In recognition of Veteran’s Day, as well as the 241st birthday of the US Marine Corps yesterday, we caught up with two of Enel X’s veterans to discuss what it means to serve in the military, how they apply the lessons learned during their service to their current jobs, and advice for current military members preparing for a post-military career.
John Clifford, an Enterprise Account Executive who has worked at Enel X since 2014, retired from the Marine Corps in 2008 as a Sergeant and infantry squad leader. After joining the Marines as a Reservist while still in college, John would go on to support both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Jay Zoellner, Managing Director of Industrial Solutions, has been with Enel X since 2015. A former Lieutenant with six years of service with the US Navy, Jay was among one of the last groups of officers who were personally interviewed by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.”
Here’s what they had to say:
Q: How have your experiences in the military shaped how you approach your post-military career?
John: I make sure I take nothing for granted. Even when times are tough, it’s nothing like the Fallujah desert!
Jay: I lived in a steel tube under the ocean for three years with the brightest and best; life and death literally depended upon everyone doing their job to the best of their ability. I believe that while perhaps not as dramatic, success in business depends upon everyone executing their job well, so I have tried to ensure my teams know what that means for them. I also prefer a career where I can see outside without looking through periscope crosshairs, as cool as that was.
Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you learned from your time with the military, and how do you apply it to your role at Enel X?
John: Work as a team and you can overcome any obstacle or adverse situation. Enel X works much like the Marine Corps, in that there are a lot of highly capable, intelligent people all working towards the same mission.
Jay: That society has no idea of the unseen struggle that occurs between nations. Our role as citizens and Enel Xers is to protect our way of life by respecting each other, delivering our best every day, and voting to preserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Q: What advice would you give for veterans or current service members looking to start or advance their post-military career?
John: Leverage your network, take on increasing responsibility as you can to gain new skills and exposure, and learn the roles and responsibilities of your boss and peers in order to maximize your value to the organization and further accelerate your career.
Jay: Realize and accept your first role outside will not have the responsibility you had in the military. You are given huge responsibility in the military very early. Continue to apply the discipline and values the military taught to your personal life, yet realize that many business successes result from challenges to the status quo and radical thinking that are not actively encouraged in the military. In other words, use the military training to provide structure and form to creative thinking, both individually and in teams.
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