Monday, 11 November 2013 15:11

Random Thoughts on Veteran’s Day

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In 1987, I was sitting with a career counselor in the student services office at Santa Clara University, where I had just received my MBA. She was reviewing my resume for me as I launched my job search after graduation. In the “Other” section, usually found at the bottom of a printed resume in the prehistoric, days, I had added that I was a veteran of the Vietnam era, honorably discharged after six years of service. The counselor advised me in no uncertain terms to remove any reference to my military service and veteran status from my resume.

This morning I took my truck in for service at the local auto repair shop. I was wearing the “Veteran” ball cap that I usually break out on Armed Forces Day and Veteran’s Day and a young man who I had never seen or met before came up to me, shook my hand and thanked me for my service.

I logged onto e-mail this morning and found an e-mail from my longtime industry friend and colleague, Ryan Hollenbeck, which simply and succinctly thanked me for my service on this Veteran’s Day. Ryan is a senior vice president at Verint and has incredible demands on his time, but he took the time to send me a personal note this morning.

Kevin Hegebarth, another longtime friend and industry colleague, posted his thanks to veterans on Facebook today. Susan Hash, editor of Contact Center Pipeline magazine sent out a tweet this morning letting people know that my current column, the subject of which is putting veterans to work in the contact center, is now available as a free download. I hope readers of this blog will take a minute to read the column, which can be found at

My father, born and raised in England, served in the British Army from 1946 – 48.   His father served in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry in World War I. My paternal grandmother was born and raised in Scotland and the men in her family all went to sea, as did I. Although I have always been proud of my service to my adopted country (I am a naturalized American citizen) I didn’t think much of it until the past few years, when being a veteran began to mean something again. If I were to update my resume today it would definitely include my military service. Sorry, Santa Clara University career counselor.

I am profoundly grateful to those who served before me and to those who have served since. As an industry, we can show our gratitude to veterans by opening the doors of opportunity to them, letting them know that the skills they learned in the armed forces and their desire to serve are understood and valued in the contact center industry. For advice on how to go about doing this, please read my current Contact Center Pipeline column by clicking on the link above.

This morning my father sent me an e-mail with a link a video of a 13 year old young lady playing “Taps,” also known as “Last Post,” on the trumpet. I found it to be very moving. The last time I heard “Taps” was this past February at the military funeral of a friend of mine, a retired 20-year Army veteran who died in a boating accident. I hope you will take a moment to listen to this beautiful rendition and think of those who served and all those who are serving now.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

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