When last I left off, your intrepid explorer (that’s me) was trying to figure out what to “Occupy” in 2012. You may recall that I challenged myself to "Occupy" something this year. Not occupy as Webster might define it but Occupy as 2011 defined it. To become subsumed by something that I believe in.
The number of replies was overwhelming. Some were whimsical. Harold Bernaert replied that he “will be preventing everybody from occupying me.” Stewart Lenox declared that he hopes “to occupy about 10 to 15% less space via diet and exercise.”
Others were more serious. My old high school chum, Bruce Scottow, suggested that I “always strive to Occupy Fact…. We simply can never have meaningful progress in any field… if we can’t have meaningful dialog. And we can’t have meaningful dialog unless we deal in facts.”
Perhaps the most thoughtful reply came from Professor Leilani Baumanis. Her recommendation: “Occupy your mind with something that will fulfill you and make you the better version of you.… something that will give to the world more than you ever imagine.... Sounds like an impossible dream, I know. But for people who are very capable, only accomplishing impossible dreams will fulfill you.”
She’s right, I thought. I must find something fulfilling that will make me a better version of myself. So… I have decided to Occupy the idea of helping jobless veterans.
It will not be easy. The US Department of Labor estimates that there are already more than 235,000 unemployed veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. When I was discharged from the military, most hiring managers were veterans themselves. Today, most are not. And, they don’t understand the value of a military background.
Military veterans are mission oriented, focused and exact in executing their jobs. What commercial enterprise wouldn’t benefit from more than that? Moreover, Congress and the President have provided a tax break to businesses who hire vets.
So, I have decided to do whatever I can to help. “What can I do?”, you might think. Well, I can do a lot. In the last few years, I have helped a half dozen C-level executives find work. I have spent many years in professional services in S. Florida and I have an extensive network.
By help I don’t mean the usual.. an email or a phone call. I plan to get to know each one of my clients so I can vouch for them. I will reach out to everyone I can think of who will be sympathetic and who might be able to help.
Where will I find the time? I don’t know. Where did I find the time to learn to ski and play golf? What’s more important? Skiing, golf or helping a veteran? The question answers itself.
My first project is Tommy Pearce. Tommy is a Marine Corps veteran who fought in the Battle of Fallujah. He has a background in logistics, a field that easily translates into a civilian job. Tommy worked in a civilian company in that same field until the company went bankrupt. He and his wife have two kids. She is a Miami-Dade County school teacher who was laid off last year. Tommy will do anything to keep a roof over their heads. Do any of you have contacts that might help Tommy and his family?
What about the rest of you? Won’t you join me.
WHO WILL LEAD?