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The Mission Critical world (data centers being today’s prominent sector) is rather tight knit, and the folks operating these facilities work extra long hours, close together.  This is a comfort zone for Veterans having trouble transitioning, and those that fear failure in the civilian world.  We (Mission Critical) give them that comradery back, and a support structure to learn the new environment.  Our charge is to erase that fear by showing these Vets that we believe in them.

As it just so happens, Veterans are fiercely loyal when they find something to believe in.  Mission Critical, high-stakes operations can scare and unnerve civilians, but it actually puts Veterans at ease – we only know how to stay cool under pressure.  That’s what you want at your data center in the middle of the night when the gens fire up, or on your manufacturing line when the gear breaks and you’re losing $10,000 a minute as production stops.

Where the Veteran community needs the most help, and where our industry has the ability to make the most impact, is not with the the Soldier using his GI Bill to go to grad school, or with the Sailor already getting calls from recruiters.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s real talent in those groups – folks that can contribute to your success.  The industry needs to reach further – to the edge where Vets are struggling.  We’re a prideful bunch – not comfortable asking for help even when things are getting rough, even when we’re lost and don’t know where to take that next step.  Just because the shirt & tie are missing and the resume is suffering doesn’t mean that the honor, commitment, and passion are no longer inside.

Take a chance, surprise yourself – hire that Vet that doesn’t meet all the checkboxes on your job description: just hire them because you can see the desire in their eyes. Then support them, train them, and share in their pride as you help guide them into a new career.

Written by Tony Rossi an enlisted Veteran of the Navy Nuclear Power Program and an Enterprise Data Center Facility Manager. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter: @TonyRossiMBA

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