Posted on Sep 10, 2014
COL Dcs   Intelligence
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I would love to hear from Guradsmen and Reservists about the best and/or worst things your civilian employer did to ensure your success (or failure) upon your return to the workforce after an OEF/OIF deployment.

I am not asking about whether your employer took you out to lunch on your first day back. No, I am wondering whether your employer had a plan for your reintegration upon your return. Did they have a plan for retraining? Did they provide opportunities for professional development? Did they look to capitalize on your personal and professional growth during your deployment? Did they set conditions for your success? Or did they just assume that nothing had changed during your deployment and assume you could simply pick things up where you left off before you deployed?

Any and all comments would be welcome, as it appears companies' practices vary widely on this. Thanks in advance!!
Posted in these groups: Job_fair_logo Civilian CareerRe-integration
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Responses: 6
Capt Brandon Charters
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Great post Sir. I attended an eye opening ESGR signing at the Farmers Insurance HQ in Southern California a few months back. I was really blown away by the stories told there by the previously deployed Guard and Reservist who retuned home and were treated with the highest respect and admiration from all levels of the company. They were given a tremendous amount of support to reintegrate back into the company and also advance their career. I know Lucas Buck, SMSgt Al Schilling, and SPC (Join to see) can attest that the 'Farmers Family' really has taken care of their own and I'm sure they can link you to some of the specific examples of the support they typically give out to deployed members. I look forward to seeing some of the 'best & worst practices' other RP members have seen at other employers. This can be a great learning opportunity for the community.
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COL Dcs   Intelligence
COL (Join to see)
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Brandon & Lucas - Thanks so much for your responses. I think the key is the support for reintegrating the returning servicemember back into the company and advance their career. I returned from Afghanistan six months ago and recently took a straw poll of my National Guard unit. I was fortunate enough to be in a unit with many high-performing individuals, and almost all were disappointed in how their company reintegrated them. I see that not only as a loss for the individual but also a loss for the company. Why wouldn't these companies want to benefit from the tremendous personal growth many of us experience during deployments?

Do you know whether Farmers has a formal policy for reintegrating returning servicemembers, or is it simply based on the kindness and character of the company's leadership?
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Lucas Buck
Lucas Buck
5 y
MAJ Rod Harden can you help us out here? They'd love to hear your story.
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MAJ Rod Harden
MAJ Rod Harden
5 y
Happy to. I departed the Active Army following the Gulf War having served as a Tank Platoon Leader in the 1st ID. Was not sure what I wanted to do as a civilian and then I found Farmers Insurance. I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this organization as my values and ethics from the service aligned with the corporate culture at Farmers (integrity, courage, honesty, selfless service, etc.). Fourteen years later while a Manager at Farmers, I was called to service as a Reservist to OIF/OEF and was deployed to Iraq. Farmers was there for me and my family all the way. My colleagues sent care packages, kept me posted via email on things at work and generally let me know that I was thought of while so far away from home. I came back from deployment and Farmers welcomed me with open arms and got me right back in the fray. It is now year 23 working for Farmers and I am still as passionate about this company and its mission to help others in their time of need as I was when I first started.
"While I am a Farmers employee, my posts are my own and are not statements by or for Farmers"
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CPT Aaron Kletzing
CPT Aaron Kletzing
5 y
MAJ Rod Harden -- thanks for sharing your story...I enjoyed reading it. Sometimes just knowing you are thought of and appreciated can mean the world. "Big Red 1!"
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CMSgt James Nolan
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COL (Join to see) I can speak directly to this as a Guardsman who has deployed on several occasions.

My old boss (former Ranger), in meetings with our entire group would question whether I was doing my current job, or going to be off playing F@CKING Marine, or Air Force or whatever the F@CK. Unbelievable. Especially coming from a veteran.

My new bosses (2001-present) have been exceptionally supportive (one of the two current is a veteran). They have been accommodating, supportive, are in a sense, everything that you would want from an employer. In fact, I was promoted on civilian job, while deployed (did not think that would happen).

It is amazing the difference that support from employers and fellow employees makes (about 2/3 of my fellow employees are vets). When you have support, it makes it so much easier to answer the call.

Upon return from deployments, they helped ensure that everything was done to rectify the endless paperwork that comes along with Government Service.

I cannot say enough good things about how I have been treated by the "current" office, and will forever remember how poorly I was treated by the former.

AND, Loyalty begets Loyalty.
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SGT Aircraft Mechanic
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I worked for a certain big box retailer prior to my last deployment. It wasn't anything concerning the deployment that I had issues with though. It was prior to the deployment.

I had started working there in June and in August I returned to the NG. I had to go to Ft.Eustis for 16 weeks to reclass. Prior to school I was working 37-40 hours/week. After I returned I was only working 20-25 if I was lucky. They hadn't hired anyone new. The faces were all the same. They just gave the 12-20 hrs/week to everyone else.
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