Veterans Program Specialist
Jose Lopez, Veterans Services Program Specialist
My name is Jose Lopez and I would consider this my success story. First let me give a brief history on my background to understand the significance of my journey. I grew up in the mean streets of Bronx, NY in the 1980's. At that time, the Bronx could have been compared to something you would see in a 3rd world country, surrounded by broken down abandoned buildings, drugs and violence.While growing up I always thought to myself that this is where I will be for the rest of my life (that is if I lived long enough to see it). I would have never thought that I would ever work for the Federal Government. When I finally got to a certain age, I discovered a way for me to leave NYC, just like the kid in the movie "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory", I had received a golden ticket. There were other opportunities or options, but the only option I chose changed my life forever. I had randomly bumped into a U.S. Army recruiter which had asked me at the time if I wanted to serve my country. He went on by saying that by doing so I would receive funding for college, I would get to travel around the world, and that I would be part of something that was bigger than myself. At that moment I thought back to when I was kid playing with broken G.I. Joe toys that that other kids passed down to me. I grew up in poverty and did not have toys like other normal children. Back to my story, I had always dreamed what it would be like to be a soldier, to be a G.I. Joe. One thing led to another and there I was raising my right hand. I served roughly 8 years in the military (6 years Active Duty and the remainder in National Guard).
After transitioning out of the military I applied to many Federal jobs, but was never considered. I had no experience in the Federal Government and I had no college degree at the time. Years had passed, and while working in the civilian sector, I finally received my MBA in Finance and decided to apply for several positions within the Federal Government. Just when I thought I was never going to receive a phone call or let alone an offer, then a Eureka moment. I had finally got the opportunity I was looking for; I had received a phone call, and in my opinion, the most awesome "Best Place to Work" within the Federal Government. They interviewed me for the position that I had recently applied for under the Pathways /Recent graduates program within the Office of Personnel Management as a Veterans Services Program Specialist. I took into consideration that I had to compete with hundreds of other Veterans and only one was chosen.
In conclusion, never doubt yourself as a Veteran when applying for a job with the Federal Government. We must remember that thousands of Veterans are also applying for the same positions. We need to be patient and not get discouraged. As I stated, while I was growing up, I felt that I would never amount to anything because of what statistics had showed, for someone like me. But the military invested in and believed in me and what I could offer. My fellow Veterans, when we served, the military invested numerous amounts of funds to train and develop us. We have the knowledge, discipline, work ethic, respect, skills, training, education, duty, teamwork and leadership needed to work in multi-cultural environments within the Federal Government. So the Federal Government is seeking to hire qualified veterans that want to continue to serve their country within the Federal service. I am proud that I was not part of the statistics and I will continue to serve my country within the Federal Government.