An Army captain, skilled with foreign languages and trained to fly planes carrying personnel and cargo, wouldn’t be believed by most people to be lost in their career path.
But when David Anderson came back from his 2009 deployment to Baghdad, he caught himself going for month-long stretches without a job. One of the biggest problems he faced was translating his wide skill set into something of value for prospective employers.
“I moved to NYC, and I could not find a job for eight months,” he said. “As far as growth in my career, it wasn’t great.”
Before he joined the National Guard, David was a stockbroker who held a degree from Michigan State. As an enlisted soldier he served as a logistical specialist, but eventually the skies called him and he went for flight school in Alabama.
Soon after it was an officer’s commission, but it did not change the constant sting of unemployment for David. His last spate without work led him to join V.E.T.S. after meeting a group of trainees at a conference in Pennsylvania.
“It’s nice to work with veterans,” David said, adding that he enjoys the camaraderie and knows the other team members will be supportive if one person is struggling or having trouble.
David must still fulfill his duties in the Guard as a pilot and commanding officer, and one of his concerns when joining the program was being able to balance his military duties and civilian employment. While some employers are not receptive to those aspects of his life, David said he has found in V.E.T.S. and Sharp Decisions willing partners that understand and appreciate the sacrifices he makes to serve his country.
Since starting with the program, David has already worked on projects as a software analyst. He said that while the work has a sharp learning curve, he is confident in his training and is glad the program exists as a relief to veterans looking for work.