5 Toxic Stereotypes Of Veterans In The Workplace



Americans today have high regard for veterans. In a recent nationwide survey, civilians considered Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to be more of a "valuable asset" to this country than teachers, colleges and the Supreme Court. It's a far cry from this country's attitude toward the vets of Vietnam, who received no hero's welcome and often hid their service to avoid being on the receiving end of epithets.

But if the returning vet is no longer greeted with scorn, many are still greeted with stereotypes. The unemployment rate for veterans is significantly higher than the national average, and stereotyping by employers is one of the half dozen or so reasons why, according to Nathan Smith, the chief operating officer of Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit that helps veterans find jobs.

More: Veteran's Jobs That Pay Over $60,000

And sure enough, when the Center for a New American Security surveyed representatives from dozens of companies, many said negative stereotypes were one of the challenges associated with hiring veterans. Here are five of the most common stereotypes veterans face on their return:

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Filed under: Homepage For Heroes

Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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Hi Art & Nan

We disagree with the statement on the section: "Ticking Time Bombs". It claims that anger and aggressiveness are rare, that "avoidance, intrusive memories and depression" are the most common symptoms. While the three symptoms (a, i/m, and d) are often present, according to VA mental health professionals anxiety is the defining symptom of PTSD, which is a precursor of anger and aggressiveness.

October 09 2012 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
palmspringslen

They should reinstate the draft for both men and women. With an all-voluntary military you just don't get a representative cross-section of the population. Instead you get a disproportionately larger percentage of social and economically challenged misfits as recruits.

October 09 2012 at 12:35 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to palmspringslen's comment
Hi Art & Nan

Actually, those who are accepted as volunteers for the military are - on average - better educated and more psychologically fit than the general population. Your assumption (and calling them) as "misfits" is elitist and insulting and - it's MY assumption - that you were rejected by the military because you didn't pass either the educational or the mental health test. Maybe both. Your point about reinstating the draft - getting a cross section of the population - is well taken, at least. Perhaps then (as long as there are no deferments), the "children of privilege" will have to do THEIR (active) duty and serve their country, too. Maybe then the Romney "Stepford" sons will have to do more to serve the country than just try to get their father elected!

October 09 2012 at 9:08 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
s2at25

Nice article, Claire. Tell who ever picked the cartoons for the top of the piece that two of the figures are carrying AK's, Russian weapons, and the blue and white horizontal striped tee shirts are typical of Russian Naval Infantry,

October 08 2012 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rtgarton

First as a Vietnam Vet 1966-67 we were treated as baby killers and druggies when we got home. While attending community college on Long Island we even had our Vet,s table because most of the students didnt want anything to do with us. The bottom line is this. We got approximately 225 a month to go to school. If it wasnt for the Vietnam Vet a lot of our proud men and women would not have gotten the much better benefits that we never came close to receiving for education. I am still proud to have served, but still annoyed with big business who still has this notion that we are not worth hiring because our skill set is not transferable. The economy doesnt make it any better. Our Vets deserves the best.

October 08 2012 at 4:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to rtgarton's comment
hawkstalon69

God bless you Rtgarton & welcome home. You're right ! You all deserve much better than what you got when you came home & all Vets deserve the best. Anybody says different can just go suck chit & bark at the moon.

October 08 2012 at 11:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Hi Art & Nan

BRAVO(!) rtgarton!! Thank you for your service in an extremely ill-advised, non congressionally-declared war!!!! Welcome home, soldier! Welcome home!!!!!!! (Cu Chi - 25th - '66-'67)

October 09 2012 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DanJay

When I served 1968-1972, for nearly three of my four years, I had a biochemistry background and I was a technican in a navy biochemistry lab. After my discharge, I allegedly had "veteran preference" for civil service employment. When I applied at places like NIH, I was informed that my laboratory experience was "military, therefore not relevant." That fact that I was doing the same analytical laboratory tests they were doing meant nothing. It was as though there were separate biochemistries for military and civilians. Regardless of what the alleged law said, there were no authorities I could turn to, and veterans had no right to sue the government. I cannot forgive and I will not forget.

October 08 2012 at 4:00 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DanJay's comment
Hi Art & Nan

DanJay, please don't blame the government. It was not THEY who rejected you. It was the NIH and any other civilian company who refused to hire you. You did your duty honorably and it is shameful that civilians and their corporations (who made fortunes off government contracts) treated you so poorly! Welcome home, sailor! Thank you for your service!!!

October 09 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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