It all happened about a month ago. February 28th, to be exact. Mike Hawkins, Founder and CEO of Netizen Corporation reached out to me by direct message over Twitter. I had met him a few years back at an event held by the local startup community. He had a problem that he thought I could help him with. It went like this:
Hi there - how have you been? I have a quick question for you: would you be interested in some on-the-side, as needed work helping me...in my new company with some technical proposal writing work? I'm going after a number of federal contracts and am deluged with writing work Figured you have a background in Intel and college degree(s) so you may be able to help me put these things together if interested. Thanks.
Well, we met at a local diner a few days later and he explained to me what he was looking for. He explained that even though I didn't have technical writing experience, he thought that my military background and my degree positioned me well for this kind of work. He also said that it was obvious from my blog (yep, he reads this blog) that I have a very solid command of the English language. He really wanted to give me the opportunity to try my hand at it. He offered me part-time contract work at a very competitive hourly rate with the strong potential for it to turn into full-time work with benefits.
Talk about a no-brainer. I took him up on his offer, incredibly grateful that someone, after seven years of holding a degree, saw my potential and was willing to give me the benefit of the doubt. I recently asked Mike via email if he minded me writing about all of this in my blog and he said he had no problem with it at all.
MIKE: ...companies that aren't hiring veterans because of the stereotypes or a lack of understanding are missing out. There is massive untapped resource pool of highly disciplined, educated and motivated vets in this country and those companies which are willing to reach out and give them a chance are going to come out ahead by finding themselves some of the most loyal, dedicated people to work with. It isn't a charity thing, either - it's genuinely smart business to hire veterans who, many times, are unfortunately not able to find work befitting their potential because of the stereotypes of PTSD and military service.
Today was a special day for me. We submitted the first proposal that I effectively wrote. That's no small thing, either. These proposals are what garner contracts for the company. If Mike wouldn't have gone out of his way to provide me this opportunity...Well, I'd still be working full-time in retail, not using my degree and losing confidence in myself with every passing day.
Thanks, Mike, for taking that chance. You have my loyalty and dedication. I look forward to working with you to make what happened to me a common occurrence for veterans everywhere.
It's been a bit of a crazy few weeks. A lot has happened and, for once, some of what happened was actually good! That being said, some aspects of what happened these past few weeks were stressful and exhausting.
You all know that I have returned to work on a part-time basis. That has actually been really good for me. I have a relatively set routine and it has been particularly good for me. For a few weeks, I didn't have any issues - and then last week happened. I had been working an average of about 30 hours per week and that seemed to work out pretty well for me. Then I decided to pick up and extra shift, work six days out of seven and I paid the price. My anxiety shot through the roof. I started staying up later and later and getting less and less sleep. This past week, I had nightmares, serious nightmares, for the first time in weeks. Things were a little frayed around the edges and I truly felt at wit's end. Seriously? I try to work 40 hours and I start bugging out?
Well, before I started down the well-trodden path to depression and self-recrimination, I asked myself a question: Is It You or Is It the Work? That one stopped me dead in my tracks. Could it really be that simple? Could it really just be that Retail and I are like oil and water? We may have appeared to be mixed at first, but over a longer period of time, it becomes readily apparent that no matter how hard I try to make it work for the sake of financial stability and peace of mind for my family, Retail Work and I don't get along.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.