By Dawson McPherson, Talent & Communications Coordinator
As we make our way into the month of November, it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of holiday festivities, shopping and delicious food. We love all these things here at McAfee (especially the food part!), and as a global company that recognizes the traditions and diverse backgrounds of thousands of employees around the world, we celebrate big and we celebrate often.
Throughout the month of November, McAfee is especially proud to celebrate our military veterans and raise awareness around the value and experience they bring to the workplace.
Veterans like Trevor, a member of our License Compliance Services team based in Plano, Texas, make up a core group of employees who are applying their military skills and experiences to their careers at McAfee.
Prior to joining McAfee, Trevor served in the United States Army for eight years. In addition to his day-to-day role, Trevor serves as the President of McAfee’s Military Veterans Community – a community of veterans and family members dedicated to helping fellow veterans transition from military life into a career at McAfee.
As we look to honor our service men and women around the world this November, hear Trevor’s perspective on what it means to be a military veteran, and what McAfee is doing to build an environment inclusive of military veterans.
Why did you join the military?
Growing up, I always admired soldiers and aspired to be like them. A lot of my family served in the military, and I felt it was my duty to serve as well. Personally, I believe every young person should serve in the military and experience the honor and commitment it provides. It helped me truly understand the freedoms we have in this great country.
In what branch of the military did you serve?
I served in the United States Army for 8 years with a primary position in Transportation and Logistics, as well as a secondary position as a Lead Convoy Security Turret Gunner.
What was the most challenging and rewarding part of serving in the military?
No matter how tough you are, leaving family and friends behind, and not having the ability to talk to them, is difficult. When you’re away from home for extended periods of time, you’re forced to practice patience in a big way. The military is famous for their “hurry up and wait” mentality, which is especially challenging when you’re thinking about family, friends and loved ones back home.
As challenging as serving in the military was, it was incredibly rewarding seeing soldiers that I’ve trained grow both professionally and personally. I walked away with many lifelong friends with whom I have a bond that can never be broken.
How has your military experience shaped your career at McAfee?
The military has taught me to be an out-of-the-box thinker when adapting to or overcoming challenges. People tend to view military veterans as very straight-laced thinkers. But what many don’t realize is that we’re also innovative thinkers. I learned this first hand when I was given the responsibility to train over 200 soldiers for combat deployment on military vehicles and security tactics. As challenging as it was, I quickly learned to use creative thinking to develop and execute plans – a skill I continue to carry this day.
The military has also given me the drive to succeed in everything I do. Getting up, coming to work every day, and giving 100% effort to everything I do are disciplines that will always been engrained in me. When you serve in the military, you are completely devoted to the mission at hand, and the fact that I was a part of something bigger than myself really fueled my motivation. That’s one of the many reasons why McAfee is a great place for veterans. As employees, we are asked to sign “The McAfee Pledge” wall. Part of our pledge is to not rest in our quest to protect the safety of our families, our communities, and our nations. There’s something about signing your name to a pledge that makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger.
What is the McAfee Military Veterans Community, and how did you get involved?
The McAfee Military Veterans Community is an employee-led community devoted to creating a diverse and inclusive environment where veterans can bring their full, authentic selves to work. I was asked if I was interested in heading up one of the veteran’s events here at McAfee Plano almost 2 years ago. I jumped right in and have helped grow the Military Veterans Community ever since.
As the President of the McAfee Military Veterans Community, what do you hope to accomplish through the group?
There is a certain stigma that all veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other forms of mental illness. There is already a big enough stigma against mental illness, but then add in the combat training/experience aspect and people are afraid you’re going to snap if someone doesn’t refill the coffee pot. There’s still a lot of education to be done, which in turn would encourage more veterans to identify themselves in the workplace.
As President of the Military Veterans Community, I want to help break that stigma and raise awareness around the qualities, skills and value veterans bring to the workplace. Part of our wider strategy as a community is to:
- Help McAfee become a Top Military Employer of Choice
- Expand our recruiting of military veterans
- Provide networking opportunities for veterans and other McAfee employees
- Helping veterans transition into careers at McAfee
- Continue highlighting how much of an asset employing veterans can be
What advice do you have to those transitioning out of the military into a civilian career?
Many veterans face a difficult transition into civilian life – ranging from readjustment issues to recovery from physical and mental injuries. I’ve heard veterans say they have difficulty adjusting to the civilian culture and relating to civilians. A lot of it comes down to the camaraderie they experienced in the military. It’s important to know that finding a company where you find that sense of belonging and purpose, is possible and can be just as rewarding.
Transitioning out of the military requires veterans to learn new skills, adjust to a new pace and adapt to social changes. The military provides structure and has a clear chain of command, which does not naturally exist outside the military. Therefore, veterans after are often left to create their own structure or adjust to living in an environment with more ambiguity. This is why networks, such as our own Veterans Community at McAfee, can play a valuable role in helping veterans to find their feet and adapt quickly.
In the military, personnel do not leave until the mission is complete. In a private sector business, an employee might be expected to stop and go home at 5 p.m. – whether the “mission” is complete or not. This may not be apparent to all veterans.
Civilian workplaces may be competitive environments, as opposed to the collaborative camaraderie of the military. Given the direct and sometimes blunt nature of communication in military settings, there may be subtle nuances in conversations and workplace lingo that are unfamiliar to veterans.
My best advice for veterans is to adapt, overcome, and prepare. Corporate life is different from the military in many ways, but the military has taught us to be resourceful, disciplined and agile and we often have strengths, skills and capabilities that are highly sought after and not as easily gained outside of the military. Prepare your resume by highlighting how your military skills translate into a corporate role. And never be afraid to ask for help.
In what ways is McAfee inclusive of the Veteran’s community?
Once I left the military, I felt a sense of loss, as I did not have a purpose or mission to accomplish. McAfee provides veterans with a mission and pledge they can follow. Values are a key component in the military, and the fact that McAfee lives its own values says a lot about the company.
What is the most meaningful way to recognize a veteran?
A simple ‘thank you’ is the most meaningful way to recognize a veteran. We don’t ask for much, but a small thanks can go a long way to make us feel appreciated.
Thank you, Trevor, for your sacrifice and ongoing commitment to making the world a safer place. And thank you to the brave men and women around the world who have served to protect our freedom.
Interested in learning more about McAfee careers for military service members and veterans? Join our talent network here.
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