Sunday, February 24, 2013

Military Veterans as Nannies

When it made the news that a nanny agency specializing in placing military veterans as caregivers was opening up, there was a buzz of concern and interest amongst those in the nanny industry. To learn more about the Tactical Nannies program I reached out to Jonathan Gilliam, president and CEO of United States Continued Service, the parent company of Tactical Nannies. Here’s what he had to share. 
eNannySource: I think when people first hear that military veterans are being sought out to provide nanny care they wonder two things: first, how do you reconcile the idea of being a combat veteran with a nurturing caregiver, and second, what about post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental issues?
Jonathan: I understand both of those concerns, and I think most people’s perception of the military is off the mark is many ways. With respect to reconciling a trained, military combat veteran, it is important to note the core elements that drive a person, male or female, to enter into military service. Those core elements are love of their fellow citizens and a desire to protect our freedoms and rights. The key words here are love and protect. Under the body armor and ammunitions is a human being who is serving at a level of selflessness that most people will never know without being in the military. This is easily translated into caring for children and protecting a family/home. Our pilot program includes several personality screening practices. Not only am I a former Navy SEAL, but I also served as a special agent in New York for eight years. I am associating with other agents to complete a background screening that gives us a complete picture of the personality and motivation of our nanny candidates, as well as making sure the underlying love and protective nature is at the forefront. I know it is unusual hearing those words from a trained warrior, but it is actually the basis for what we do.
PTSD is, as you pointed out, a major concern for many people. We understand that. In our screening process we will pay close attention to indicators of PTSD. However, the sheer numbers of veterans returning from duty overseas does not lend itself to an overwhelming percentage of PTSD sufferers. There just isn’t a lot of PTSD. What we see more often is the need for a “debrief” or time-out after returning from overseas. The awareness is so heightened in a war environment, that when you return, it takes time to turn it down. Reactions are quicker, attitudes are more assertive. But it is not PTSD the majority of the time.
eNannySource: You mentioned people’s views of the military are off the mark. Can you elaborate on what that means?
Jonathan: Unfortunately, many people in the American public see young enlisted people as dropouts that couldn’t make it anywhere else. This couldn’t be further from the truth in most cases. A high percentage of young people entering into military service have a drive to serve and a determination to succeed that cannot be met through college. Many of these individuals do in fact finish college after an initial tour of duty. Some take online classes, some night school and others transfer into the Reserves or National Guard and attend full time. Regardless, within two to four years of their entry into service, these young people have developed a core set of values and skills that propel them forward in life. Learning how to operate using Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and how to function in a team environment, it is driven into everyone that serves that you are a leader no matter what rank you hold. This part of the training is widely unknown or understood by the majority of employers and the American public itself.