In the Business News section there’s an item on an API program, “Veterans Energy Pipeline,” which is designed to link up veterans with job opportunities in the oil and gas industry. As that stands now, the API focus appears to stop at the refinery where downstream is concerned. I plan on talking to API a bit and with some other folks in the industry at the upcoming Western Petroleum Marketers Association to see if they can more formally expand their focus. Regardless, the initiative is a good one and the idea is something everybody in the industry should consider.
Currently, the industry is having a hard time filling technician and driver positions. These are well-paying jobs, they tend to be self-directed to a great extent, they offer something new every day and they offer an opportunity to have a nice, “home with the kids” family life. Compared to a great many white-collar jobs (that aren’t really available in the marketplace) they are every bit as financially, mentally and emotionally rewarding. A go-getter with a little bit of marketing education can even take what they learn and start his or her own company and fully live the American dream, if desired. What’s not to like? Having worked both blue collar and white collar jobs, I can personally attest to this.
Unfortunately, there has been so much emphasis on the need for a college education and the implication that if you don’t have a college education you are somehow “second tier” that today’s Millennial’s don’t necessarily appreciate the opportunities that are staring them in the face. The end result is often a college debt load equivalent to the mortgage on a good-sized house combined with a job field devoid of any opportunities for the most exotic “vanity careers” that are often pursued, and a shrinking job market for even the more mainstream white-collar employment.
In a number of discussions with marketers and dealers, it’s also been noted that many Millennials today don’t appreciate a traditional work ethos. Or, they have issues with work stress or initiative. Fair or not, hiring a veteran generally eliminates these concerns. I say generally, because during my time in the military I certainly observed a bunch of solid folk as well as a few folk that were fairly marginal but scraped through the system knowing how to play the bureaucracy. So there are no guarantees.
However, the military does a good job of weeding out the more marginal folk starting with basic training. Your potential hire should have a more-than superior work ethic, be capable of both following direction and taking required initiative, be easy to train and generally familiar with mechanical processes. Occasional long hours, unexpected disruptions, and mild hardships (i.e. reality)—piece of cake.
Oh, and the Hollywood image of “damaged” veterans that filled so many movies of the 1970s (and sadly a few from the 2000s as well)… Vietnam veterans, Desert Storm Veterans and the veterans of the current Middle East conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have a real-world history overwhelmingly at odds with such stereotypes. Hire each one as an individual just as you would with a non-veteran.
Consider the above when a veteran seeks you out for employment, and perhaps even consider seeking out veterans when you’re looking to fill a new position.