Not really sure where else to go with this...

This is a discussion on Not really sure where else to go with this... within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I was medically retired from the Army about a year and a half ago after almost 16 yeas of service. I'm rated as 70% disabled ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    Not really sure where else to go with this...

    I was medically retired from the Army about a year and a half ago after almost 16 yeas of service. I'm rated as 70% disabled by the VA. LEO and Fire/EMS jobs that you might expect a former combat-arms Soldier to go into are out because of my disabilities.

    Money is tighter than it was, but the wolf isn't at the door.

    I've been trying for the past year to land a job as a 911 dispatcher, but no luck so far. I thought I would be a sure-thing for that based on my military experience... but apparently not. I've also applied here and there for things like ER/ OR/ ward/ unit secretary (since I have administrative and emergency medical experience). No luck there either. There have been other fields as well, but those are the two major ones.

    I really don't want to work at McD's (which I did in HS), or Auto Zone... though I'm starting to look seriously at Starbucks. At least you get 1lb of free coffee per week. I have a BA in Liberal Arts that I picked up as I was moving around with the military, but that doesn't seem to be impressing anybody... but since being a disabled combat veteran with over 15 years of service and experience isn't opening any doors either I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

    My wife has a job which pays very well, but which she hates with a passion. One of the things we've discussed is that if/when I get a job she'll have more freedom to pick alternate employment offers since she won't have to hold out for a similar salary.

    Tonight she asked if the reason I hadn't gotten a job was because I was having an affair or something while she was at work. I'm not... but how do you prove you're NOT doing something? If nothing else this shows HER level of frustration wit the situation... but it's still worrisome because I love her very much, and there isn't much about me that's the same as the man she married 6 years ago.

    I guess this just isn't where I expected to be at this point in my life. After the Army, combat tours in two wars, important peacetime assignments, leadership and training experience... and I'm down to competing with high school kids for entry-level jobs. I guess there really isn't much call for tankers in the civilian job market. I'm at the end of my rope and I don't know where to go from here...
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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  3. #2
    JD
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    Hard times come and go. That's a hard sad fact of life.

    The number one giveaway for an affair is phone bills and bank statements, especially if your using a debit card. Neither one can lie.

    Buy her some flowers and talk to her.

    As for the job scene it's rough out there with all the jobs getting out sourced these days, keep your chin up and keep looking, something will turn up.

    You like obviously like guns, make the rounds at the gun shops and see if you can get a position. I'm not sure where in CO you are, but there's two Gander Mountains in CO.

    I hope things work out.

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    Sorry to hear about your problems. It sounds like they are pretty overwhelming right now for you and your wife. I am confident, though, that given time, you'll find something that puts you back on top. And you and your wife will be stronger because of this adversity. Just never, never give up.

    I had a guy working for me that was an extremely good graphic artist and web designer. I hired him as the Webmaster for the agency I worked for. One day he was driving and had to slam on the brakes to keep from hitting a woman that changed lanes quickly in front of him and then stopped for a turn. When he hit the brakes he felt something pop in his hip and started to experience pain in that hip joint. A trip to the doctor showed he had broken the head of his right femur and they recommended a hip replacement. This happened when he was 35 years old. After surgery, and while on a morphine pump for pain, a malfunction in the morphine pump allowed him to overmedicate himself. While in this state, he got out of bed, tripped over his cathetor and wound up head down to the floor, legs up and vomiting. He aspirated the vomit, and died in the floor of his hospital room. Luckily, he also lost the sensor monitoring his vital signs and the hospital staff responded. Although they "got him back", he was put into a drug-induced coma for a few weeks while they got his lungs cleaned out and got him stabilized. He came out of the coma with brain damage that took most of his short term memory. After alot of work and therapy he got well enough to leave the hospital, but was unable to return to work. Since he could not perform in his previous capacity, he was put on long term disability. For the longest, all he wanted to do was come back to work, but if he returned, his disability would stop permanently.

    For months he struggled with loneliness, depression and boredom. We continued to be friends and everytime he brought up work I would relate to him how lucky he was not to be there. But, nobody would hire him because he couldn't remember things long enough to add them to his long term memory. Finally one day he decided to start working on his backyard. He completely redid it, and in the course of completing it, he got some ideas of some things he wanted to add to the yard but couldn't find. He took some of his disability check and bought a welding outfit and came up with something that other people might want. With no previous experience, he built it, photographed it and stuck it on the web for special order. Carrying around flyers about this product, posting the information all over the web and to friends, family and anyone that would stand still for awhile, he made enough to decide to start a business of his own. Now, I hardly ever hear from him because he's busy. Succeeding in even a small way has given him confidence to start doing some other things that show promise. He's not rich (yet), by any means, but he's got himself up and he's trying to get to the top. I'm pretty confident that he will get there. Even though he has a permanent loss of his short term memory, when life seemed the bleakest, he pulled himself back up and is standing pretty tall right now. I am convinced that things happen for a reason. I expect you will eventually find out what that reason is.

    I would also sit down and have a heart to heart with the wife so the fear of infidelity is put behind you. And never, never give up.

    I wish you luck and hope you will keep us informed.
    Bumper
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    Have you tried the Federal and State Dept of Veterans Affairs?

    Fed

    State

    They may be able to retrain you on an ocupation that you may like / needs workers.

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    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
    I was medically retired from the Army about a year and a half ago ... I'm rated as 70% disabled by the VA .... a disabled combat veteran with over 15 years of service and experience ... combat tours in two wars, important peacetime assignments, leadership and training experience... call for tankers in the civilian job market ...
    Definetly check out the Fed DVA link I gave you; from what I quoted you seem elegible for paid retraining into some other field available/of your interest.

    You can alway think back of something that didn't work right in your tank, come up with an imporvement, get a patent and sell it to the military.

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    tanksoldier,

    The advice given above is right on the mark. As a Veteran, you are authorized to be retrained to another job field at the VA expense.....and/or to go to college full time to further your education. Also, as a combat Veteran, you are entitled to extra benefits from the VA.

    Also.... you did not mention this, but a big factor is how the VA has labeled your case file. If you are 70% disabled, to you have the terminology of PERMENANT AND TOTAL attached to that rating? That is very important. Another phrase to look for is INDIVIDUAL UNEMPLOYABILITY. If you have that term attached to your file, you should be receiving the pay and benefits of a full 100% rating, even though your actual rating is only 70%. With one dependent, that amount is in the neighborhood of $2,500 per month.... much better than what the 70% rating pays with one dependent. If you don't have the IA phrase, you can file an appeal and try to go for it that way.

    Dealing with the VA is like driving your tank through a minefield. Once you know your way around, you can find your way through the mines. Until then, do not just naturally 'expect' that the VA is on your side, or working for you. A good representative like those available through the Disabled American Veterans organization can also do a lot for you as they are trained on how to navigate the VA minefields.

    If you need any more info, or just want to talk, PM me for the phone number and I'll sure try to pass on any information that might be of help to you. I've already been through the minefield and come out the other end much better off because of knowing how the VA works..... and most of that knowledge has come from 37 years of trial and error, as well as anger, frustration, and often thinking it was helpless.

    Don't get me wrong, overall the VA is not 'anti-vet', it's just that some VA facilities and some VA employees are better than others. I've been to and dealt with my fair share of both and I'm often surprised at the differences within the system.

    Can't really offer anything on how to convince your wife that all is on the up and up. Sorry to hear that you are having to deal with that. I've been fortunate to have a wonderful wife of almost 26 years who has often taken on the VA herself to insure the 'right' outcome.

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    sorry to hear about your situation bud. it sounds like these guys above are giving good advice with trying to work it out through VA. if none of that pans out, you could also try a government service (GS) job. you might also try a contracting job working for the military. a LOT of folks coming out of the service do this. if you still have your security clearance, that will help you out as they are sought after in the civilian sector.
    War is not the ugliest of things. Worse is the decayed state of moral feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which he cares for more than his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free. -J.S. Mill

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    Robb - first off I am glad you felt able to blow smoke here - this is why we have this Bob Ford's Place. I sympathize more than you know - not because of my own experience but I have known of others similar to yours.

    I also have had my share of lows and bad times, during which it is hard to see the tunnel - let alone a light at the end.

    There has already been some good input and Bumper's story certainly proves how things can change for the better even in the bleakest of circumstances.

    I will totally endorse the advice already given - to have a real heart-to-heart with your dear lady. Communication is vital - and so much can be cleared up by real talking in depth - you almost owe it to each other. I certainly hope a door will open for you - possibly when you least expect it - don't give up hope.

    Right now I'd say you have some very useful talents - going to waste.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    VIP Member Array Spirit51's Avatar
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    tank solider,
    I understand completely. I had 15 years experiene as a firefighter/paramedic. I have a Degree in Emergency Medicine. I have had Haz Mat training....tactical medic training....experience filling in on my Metro dispatch and I was disabled on the job.

    There are few jobs I can take, due to my disability. I applied to a small sheriff department dispatch. I need the job because we need more income. I was told I had TOO MUCH experience and education.
    Very discouraging.
    I am thinking about applying again in this new sheriff department dispatch. I don't want to take it over...I just want a job. I flinch at the thought because of how much it hurt last time.
    Good luck....keep your head up. Try again....I might too. I understand.
    A woman must not depend on protection by men. A woman must learn to protect herself.
    Susan B. Anthony
    A armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one has to back it up with his life.
    Robert Heinlein

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    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    My friend, have you tried school teacher? I have a very good friend that has the same or slightly higher level of combat disability (he spent 12 years in a Ranger Battalion) and he and I taught together for almost five years in an inner city high school.

    I LOVE teaching high school. In 2001 I was my school's choice for social studies Teacher of the Year. I'm right now at the top of my game. I work in the 4th largest school district in the nation, but we're not in the same slot as far as pay goes. After 18 years I only make about 65K a year. My daughter makes that and she's only been out of college for FOUR years. Still, I'm pretty happy and the perks are decent. Where else can you work where you have 2 weeks off at Christmas, 10 days off in the spring, 9 WEEKS off in the summer...PLUS all the normal national holidays....PLUS the assorted "Teacher Planning Days." I have a good medical plan, too. Think about it. If you want to talk pm me and I'll give you my phone number.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    Hang in there. Something will present itself if you keep plugging away.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


    Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

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    First, shore up your home life. Thats priority #1.

    Then do some long and hard thinking. Decide how you want to spend your life, and write down two lists. Long term and then short term goals. You do have a lot going for you. You have an education, you have vet status. Money might be tight, but from the way you talk, you are not wondering where you next meal is coming from.

    You might have to get some more training. What do you like to do?
    Are you good with mechanics? Electronics? Sciences? Brain storm here with us, it will be fun and we just might be able to help you solve your problem. There is a huge mass of knowledge on here from people who work in all kinds of fields...
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array Plan B's Avatar
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    other help out there ...

    Quote Originally Posted by ExSoldier View Post
    My friend, have you tried school teacher? I have a very good friend that has the same or slightly higher level of combat disability (he spent 12 years in a Ranger Battalion) and he and I taught together for almost five years in an inner city high school.

    I LOVE teaching high school. In 2001 I was my school's choice for social studies Teacher of the Year. I'm right now at the top of my game. I work in the 4th largest school district in the nation, but we're not in the same slot as far as pay goes. After 18 years I only make about 65K a year. My daughter makes that and she's only been out of college for FOUR years. Still, I'm pretty happy and the perks are decent. Where else can you work where you have 2 weeks off at Christmas, 10 days off in the spring, 9 WEEKS off in the summer...PLUS all the normal national holidays....PLUS the assorted "Teacher Planning Days." I have a good medical plan, too. Think about it. If you want to talk pm me and I'll give you my phone number.

    There are some other resources too - have you thought about military.com? They have some outstanding online resources available to veterans (I'm a registered member and take a gander from time to time). Are you a member of the VFW or the American Legion? Don't underestimate your fellow veterans.


    Clint

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    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    While I don't know the source(s) of your 70% rating, based on what you've shared here I'd encourage you to contact VA's mental health services to see if there's some depression you're up against.

    I'm 100% P&T with VA, a rating I've had for a few years. However, it wasn't until last fall that I listened to my wife and finally faced the fact that I couldn't beat depression without some professional help. VA has really helped me, and I'm happy I took the action I did.

    I don't have any brilliant suggestions about your job search other than to encourage perserverance--the next phone call you make could lead you to your dream job. Having once been in a situation like yours I know that the toughest job around is finding a job! But keep swinging the bat, for you'll never get a hit if you stop.

    Best wishes, tank.
    "It's a big gun when I carry it, it is also a big gun when I take it out” – Clint Smith

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    Following ExSoldiers lead...

    Troops-to-Teachers program:

    http://www.proudtoserveagain.com/

    http://www.ed.gov/programs/troops/index.html

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