CHICAGO (AP) -- Matthew Saldana proved himself in a world where stress, danger and life-and-death decisions were routine. He served one tour in Iraq and a second in Afghanistan. But the Army veteran is having a harder time back home navigating a calmer but uncertain terrain - the job market.
On this spring day, Saldana is roaming the aisles of a noisy ballroom in the Hilton Chicago at a Hiring Our Heroes job fair. Dressed smartly in red tie and black suit, he clutches a leather folder containing his three-page resume, joining hundreds of other vets looking for opportunity and a paycheck.
"It's frustrating trying to get back on track," the 29-year-old Saldana says, his soft voice barely audible in the din of the crowd. "I always thought if I get out the military, I'd be a step up. That's not what it takes. It's who you know."
Saldana, who left the Army in 2004, hasn't worked full time in 18 months. He's scoured "`help wanted" listings, taken college courses and earned an emergency medical technician certificate. But he finds himself pigeonholed. "What do you come out with having been an artillery man or in the infantry?" he asks. "The best job you can get is security. That's not what I want to do for the rest of my life."
that the main reason she enlisted was that there were no jobs other than WalMart available within 60 miles of where she was born and raised. I found that confirmation of the 'poverty draft' moving in its pathos.
K&R for an important story that deserves more attention.
.. and a few with 8-13 years in get out with the plan of "I'll find something."
I'm a career guy myself but if I ever did get out I can tell you I would damn well have something lined up before that final signature on my paperwork hit.
Transitioning to civilian life is tough but most of the guys I knew who were successful in the Army have been successful on the outside and the low performers were low performers once they got out as well. YMMV...