So recently, when I was marking some hypnotherapy course essays, I cringed when each paper repeated the phrase ‘veterans respond better to a more directed script because they are used to taking orders‘.
Members of the armed forces do ‘take orders’ for good reason. It is also the case however that service personnel are trained to quickly sum up a given situation, one which might be incredibly dangerous, and formulate an appropriate course of action to respond to the circumstances. Situations can range from enemy action to assisting in aid to the civil community and all stops between these two extremes. Innovative problem solving, being flexible and able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances is something service personnel take in their stride. We do not become mindless beings who wait for someone to ‘order’ us about.
The generalisation or misconception of service life is worrying, what if potential employers have this stereotype view? Veterans leave service life with many transferable skills, their problem solving and adaptability under pressure being good examples which many employers would welcome.
Some veterans do however struggle to adapt to life after the military for a whole host of reasons (see my earlier blog). But if the veteran needs some help don’t simply put them into a convenient pigeon hole where you tell them what to do, we are just as ‘unique’ as anyone else and some of us would like other people to be a bit more sensitive rather than make lazy assumptions.
While this is clearly my view it would be good to know if other veterans out there feel they have been stereotyped, perhaps someone may disagree.