Growing Stronger through Adversity with Lakeydra Houston
Lakeydra is currently in the process of going through her military transition and is participating in a SkillBridge program. She shares that she has learned there are differences in the type of companies that participate in the program. Some are willing to train you and teach you a new skill and others just want you to come in for free labor.
You should treat your SkillBridge interviews that same as a permanent internship role. Look for companies that are a good fit. Lakeydra recommends asking:
- Have you ever hired veterans before?
- What kind of support programs do you have for veterans
- Do you have a veteran-dedicated program for training and helping veterans adapt to the private sector and get to know the differences between military and private sectors
Lakeydra landed her SkillBridge role through Hire Our Heroes. They helped her with her resume, diversifying her job search and practicing interviews. She recommends ensuring you take a SB role in the career field where you want to land in the private sector. Use the experience to “test the waters” to see if you want to do this type of job after your military service. She is working remotely and she has found it harder to build relationships, receive training and contribute to the team. Remote positions may not be as easy for an introverted person to become part of the team.
Recently Lakeydra celebrated her 12-year anniversary of the day she attempted suicide. She has decided to use her experience and the lessons she learned from her suicide attempt to support others.
Laykeydra was the victim of sexual assault early in her military career. She struggled with whether or not she should report this incident. Compounded with a drinking and substance abuse problems and earlier family trauma, she found herself giving up on life. Thankfully, she was not successful in her attempt thanks to her ex-boyfriend’s quick actions. He helped her get herself back on-track. Unfortunately, she does not think that the military is a better, safer place for women today. Assaults get reported and nothing happens, despite the evidence is presented and as a result many women in the military feel unsupported and hopeless.
Lakeydra has started an organization, called KEY Fit, which stands for Knowledge Empowerment and Younity, she supports youth who have experienced abuse and now reaches military veterans to be a support system, source of resources, mentorship and advocacy for survivors of abuse.
Remember, if you have been the victim of any type of assault, it’s not your fault. If you are feeling suicidal, remember that it is okay to not be okay, but seek help and resources such as the VA or RAINN. You can reach the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 OR Text 838255
Be patient with yourself, healing takes time. Focus on a shifting to a positive mindset and think about what you can learn from the situation.
Since Lakeydra is a transitioning service member, I give her an opportunity to ask me a question. She asks:
What is one of the biggest struggles that you see from veterans who are in the transition process? I talk about these two struggles:
- Translating skills. Take the time to translate your military terms, don’t expect the employer to take the time and make the effort to understand your military skills. The onus is on you as a transitioning service member to translate your skills, focus your resume and help them to understand your value. This is covered even more in-depth in Episode 51.
- The other struggle is learning how to market yourself, moving from “we” statements to taking credit for the role that you played in the accomplishment. It’s not bragging or arrogant if you can back up your statement with examples, statistics or stories of your success.
Connect with Lakeydra on LinkedIn.
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