Human resource is a diverse area impregnated with a lot of challenges especially if you are working in the military. Besides dealing with the normal issues that other human resource managers go through in civilian companies, there are additional challenges that come with the management of veterans. These challenges are a result of the involvement in the war, which had numerous psychological, mental and psychosocial effects to the clients I managed. Moreover, managing human resources in a battlefield is not the kind of job anyone would wish to take up. However, the fact that I could help the veterans maneuver their challenges has what motivated me as a human resource manager. As a result, I pride in helping other people through their challenges to realize their full potential.
When I first enrolled in the military as a human resource manager 22 years ago, I thought the job was going to be fun. My first deployment was in Afghanistan where, as a superintendent officer, I oversaw the overall welfare and well-being of the veterans. I could receive many issues relating to war or physical and sexual violence by veterans. Most of the issues were targeted to female veterans or veterans from minority groups. The effects of war, coupled with these other issues resulted in physical, psychological and psychosocial effects of the victims. The physical effects of war were particularly challenging, as they contributed to the physical, psychological and mental trauma. Some of my clients experienced disability, in which they lost important body parts.
I had to intervene to help these clients deal with the issues at hand. At first, the veterans were in a state of denial, always hiding their emotional outburst behind their uniforms and military caps. I think the rigorous training they get before deployment makes them feel this way. This is because, in the event of war, they witness a lot of people dying; their colleagues, as well as those from the enemy camp. Furthermore, their nature of work as servicemen and women require that they be brave at all times- even in the face shooting. As a result, working to help these veterans come to the reality facing them is a daunting and laborious task. It needs a lot of patience, understanding, diligence, and commitment, to make them open up about the issues they are facing. With continued interaction and trust building, I managed to help most of the veterans on the battlefield. In the process of helping them, I realized that some confided to their friends about how I helped them overcome certain issues they were facing. Afterward, the number of those coming for help greatly increased.
The veterans in Iraq and Bosnia experienced similar mental and psychosocial effects similar to the Afghan veterans. Iraq had similar nuances to Afghanistan. This may be reflected in the similar war patterns and geographical proximity between Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the War in Bosnia was slightly different. This is probably because the Bosnia war was more of a territorial war and involved drew many international combatants than the Iraq or Afghanistan war, which was fought on account of terrorism and involved fewer international combatants. As a result of dealing with veterans from the three different war periods, I have gained a lot of experience in helping people with physical, mental and psychosocial disturbances.
In the process of my professional accomplishments, I met several challenges. Firstly, the environment was very demanding, and the standards of living were quite low. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the desert conditions of the two countries was a huge impediment. Some veterans gave up the hope of ever meeting their families; others had resigned from their social roles because of the physical disabilities they sustained during the war. As a result, they became wholly demoralized. While attempting to help them, one veteran blatantly told me that I should have been in the forefront fighting the enemy instead of pretending to help. I took the sentiments subtly since I understood the psychological and emotional effects of the war. What was demoralizing was the fact some veterans actively refused to be helped and threatened to shoot if anyone came closer. In numerous occasions, we were stained by the lack of supplies, which exacerbated the lack of morale to carry on with the fighting process. These challenges formed an important learning point in my life since I got invaluable insights on human behavior.
My wealth of experience in managing veterans advanced my professional skills a great deal. Because of my passionate nature in helping veterans and others in similar positions, I was hired by the Louisiana Workforce Commission as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist/Trainer/Developer after retirement from the military. My main responsibility is to train DVOPs to help veterans with a significant barrier to employment obtain employment through counseling; resume writing, and other various tools. I hope that my new job as a DVOP trainer will help me advance my caring philosophy.