Iraq War Veteran Finds that the
Highly Qualified Need Not Apply

(Page 2 of 4)

And that part, the part about re-planning my life each morning, is especially worrisome and frustrating. I look at all the stuff in my room, at the things that I acquired from all over the world—Alpine cow bells from Switzerland, cannibal pitch forks from the South Pacific, a piece of barbed wire fence from the Korean demilitarized zone—and it reminds me of my military experience. I remember that it was the application of my talents, skills, and motivation in my former professional life that got me to those far off places. Now, despite my best efforts, here in my own country, I can’t get a human being to so much as talk to me about the possibility of a decent job.

During the long lulls between networking events and the very rare interview, I spend entire days chained to the computer, checking job listings, churning out cover letters and resumes, and e-mailing them into the void.

I look out the Bay windows of my room at the spectacular view of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood and downtown financial district, and I get real sad that I’m not able to fully enjoy everything that a wonderful city like this has to offer because I don’t have a job to go to. Without work, I feel I don’t have a purpose, and I don’t fit into my country’s normal society.

Being brand new to this city, and brand new to civilian life, networking opportunities are still far and few between for me. During the long lulls between networking events and the very rare interview, I spend entire days chained to the computer, checking job listings, churning out cover letters and resumes, and e-mailing them into the void.

The more time I spend at the computer with no tangible results, the more isolated I feel and the more the despair grows. I lay in bed longer every morning. Every day, I slither rather than spring out of bed, dreading the day’s fruitless job search, rejections and non-responses. For my own sanity, I was looking for a productive excuse to get out of the house, and volunteering seemed like a great way to do it.

The particular non-profit that I approached was providing consulting services to other community organizations that needed help getting started or expanding their operations. I saw two projects that I would be a good fit for.

The first project involved helping an organization grow as it took on more mission areas. The non-profit needed a volunteer who could interview an organization’s employees and find out what other resources—people, funding, equipment—they needed to be able to continue doing their current work while taking on new initiatives.