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Posts Tagged ‘military’

The Oddysey Begins…

February 7, 2012 2 comments

Or am I finally HOME? In a sense, my odyssey began when I left Biloxi Mississippi (Keesler Air Force Base) with a Uhaul and my car and drove 1,953 to Sierra Madre, California. Most of that was on the I-10 freeway. I’d never been through the desert and I was afraid to drive it during the day so I slept during the day and drove at night when I got to Arizona. No cell phone no GPS–this was 1981. Nope–nothing  but a laser focus and a steel determination. I was going to law school–30 +years of not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up were over and I was off to .. grow up! Perhaps needless to say not all my comrades in arms at Keesler wished me well (going from an E4 to a lawyer…)  but I left with an early out (to be able to start the program at school) and a Good Conduct Medal. And a wonderful send off (a party for me on his yacht!) from my terrific Boss, CMSgt Hobart J. Bishop.  “Bishop” to most of us.

I had been accepted into the SCALE program at Southwestern University from of Law, based on my LSAT scores, a few grades from some work on my Masters (in Guam!) and my application essay and interview. My undergrad college did not give grades– it was an experimental sort of college in Vermont. SCALE was also alternative study program– Southwestern’s Conceptual Approach to Legal Education. Two years and a small class (I think we started at maybe 30 students, not off of whom finished) with many creative deviations from the “usual” law school. It was the only school I applied to.  It was a great choice–about which more later.

I also had a mobile home back in Biloxi. It sold just days before I left, leaving me in GREAT shape to start my new life,  One of many such happy accidents which I have had throughout my life.

To be continued…

No, you probably are not an excellent writer…

Sad, but true. I have taught many students– many of them military. Most corpsmen or nurses or radiologists.  They cannot write.  They are deeply concerned about their patients: however, many are non native speakers. They may be potentially terrific employees in the civilian sector–but they have lots of competition and they need to pass the first barrier- GETTING THEIR RESUME READ! (TIP– all the advice you got for free is probably worth what you paid for it.)

Is it “negative” to say many job seekers cannot write well? Probably– but it is no more negative than a correct diagnosis of a patient–if it is accurate. So if you would prefer to skip the job-seeking  step of  knowing your strengths and weaknesses… read no further!

All experts agree, most incoming college students were not skilled writers, even a decade ago. Those seeking degrees in their profession, such as health care, or in, say, IT, do not see a need to write well. (And no one loves slogging through a course that makes them feel stupid, such as composition or–heaven forbid–“critical thinking.”) As a result, those graduating with degrees, even from traditional schools, tend to be poor writers.  (see http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/education/2009/august/What-s-Happening-to-Writing-Skills.html)

Add in the Internet age and the for profit schools.. and you can say with great certainty the “excellent communication skills” requirement in almost every job posting is wishful thinking. (More on what else  employers think that is not realistic in a future blog post.)

Again, the ability to put yourself in  the shoes of the person looking to hire you is of high importance. VERY high. But most people lack this skill. In fact, the skills that produce excellence are not taught in school. And I spent 6 years active and one full year Active Reserve– I know “excellence” is not a part of  military culture. “Close enough for government work”–this was our motto. In fact, definition #4 for “soldier” in Merriam Webster Dictionary is “one who shirks work”.

So, only a few of these military members who are fortunate enough not to be disabled due to combat conditions will be ready to access the exact job that they are a fit for–the the MUTUAL benefit of both employer and employee–and the “consumers” for health care–without some help.