’ve got 85 percent-plus who come out of the military who are highly capable, ready to go, ready to serve, ready to get in. They have tremendous leadership skills, but they face a perception: Does this person have a trigger point? Are they going to blow up on me?”
Schindler writes about difficulties that veterans may go through, especially those who have experienced warfare. He calls it “scar tissue.” But he writes how that “scar tissue” can act as a catalyst for tremendous growth on the job.
“It’s given them something that most of the population has never experienced. It gives them a foundation. They say listen, I can get through this, this is not a big deal. Maybe this book will help change perceptions. That’s the goal.”
Active in veterans issues
Schindler, 46, a member of Edmonds’ Economic Development Commission, is a consultant on military issues who served six years in the Navy. He founded Operation Military Family Cares a decade ago to provide technical products and services to support service members in their transition to and throughout their civilian lives.
He is a workshop speaker who also writes a column called The Military Wire, published by several publications and websites, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In 2011, Schindler published his first book: “Operation Military Family: How Military Families Are Fighting to Preserve Their Marriages.”
Now, he hopes that his latest book can help veterans in their careers.
“Most HR managers don’t know about what veterans can offer,” he said. “They’re grading on what kind of hard skills an individual has as opposed to thinking of the plethora of soft skills that veterans can be trained for. They may want to hire veterans, but have certain perceptions about them.”
Schindler tells the story of a veteran he met at a Nordstrom job fair in Tacoma. He pulled Schindler aside and said he didn’t know where he fit in.
“I’ve been a sniper for 10 years,” he told Schindler. “I sat up on hill. I talked to nobody. I mean, who’s going to hire a sniper?”
Schindler had a ready answer.
“I said, here’s what you need to market: Your high attention to detail, your ability to listen and your observation skills. These are the things employers want.”
Nordstrom hired him. Within three months, Schindler said, he was the No. 1 salesperson in Nordstrom’s shoe department.
“I have to talk to people,” the veteran told Schindler. “ For 10 years I didn’t talk to anybody. Now I have to strike up a conversation. I have to be friendly and observant. I look at what they want and try to match that.”
To order by the publisher, go to goo.gl/mZtglG.