Frequently businesses are hesitant to hire veterans because of misconceptions about the individual’s character, leadership style and a perceived “baggage” that comes with an employee who is a veteran or service member. Below are five common myths and their facts.
Myth 1: Veterans that have a disability require special accommodations
Fact: Many people assume that a disability is visible like a prosthetic leg or blindness, but in reality there are so many disabilities that are unseen like hearing loss, PTSD, depression and even diabetes. A March 2003 Work Trends report found that the vast majority, 73 percent, of employers reported that their workers with disabilities did not require accommodations. Even if special accommodations were to be made, many fear that they will be expensive adjustments, but actually statistics show that 15 percent of accommodations cost nothing and 50 percent cost less than $500. Another way to think about accommodations is that employers give special accommodations to all employees. This may be a flexible work schedule, not making a person with a bad back lift a heavy box or even adjusting the display settings on a monitor to help a person with bad eyesight.
Myth 2: All veterans have PTSD and are unemployable
Fact: In all actuality, many Americans have this disability with no prior military experience. While some estimates show that 11 to 20 percent of service members potentially have PTSD after being deployed, you are looking at a sample of the entire population which estimates that about 8 percent of Americans have had PTSD at some point of their life. Many people don’t disclose having this disability because there is a negative stigma regarding psychological health care. However, the reality of PTSD is the challenge of managing an intense condition caused by traumatic events which change how the brain functions, and in turn how you react to the world. Many people assume that individuals with PTSD are unemployable. Because of this, people who suffer from it refuse to seek care, when in fact seeking care can actually strengthen and protect their career by minimizing the impact of the symptoms on their performance.
Myth 3: Training and deployments interrupt daily workflow
Fact: Often, training doesn’t require any leave of absence from the workplace. They are typically once a month during a weekend and depending on the branch there may be time during the summer. If an active service member is going to be deployed they will have ample notice to allow the workplace to find a replacement for the duration of the deployment if needed.
Myth 4: Military skills don’t translate into the civilian workforce
Fact: It is well known that veterans and service members bring a plethora of skills to the table, but many times employers believe that those skills don’t translate into a civilian job. In addition, people frequently think that if you are in the military you serve in combat, however, many military roles include finance, digital broadcasting and mechanical engineering to name a few. The 300,000 veterans that transition out of military service each year bring these workplace skills with them that could benefit a job within that industry.
Myth 5: Military leadership doesn’t create effective leadership in the civilian workforce
Fact: The assumption is that all military leadership is autocratic meaning a single individual makes all decisions with little input from group members. Contradicting this is the reality that military leadership is characteristic of any demonstrated leadership with qualities including ambition, drive and tenacity, self-confidence, psychological openness, and realism and appetite for learning, but with the addition of respecting rank and obeying orders.