I joined the Marine Corps in July of 2002, a full year before finishing high school. For me, the biggest challenge after transitioning from the Marines to civilian life was finding work. I was close to graduation (finishing my MBA), and I didn’t have interviews. Then I started having that dread, thinking, am I going to be unemployed?
At that point I was really, really desperate so I thought, you know what, I’m going to try anything. There was this program at Fordham University called Edge4Vets. That’s where I met Martha Jackson from Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey. What I remember the most is one question that she asked me: “Do you feel like you’re a veteran?” Nobody had ever asked me that before. It almost didn’t register.
Later, I went to Martha’s office and again she looked at my résumé. We talked about where I wanted to work. She had a list of contacts at different banks and she said, “These are people that you can meet. It’s not a promise of a job, it’s more about opening the door.” That was incredible, you were able to just meet and actually see if it was a place you would like to work before you actually applied.
I ended up working with Standard Chartered, and I loved the place. From the moment I met them, I realized that they were looking at me and not this person who has a military background that might be a problem. They looked at me like I had skills that they could use on their team. The company is truly military-friendly, and that explains why they work with Goodwill to bring in people that have these skills. It has been incredible for me.
This interview was recorded as part of the Military Voices Initiative with StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. The original recording was produced by Cristina Kim and transcribed by Daniel Sitts.