As of today, Memorial Day 2009, a total of 4,987
I know Memorial Day is a day we honor all veterans of all conflicts and I don’t want to diminish the sacrifices that veterans (and their families) have made in all conflicts we have been in; but I am going to focus on generation Y vets today.
I should disclose that having been born in 1959, I am at the tail end of the baby boomer generation.
I do however know a large number of young men and women who are part of generation Y (born 1982 – 1992) who have served, fought, and died in service to our country. These young adults are the age of my children.
I have a blue star banner hanging in my front window with three blue stars on it. Blue star banners are proudly displayed in the windows of service families for their members who are serving in time of conflict. When you see a gold star on the banner, it means that the family member died in service. In my family’s case, I have a son who is in the U.S. Army, a step-daughter who served in the U.S. Navy, and her husband, who is still serving in the U.S. Marines (in fact he wasn’t born an American, but grew up in an affluent Italian family). All of these family members are from generation Y. My son completed one combat tour in
From first hand experience here is what I can tell you about generation Y veterans as potential employees.
– In general, they have very good basic employee characteristics. They have been trained to be on time to work equipped with the proper equipment, to work as a team, to lead, and to follow.
– As a group they tend to be very modest about their accomplishments and just like generations of veterans before, choose not to talk much about their tougher experiences.
– They are trained to take the initiative and improvise as necessary to get the job done.
– They are trained to make split second potentially life changing decisions and on average they make the right ones.
– Many of those who were physically disabled as a result of their service have learned to adapt and lead as close to a normal life as possible. Thanks to modern medicine and rehabilitation, many amputees run marathons and are as physically as strong as they were before they lost a limb. Many of them have more stamina than 10 of their prospective bosses.
– As a group, generation Y vets are loyal. They are loyal to their country, their employers, their coworkers, and their families. They may not believe they will work for the same company their whole life, but most of them will give you 110% and have proven their work ethic during the service of their country.
– There are approximately 2 million American veterans who have been deployed to
I am not suggesting employers should hire generation Y vets as a patriotic act. I am suggesting that as a group, they are very well equipped to enter the general workforce when they leave the service. Nearly all of them have significant technology skills.
I am suggesting generation Y vets can and often make very good employees at a time when the productivity of every employee matters.
There are some tax credits employers can take as a result of hiring veterans who have been discharged within the last five years. See my previous post for the details.
Lastly, if your company does employ any veterans of any conflict, go to them and quietly, personally thank them for their service. It just might make their day.