My sister visited over the Labor Day weekend and asked me, “What can I do to help support disabled veterans?” She wasn’t asking if she could support an individual veteran, but whether there was anything she could buy that would help disabled veterans as a group. I pointed out that they aren’t after a handout. I don’t know of one veteran I’ve worked with who wouldn’t trade the disability he or she has to contend with on a daily basis in return for a decent job.
As I pointed this out and she went on to say, “I know they must be good workers, because they have to be able to follow orders.” That may sound like a simple thing, but being able to follow directions really can be the deciding factor between a good worker and a poor one.
I remember my mother, a school teacher, as she tried to teach her students things that would help them keep a job as much as the lesson plans she was required to teach. One of her favorite activities was to ask each child to write down the directions for making a peanut and butter and jelly sandwich to take to school for their lunch. Then she’d take the recipes and make the sandwiches in the front of the class exactly as the recipe stated. It was a favorite activity for the children too as they were able to watch what happened when she did not follow their directions correctly!
If the recipe said, “take a piece of bread and put peanut butter on it and jelly and put it in your lunch bag.” She’d take a single slice of bread, put a spoonful of peanut butter on one side, a spoonful of jelly on the other and then she’d stick it in a lunch sack. As it soaked through the bag, she’d say, “Well, class, is this how you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” “No!” they’d scream back at her.” Years later they would come to her and tell her that was one of the best memories they had of their elementary school years.
Knowing how to take orders, follow directions and execute them correctly can be a lifesaver when you’re in a combat situation. In an employee means having someone who is dependable and capable. Veterans know the importance of following orders. They make wonderful workers because they know how to work. That’s one of the bonuses of hiring a veteran. We’ll talk about other benefits next week.