The Image of a Veteran.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the notion that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image. As we celebrate the millions of service members and their families this Veteran’s day let us remember the unspoken words related to the complexities of serving our great country.

The very first war photographer was an American. While the particular artist’s name has been lost to history, we do know that he was attached to the U.S. forces fighting in the Mexican War in 1846 and 1847. And since then we use images to tell the stories often too hard to articulate in the spoken word.

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Photographer Devin Mitchell, however, created a touching photo project called “The Veteran Art Project” that examines what lies on the other side of the uniform. Using Photoshop, Mitchell has created images of uniformed servicemen and women whose mirrored reflections reveal who they are – and vice versa.

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Mitchell explains, “What viewers get to see is unabashed joy and unrelenting pain. There is pride, diversity, and there are Americans free to be whatever. And while the photos are very different, the format is the same. On one side of the mirror, the veteran is in uniform, on the other is an image the veterans choose themselves.

Too often our attention is captured by the heroic recruiting ‘posters’ and images displaying the glamorous side of the military. These images deflect our attention from the realities of long deployments, loss of life, and increasing cases of PTSD.

In image number 130 Craig Millward, an Army veteran, stands with his wife, Deva. It is a story of love and triumph. In the reflection, Craig is in his uniform leaning over the sink. Deva stands behind him with her hand on his arm, supporting her husband. Unlike most images, Deva, who is not a veteran or active-duty soldier, is in both images.

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“We had a lot stacked up against us,” Deva said. The image’s message, she said, is that they “beat the system.” When Millward returned from deployment to Afghanistan in 2006, his reintegration process was difficult. It was hard to find a stable job, he was diagnosed with PTSD, and the two were newlyweds. But Millward said his wife’s conviction helped him become the man he is today. See their Interview on CBS.

Mitchell’s goal is to take 10,000 images of veterans and active duty service members from across the country.

As we celebrate our military service member heroes we need to appreciate the images that not only celebrate our countries freedoms, but the visual remembers of what was lost after the end of the welcome back parade.

I enlisted when at age 27 and it was one of the best decisions of my life. As Marine Corps enlisted I served as a crew chief on UH-1Ns, and then later became an accounting & communications officer. I am honored to be part of such a great community. And yes, I was a Hollywood Marine. 🇺🇸

The Secret to a MIL to CIV Occupation Crosswalk.

One of the greatest pleasures in my job is to visit with family members of recruits attending basic training. A common question I ask is, “what is your recruit’s MOS?” And the majority of the time, the response is, “I have no idea, but I hope they can get a job when they get out.” They are not alone. When I joined the Marine Corps, I didn’t’ have a clue as to what a MOS stood for, let alone how it might translate to a civilian career.

The journey from Bootcamp to your honorable discharge goes quickly, and the infamous ‘MIL to CIV’ transition can be overwhelming and, more often than not, result in choosing employment that doesn’t match one’s workplace interests, values, and needs.

This article will share the difference between the traditional military-civilian crosswalk based on occupation (job titles), but instead based on one’s interest in specific activities. Regardless if you are a recruit in delayed entry or an active duty member, the journey to your future career starts now. 

The standard guidance for transitioning members is to identify an occupation matching a service member’s MOS, rating, or job specialty.

Although this method might be accurate for some, it may miss the mark for others. All occupations are made up of various attributes, such as types of tasks performed on the job, specific skills required to accomplish tasks, and an engaging environment.

For example, the Marine Corps MOS 0400, Basic Logistics, crosswalks to the civilian Cargo and Freight Agents or Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks occupations. Although you may find a high-paying civilian equivalent position, the job maybe short-lived if you aren’t happy.

Department of Labor, 2019

Instead of comparing job title to job title look instead to the list of tasks related to both occupations. Or better yet, search for related jobs that match the types of activities you enjoy.

You can search by a variety of attributes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 370,000 unemployed veterans in 2017, 59 percent were age 25 to 54. Further, Leo Shane of MilitaryTimes explains, “roughly two-thirds of veterans are likely to leave their first post-military job within two years and 44% within the first year. And the main reasons stem from low job satisfaction, inability to match military skills to civilian, and limited opportunities for advancement” (Shane, 2018).

The key to a smooth transition is not merely to search for jobs matching your curret job title but instead translate the tasks and activities you enjoy performing professionally. 

A quick activity that might help generate some ideas on what you really enjoy doing on the job.

  • Make a list of the daily tasks you perform on the job.
  • Place a checkmark by the ones you genuinely enjoy doing and feel a sense of accomplishment upon completion.
  • Make a second list of activities you would like to do daily on the job. 
  • Finally, compare the two lists.

If you find few checkmarks on list one, you may want to evaluate your job search based on your second list. 


This process may seem overwhelming, and yes, a lot of work. However, evidenced-based assessments prove that the more a person understands their interest, values, and needs, the more likely they are going to find happiness in their job. 

Did you know 21 unique personality needs drive job happiness? Unfortunately, 75% of U.S. workers never discover jobs reinforcing their workplace needs. And guess what. They either quit, get fired, or remain less than content working in an environment offering little engagement.

Finding an occupation that reinforces one’s needs is vital to happiness.

Are you are the type of person that enjoys being productive on the job and seek to utilize your unique abilities? Then I recommend taking our free vocational preference assessments to determine where you fit in the world-of-work.  

Don’t merely settle for the traditional crosswalk based on occupation titles, but instead seek to find opportunities that match your personality and areas of expertise. You might be surprised by the number of employment opportunities that might go unnoticed. 

Tasks and activities drive the true crosswalk from the military to the civilian market. Show me a person that knows what they like to do, and I will show you a person that is happy at work.

Enjoy my free assessments today and a free 30 minute call to discuss your next steps in finding a meaning full career.

What book are you currently reading?

After serving in the military, the initial question they asked me in my first civilian interview was, “what book are you currently reading.” I love the creative ways employers reveal nuggets of talent during interviews, but I would rather tell them about the $800 I made from my most recent garage sale, which yes, included the self-help books sitting in my attic meant to change the trajectory of my career. I want to share some simple growth strategies on identifying a career path matching your interests, values, and needs. And further, increases your workplace engagement and happiness.

Over the past decade, I have worked with thousands of career starters, career changers, and career advancers in developing a ‘go-forward’ strategy for their career journey. And, in every case, my clients claim they know their vocational preferences and all they ‘really need’ is a professional resume. The mythical magic resume that will convince a prospective employer, at first glance, you are the best candidate for the position. Unfortunately, the art of writing an effective resume is more than formatting a page of fancy adjectives describing job tasks one has performed over the past ten years. Instead, a well written professional resume has two audiences in mind. First, the applicant tracking systems (ATS) a resume screening software and second, the human eyes.

As a business coach, certified resume writer, and interview specialists my number one priority is to assist a client in discovering their true vocational preferences and exactly how they fit into the world-of-work. Recent studies reveal that over 75% of workers are not engaged at work. According to Gallop, they define an engaged worker as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.  From a career coach’s perspective, I will add, an engaged worker is also looking for enjoyment and seek to reach goals and actualize talents, skills, and interests.  

Sadly, most job seekers follow the path of least resistance by accepting employment that brings a steady paycheck or provides the security of benefits ignoring their vocational preferences.  As a career development professional, I realize the reality of life and the brutal truth that a person needs a job to pay the bills. And while there is nothing wrong with this decision it must be considered a temporary position leading to an opportunity matching one’s interests, values, and needs. I always encourage my clients, at a minimum, to find transitional employment matching their future aspirations. By doing so one continues to build their work experience in a related occupation field.

  • The first step in engagement is to take validated vocational assessments to identify work preferences and matching occupations.
  • The second step is to refine your professional resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to reflect your preferences.
  • And finally, customize a written and verbal narrative to each employment opportunity.

Attend our free Engage⎮360 Job Profiling workshop and begin to pivot your career journey.

Job profiling is a systematic procedure for gathering, documenting, and analyzing information about the content, context, and requirements for a job. And if done correctly one can identify employment opportunities more closely matching their personal preferences and work readiness. Being work-ready means a person has the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform in a specific job offering immediate value to the employer.

I believe each person has a very specific destiny.  A right to prosper.  And a right to meaningfully participate in the world around them. Achieving one’s dream is not accomplished by simply wishing things would get better, but instead, dreams are discovered by those willing to pivot to a new way of reflecting on their passion.  I have seen small adjustments change a person’s trajectory resulting in exponential advancements, accomplishments, and happiness in the workplace. 

“there can be no darker or more devastating tragedy than the death of man’s faith in himself and in his power to direct his future.” 

I am passionate about supporting the best way to live your life and the journey starts with understanding exactly who you are and how you fit into the world of work. I believe you have the right to utilize your gifts and talents and make the world a better place. You have a right to be fully engaged and making a difference in our world. Can you imagine living the rest of your life knowing you were only one step away from changing the world around you?

Andrew finds his home in Washington DC and enjoys yoga, SoulCycle, and of course career coaching.