Twenty years ago, I joined Lucas Group as a Recruiter after transitioning from the Marine Corps. I’ve written before about my expectations for what working as a Recruiter might provide to me personally. I was excited to start the job, of course. But as a Marine officer, I needed my next vocation to provide a sense of service in civilian life and I was concerned that my time ‘giving back’ to my country and community was concluding. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now, as I celebrate my 20-year anniversary at Lucas group, I’m grateful for the thousands of lives I’ve had the chance to influence and the fulfillment that has brought to my own life.
Throughout my career, I’ve helped men and women who’ve completed their military service as they transition into private-sector careers. My experience—going from having served in the military to being a Recruiter for former members of the military—allows me unique opportunities to connect with the candidates I help place.
I started recruiting in 2000. Since September 2001, the vast majority of candidates I’ve worked with have been combat vets. I’ve had the honor to work with them before, during, and after deployments. These are relationships that sometimes span years—even decades.
I can vividly recall receiving a call from a young infantry officer who had just finished his third deployment within his five-year service obligation from West Point. We had begun planning for his career transition, but he called to let me know that he wouldn’t be leaving that spring as he had expected. He was “stop-lossed,” meaning his service had been extended involuntarily, and he was transferring to a unit that was just getting ready to deploy. I could empathize with this kind of change on a personal level, and I’ve thought about his experience and sacrifice often—four, year-long combat deployments in under six years in the Army.
I’ve prepped officers for interviews while they were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and have had candidates interview within 24 hours of leaving combat zones. I’ve seen the most resilient, most persistent individuals rise to the call of duty and been humbled by their commitment to their country and their careers—all while enjoying helping them plan for their next move.
And my experience as a Military Recruiter hasn’t been limited to the simple back and forth of interviews and job acceptance discussions. I’ve been privy to the good news of countless children being born and the bad news of too many marriages ending (remember “The Surge”?) I’ve led searches that focused on a single city, in one case because my candidate’s child custody agreement meant she would need to relocate to an unfamiliar area so she would be closer to her son. Once in a while, I’ve heard the joy in people’s voices as deployments were cancelled or ended earlier. More often, I’ve noted the business-as-usual way they took the gut-punch of deployments being extended.
One of the most memorable emails I ever received was from a young officer who was paralyzed from the waist down by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq only one month before. He was inquiring about possible jobs for him once his service was complete. The matter-of-fact way he handled unthinkable adversity amazed me. What has left a lasting impression on me these past two decades is that, through it all, no one has complained. Literally, no one. These are uniquely dedicated men and women.
As a Recruiter who specializes in placing Veterans, I’m fortunate to work with some of the most talented individuals that I can think of. They’re like elite athletes who can compete in various environments. They’ve honed their leadership skills during their time in service, but they can just as easily translate their experience to almost any field imaginable.
Some of my earliest relationships are the ones I still consider to be some of my strongest ones. Maybe that’s because I was so ‘green’, but two of the earliest calls in my first few weeks at Lucas Group are people who I continue to stay in contact with today. And two of those early calls have resulted in over $1M in direct or indirect business over my career. Who could have guessed at the time?
As I think about two decades of military recruiting, I can’t help thinking first that I was wrong to worry that my life of service would end after the Marines. I have been blessed to continue to serve other Veterans throughout my career and I’m grateful to have been a part of so many people’s lives. They trusted me at a pivotal point in their lives, and that’s an honor I won’t soon forget or take for granted.
If I have had the honor of serving you as a Recruiter, thank you for letting me be a part of your life. By doing so, you’ve greatly enriched my own.