I grew up in a small town which held little promise, surrounded by people who would ultimately land me in a bad place. I didn’t accept this version of my reality and decided to take matters into my own hand. I joined the United States Navy. It was a quick decision from someone who was in a hard place. The day I stepped off that recruit bus I knew that my life would never be the same.
I spent 2 months learning the true meaning of “thick skin” and brotherhood (sisterhood too) at boot camp. I was shipped out into the big bad world as one of the world’s finest U.S. Navy Sailors in the world’s greatest Navy (prove me wrong, I’ll wait). I spent a year training and learning my craft. I spent the next 6-year learning that the training wasn’t the half of it. My missions changed, priorities shifted and my offices would sail away but one thing that remained constant was the man who put on his uniform and laced his boots every morning putting his mission first.
This was a period in my life where I truly felt I was at peace with who I was. I was able to define myself, and who I was going to be. I could fit myself into a seabag and deploy anywhere in the world and I knew my purpose, I took great pride in that fact. The Navy helped me build myself into a stronger, tougher version of me. I could kick the shit out of that old version of myself. I couldn’t imagine my life anywhere else… and then I did.
I started to feel like my life was more than a seabag and it was getting harder each year to continue fitting my life into one. I found my wife and the seabag began overflowing, I struggled to cram it all in no matter how well I folded my uniform items and rolled my socks. Then I had my first son and my seabag began to rip at the seams, and finally with my second son on the way my seabag had burst. I could no longer fit my life in a seabag and I knew I had to move on from the institution that had helped me define who I was and gave me a purpose in life that stood larger than myself.
I went out the same way I went in… almost. It was a quick decision but I was in a much better place. I knew that if I could take on the Navy I could take on anything in the world. Shedding that uniform was like tearing away my identity and it scared the shit out of me. However, under that uniform was that “thick skin” that didn’t take shit from anyone and could do anything. I set my sights on Australia and went full steam ahead.
I submitted hundreds of applications with nothing but an empty inbox to show for it. I received phone calls from half-hearted recruiters looking for the perfect applicant. I received calls from people who would promise me the world then never hear from them again. The thickness of my skin and my grit were being tested. Then a family member and Australia Army service member mentioned something about another veteran company that I could try. Oh boy here we go again….
I registered on their platform and created a profile. I went through a slew of testing, gauging my aptitude and potential and found career paths presented to me. They weren’t based on anything other than what I was capable of doing. This was a strange concept as I saw job after job with more and more job requirements only to be followed up with the “oh by the way” these things would be nice too list. A day later I got a call from a WYWM employee. They take the time to talk about… me, my career, my aspirations, my wants, my needs…my story. Holy shit, this person really sounds like they care about veterans.
They offered me free courses to aid me in my transition and then offered more of their time to help me search for a job. No one told me I needed a certification, a degree or x amount of years of experience. They just simply said we know you can do these things. We know what you are capable of and we know you will succeed if given the opportunity… hot damn, that was music to my newly veteran ears. What happened next came straight out of the transitioning veteran fairy tale book, if one ever should so happen to exist.
WYWM had damn near taken everything I was told my transition journey would be and flipped the script. Through their vision of reinventing my career experience integrating data, meaning, training and lifestyle into the perfect life experience every time I applied for a job they also reinvented me, the veteran. I had shed my identity and took on an even better one, I tapped into their training, improved my skills and learned new skills I didn’t even realise I was capable of, the WYWM journey had upgraded me. But my journey didn’t stop here.
WYWM continued to work with me (networking) and I found myself as a prime candidate for an open squad leader position. Holy shit, I can work with these guys too? The fairy tale continues! With some hard work and preparation (the formula for luck), I had found myself my first job post separation. I was the new Cyber Security Manager for a National Cyber Security Centre (NSCS) development project within Papua New Guinea. I was working with an entire country to develop their NCSC, a purpose that stood taller than myself. I was exactly where I needed to be when I needed to be there. I continue to work this position to this day with a great sense of pride and satisfaction, I’ve found myself, and I’ve found my home with WYWM.
This brings me to the present day, we’ve added a new value to WYWM. In addition to Be Fierce, Be Transparent and Be Curious we also get to rock Be the Customer. This value is new and exciting and strikes me at my core. I find that in order to Be the Customer, customer stories will be more impactful than ever to WYWM. I found my path and was able to continue my journey post separation by literally being the customer. WYWM has provided me, the customer, a product that has influenced the course of my life in a very impactful and unforgettable way.
It is now time to carry the torch! WYWM continues to provide a product that provides career growth and development. WYWM continues to provide a product to our veterans globally and as a WYWM employee I will always #bethecustomer with everything that I do. I will remember my story, the help I needed and the impact WYWM has had on me. I will help make WYWM remarkable. I will do everything possible to make my story not just a transition fairy tale but a chosen path for veterans by helping deliver the WYWM Vision. There are thousands of veterans like me looking to find their paths and continue their journey and for me .. there are now thousands of reasons to #bethecustomer.
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/joshua-a-vogel Rallypoint Content: https://landing.withyouwithme.com/featured/linux-boot-process/