You’re either going to love or hate this article. I’m ok with that and I really enjoy discussing issues people are passionate about. So, let’s get after it, ditch the uniform. Yes, I said it! You shouldn’t have it as your LinkedIn profile picture or on any other social media. I say this for multiple reasons.
It sends the wrong message. You want to leverage your veteran status not rely on it. No one cares how many cool badges and awards you have on your chest. They’ll say thank you or think to themselves “wow that’s impressive.” What comes next? You think it’s wow that’s a great American that is ready to be a crucial part of our business or organization. More likely it means they will see you as a soldier and not as that business partner or associate.
You and the ones that came before you made that uniform what it is, not vice versa. That uniform didn’t make you, it’s not you, nor is it who you are. Whether I’m dressed in a suit, uniform, or swimming trucks I’m still me. I only know how to be me. Being a Special Forces soldier is a part of me and a chapter in my life, it will not be the only thing ever in my life. I feel privileged to have worn the Green Beret and US Army uniform, but there comes a time when that ends.
When we are assigned a mission, we study it to no end, and then we execute the plan ready to flex and implement our contingencies. Part of that is how we dress for the mission. Full combat gear, partial gear, our uniform, partner force uniform, business, business casual or roughs to name a few options. Here’s reality in the face, your new mission is the transition. Approach transition as such, no uniform needed. Perception matters just like words do.
The quicker you get rid of the uniform, the quicker it’s packed up in the attic for the grandkids to look at one day, the quicker you can flip the mental switch. That switch where you find comfort in not being a soldier anymore. The new normal, it’s going to be ok. Find that new drive/ purpose/ passion.
The same can be said for all of the cool guy pictures.
There also is that legal issue or perception of speaking in a military capacity when you are really speaking for you and you alone.