What Does “Meaningful” and “Lucrative” Mean to You?

TL;DR Video: https://youtu.be/kvwJqFHCHmM

One hundred and eighteen thousand.  That’s the number we arrive at using some key Departments of Defense[i] and Labor[ii] numbers and a bit of arithmetic.  And it’s important because it’s the answer to a critical question we ask ourselves at Vets2PM each year; “Of the ‘approximately two hundred thousand men and women that leave military service each year’ for the civilian workforce, i.e., the CIVDIV, how many of them are ranks E6 and above?”.  The question is critical because it turns out that it represents the primary demographic of transitioning military service member and veteran (“veterans”) that we help achieve meaningful, lucrative careers post-service each year.  To the tune of six thousand plus so far in only seven years.  Here’s why…

The majority of these ranks have significant amounts operational, project, and HR management experience.  They spent their uniformed service running shops, armories, DFACs and messes (which is operational, i.e., on-going); planning, resourcing and leading missions and exercises (which is temporary so project managementey);  and taking care of their soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines’ pay, welfare, benefits, and growth.  They have proven operational, project, and HR management experience because of the rank they achieved and the corresponding billets and assignments those ranks place into.

Operational, project, and HR management experience is important work.  Getting things done that the organization needs done is critical to its mission, survival, effectiveness, or profitably.  Doing so means sustaining tasks and efforts (operations), adapting those standing tasks and efforts to changing needs and conditions (projects), all while taking care of the people doing the operational and project work so they can perform.  Therefore, working as an “OPs manager”, or a “project manager”, or a “Human Resources manager” is meaningful, it matters to the manager, the team, the organization, the organization’s constituents, and its market; the five categories employees say give their work meaning.[iii] 

Operational, project, and HR management roles are universally important, so it’s valuable.  Stewarding and shepherding an organization’s scarce resources and essential talent in a unified manner to achieve organizational success cross cuts individual organizational needs and sizes, industries, and even IRS tax statuses such as for-profit, not-for-profit, and nonprofit.  That makes their military experience applicable, which makes it extremely valuable!   Therefore, when veterans translate and certify their military experience into these key roles universally applicable in any organization, they open up many diverse well-paying opportunities.  Operations, project, and HR management opportunities are lucrative because they’re so applicable and meaningful; it’s law of supply and demand.  

Operational, project, and HR management experience are easy to translate and certify!  Since these roles are professional, they have widely accepted professional credentials certifying the certificate holder’s experience.  Independent of organization!  Coca-Cola, Ford, Microsoft, Space X, Space Force, Army, and Navy are all large organizations achieving a specific mission through teams, policies, procedures, payrolls, in dynamic environments.  Therefore, regardless of where one accrued their operational, project, and HR experience, the knowledge, skills, and abilities are the same and thus universally applicable, regardless of which side of the transition bang a veteran is on.  And certifying it with a PMP, ACP, PSM, aPHR, CM, or Sec+ just ices the cake; employers instantly recognize your experience; it’s a collar, sleeve, or chest device substitute, which differentiates you.  Certified experience can make you more competitive.

And frankly, it’s damn important to get right.  Veterans have mattered to their team mates, units, and countries so much that others’ lives literally depended on them.  They knew where they fit, how, and how their contributions mattered.  And they day they leave service?  Well, not so much.  In fact, considering that less than one percent of the population around them ever served, probably not at all.  America doesn’t go to war, they go to malls.  Only her soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines bear that burden.  And research clearly shows that long periods of alienation and unemployment can lead to lower self-esteem, lower self-confidence, which can lead to depression, which can lead to suicide ideation.  It is critical that society reintegrates its warriors back into its workforce post-service so they contribute in a meaningful way.

Work as an operations, project, and HR manager matters to their employees and organizations, which can earn comfortable paychecks in return, and can be easily translated, certified, and transported along ones career.  And helping veterans translate and certify their existing operations, project, and HR management experience helps them, helps Corporate America create competitive advantages, and helps society reintegrate one hundred and eighteen thousand of her citizens back into her workforce that desperately needs them and their contributions. 

Corporate America and veterans, check out www.vets2pm.com to acquire veteran talent or translate and certify your military experience today, and the www.thevpmma.org to donate your time, treasure or talent mentoring veteran and military spouse project managers.


[i] https://dwp.dmdc.osd.mil/dwp/app/dod-data-reports/workforce-reports

[ii] https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets/programs/tap

[iii] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/the-organization-blog/making-work-meaningful-from-the-c-suite-to-the-frontline

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