CJ Logistics’ military veterans reflect on the challenges and benefits of their service

cj logistics america, transportation, CJL Transportation, 3pl, veterans day, fireside chat

During CJ Logistics’ Veterans Fireside Chat, CJL military veterans talked about the challenges of transitioning from military service to civilian work, how skills and experiences from military service prove to be valuable and influence their approach to work in civilian life, and much more…

Below are some of their observations, plus lists of resources for veterans:

Senior Manager, Transportation Continuous Improvement
US Marines
Before I went in the Marines I came from a disadvantaged situation; I went into the Marines mostly to keep from living on the streets. They teach you a lot and you do a lot, but they don’t really prepare you to go back into society. There are a lot of soft skills you learn that you don’t really appreciate, like taking care of inventories, quality control, management of the troops. They don’t teach you how to transfer those into the civilian world onto a resume, for example. It took a while before I realized those skills were useful.

Director, Transportation Operations
US Navy, US Navy Reserve, US Air Force Reserve, US Air Force
The philosophy of challenging people, giving them opportunities to challenge themselves and work out of their normal routine or workflow, has followed me into the civilian world. I was given that opportunity and I took advantage of it. When I was in the Navy, I had two really good mentors who challenged me to move up through different qualifications on the ship. I became one of the lowest ranking machinists, mate of the watch, overseeing the entire engine room. I think that it’s very important to listen to the people who work around you, hear what their interests are, and observe what their strengths are and take advantage of those strengths.

Specialist, Accounting
US Navy, US Navy Reserve
When I got out, I went back to school, and I was grateful for the help of the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD). Our transition getting out is difficult. But I think while we are in we learn a lot. We learn that we know how to handle things. We know how to multitask. When we’re in the middle of the ocean, we just have each other. Yes, we liked our jobs but that doesn’t mean we only did that. So, in the civilian world, I have always been open minded about learning more, and I be like ‘oh, show me that.’ I want to know because I want to know how I can fix it, and what I can get out of it. I guess in the military it would show us how what’s made us go extra.

Manager, Enterprise Endpoint Solutions
US Navy
When I went into the service, I wanted to fly, and they said you can’t fly if you don’t have a degree, but I found my way to become an air crewman. I was told that there are no transferable skills to civilian life, but I said that’s the route I want to go so I did. At the end of 1988, there was little or no training for going into civilian life, but I had been making sure I was preparing myself, saving money. I had a great job operating computers onboard a helicopter – I got to hang out the door of a helicopter like a dog sticks his head out the window. What this experience did for me was make me realize that I wanted to move into technology because you knew technology was growing. I realized to get into technology I had to go to school so I worked my way through school. One thing I found is get your foot in the door, and once you get your foot in the door you work your way up, whether it’s a different job or the next step.

Group General Manager, Transportation
US Navy
I was a Boatswain’s Mate, and so I worked in the deck department which handles the anchors and the boats and all those fun things like painting ships. My first Boatswain gave me probably one of the best life advice tips that you could give. He said ‘you’re gonna get a hundred percent of what you don’t ask for. If you don’t ask for an opportunity, you’re never gonna get it.’ And I took that to heart. I was a Boatswain’s Mate, but I did supply. I did firefighting. (Everybody in the Navy is a firefighter; you’re trained to do that.) I worked in the ship’s print office for a little while, did a lot of different jobs because I wasn’t satisfied with just knowing one thing. It’s helped me throughout my career.

Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Military One Source

National Resource Directory

US Department of Veterans Affairs

A Soldier’s Journey Home

Illinois Veterans Grant (IVG)

Harper College Veterans Services, Center for Veteran and Military-Connected Students, Palatine, IL

American Legion Post 36, Des Plaines, IL

The [logistics center] team has always gone above & beyond in ensuring our ability to service our customers comes first. The team has always far exceeded the expectations of partnership between our companies.