I began my first tour of duty as a 13B cannon crewmember, in Camp Hovey, South Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division, 2/17 Field Artillery battery. As a member of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I served my country as an ammunition team chief with Charlie 3/320 Field Artillery.
I received numerous awards and used my skills to assist in the largest, at that time, Air Assault mission in history. After my military service ended, I began attending college at University of Tennessee-Martin (UTM-Martin). During my senior year, I handed my resume to a Social Security Administration (SSA) recruiter who attended a campus career fair. As an accounting major, I also met with multiple accounting firms and other employers, as I was unsure what career path would serve me best.
At that time, I had no idea that the Social Security Administration is there to help all individuals in need of assistance; I thought that the Social Security Administration was only designed to assist adults. I graduated from UT-Martin with Honors in May 2008 (on a Saturday) and started the following Monday as a Title XVI Social Insurance Specialist with SSA. I selected this agency over multiple accounting jobs due to my personal experience with SSA. The support and compassion showed by this agency after the premature births of my twin sons was phenomenal! These delicate and critical periods in our lives are shaped by memories, from good to bad. This experience, alone, helped me realize that I would rather work for an entity that could help me provide the same compassion and support to individuals rather than helping a large corporation or individual lower their tax liabilities.
I have not regretted my decision to serve my country once again as a federal civilian employee at the Social Security Administration. This agency exudes compassionate, considerateness, and resourcefulness! I’ve been with SSA for a little over 4 years now and I truly enjoy it. My job duties and responsibilities are to interview applicants to determine eligibility for programs that are administered by the SSA, refer individuals to other agencies to aid in finding additional resources to assist in their well-being, and resolving problems associated with individuals who have already been receiving benefits administered by the SSA. I plan on furthering my education and eventually practicing as an attorney for the Social Security Administration and eventually retiring as early as 55 years old.
I’d have to say that my greatest take-aways from employment with the Federal Government are: the ability to spend time with my wife and twin boys due to the flexibility of management; the exceptional benefit programs offered; and the ability to make a positive impact in the lives of citizens who urgently require assistance to help get their lives back on track.
My advice to veteran job seekers is there are a multitude of career opportunities within the federal government. When conducting a job search be sure to research the position and try not to apply to positions based solely on compensation. Instead, assess yourself and find what you are passionate about, have some patience and everything else should fall into place for you. Look for a career NOT a job!!