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How Being A Veteran Has Positively Impacted My Career

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Craig Everett, an ex-Royal Australian Navy, joined Teletrac Navman in February 2019, first as a Professional Services Manager and now as National Operations Manager. Through his work in the Veteran’s Steering Committee & Allies for Inclusion ERG, he’s helping break down barriers for other Veterans to transition into civilian life.

 

Active duty and military life in general are tough. You are trained to do things that you wouldn’t normally do and to do it without question. For me I joined up when I was 16, I was sent away to Perth for 9 months basic training followed by 12 months trade training south of Melbourne. In that time, I only had one 3 weeks break to get home and see my family.

My military Experience

My trade training was a mix of basic training, electronics, computing among other things and specialised military training that applied the basic training, RADAR, SONAR, Weapons systems etc. This got me out into the fleet for supervised only work.

I joined my first ship as a 17-year-old, and we sailed within an hour of me joining – for 6 weeks intensive training. Talk about seasick! 4 weeks of hell. In that time, I learnt how to find my way around the ship; how to find my damage control station, what I had to do in the event of a fire, flood or battle damage, how to tie down helicopters, where to eat and sleep, as well as 

my ‘normal’ job. My normal job was to assist in the maintenance and tuning of the main weapons system (fire control).  We were a new class of ship that had less crew and so us maintainers also operated the systems, so I learnt how to fire the gun and missiles as well. I worked a minimum of 14 hours per day with the remaining time used for eating, showering, cleaning, and sleeping. 

I also had my 18th birthday in those 6 weeks.

My first 6 weeks at sea were a part of ‘work ups’, that is getting the ship and crew tested and trained after a refit. Before I’d joined the ship was in dry dock and having an overhaul. This is typically fast paced and is designed to get the crew and systems to a high level in the event we were called into action. When my ship was sent into the first Gulf war our training really paid off and made all the effort worthwhile.

Normal sea time was not as hard but was still intense, the environment we worked in was difficult and meant long hours, and even longer periods of time away from home. 12-hour days were normal with the longest ‘day’ for me being 36 hours. When I finished my 9-years I had served on 5 shore bases, 2 ships and had a posting to San Diego, I visited over 50 countries, was away from Australia for more than 6 years and had both my 18th and 21st birthdays away. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

A life of learning

Resilience is a word that is bandied around a lot, but I would say that this was the number 1 thing that I took away from the Military. You had to do your job, there was no alternative, if there was a problem there was only one person who could fix it, you! One aspect of the Australian (and NZ) Military is that you are encouraged to find solutions that would normally be ‘above your grade’. The level of technical training was high, the work ethic instilled was high, work was structured, and you had to get on with your work colleagues - you lived with them.

So how has this helped me in civilian life? While my technical training was on Military Systems it’s only the application of the technology that was different – there aren’t any missile systems outside of the Navy but there are a lot of data networks, computing etc. The Navy has made me confident and has taught me true leadership – I won’t ask anyone do anything I’m not prepared to do myself. I’m now very structured in what I do, am empathetic, work well in a team, have realistic expectations, and make sure I complete my tasks within the required timeframes.

At Teletrac Navman we don’t only look for specific qualifications, we also look for the attributes that the Military gives its people. We are avid supporters of those who have served and back this up through our recruiting program and the Veteran Employee Resource Group. The CEO of our Parent company, Vontier, is a US Military Veteran and understands what ex-service personnel can bring into a business and fully supports our Veteran programs.

 

Considering what’s next in your career? Explore your options at Teletrac Navman and connect with Craig on LinkedIn to discuss how we can help. 


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