When I was visiting Israel in 1998, my cousin told me that his friends who had been in the military — meaning all of them (The Israeli military requires men and women at the age of 18 to serve for up to three years) had varying levels of success in finding work but there was one common thread — the higher their rank, the better they did in terms of getting jobs that paid more. I found this to be a commendable thing but at the time I thought that this was fairly commonplace.

Apparently not.

When Matthew Burrell left the U.S. Army after eight years of service, he landed a job as a public relations contractor in Iraq. With a salary of $170,000, he figured military experience had finally paid off.

But five months after returning home to Chicago, 33-year old Burrell is unemployed and said his job search has been strange. Despite having six years experience as a public relations officer in the Army, companies treat him as if he just graduated from college.

Hardly. Sadly, this example is far from being a rarity. How many times have you been approached by someone asking for money who showed you a military identification card, saying that they had been in the army and just were unable to find work after coming home from wherever it is that they served. Granted, not every one of these people honestly made an effort at finding work but I would be willing to bet that many did.

It wasn’t enough that employers discriminate against the unemployed — they must discriminate against the hard working men and women of the military as well?

In my opinion, the companies of the United States should take a cue from the Israeli military and give honorable treatment to those who worked hardest serving their country in the military. If a person is willing to get into a tank and explore mine covered fields they should certainly get just as good of a shot at finding a job if not a better one than someone who did not.


  1. I wonder why there is such little value placed on military experience? Is it because soldiers are seen as automatons just following orders, while workers in the “real” world are required to be self-starters and free thinkers?

    1. Quite probably so, David — which is odd considering how highly it is respected elsewhere, and how much more it was respected in years past here in the United States.

  2. Actually, some news outlets have been talking about this subject. I’ve heard it on the radio and read about it in the newspaper. Not this exact story, but very similar ones. Especially soldiers that were injured in battle and had to quit because of a major injury. (say, loosing a leg) This is disgraceful. These people worked hard in our military for our country, despite the dangers, but once they get out of battle they are seemingly thought to be useless.

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