Honoring Service: Max
Our theme this month is Honoring Service. Throughout November, we will be featuring stories about different ways to serve. There are countless ways to serve — your country, your community, your family. Today we are featuring Max.
This Veterans Day, it seems important to celebrate service, and to do that intentionally. The Qualtrics Veterans Group here is made up of veterans, reservists, and allies all within the company.
I never liked identifying as a veteran previous to working at Qualtrics for a myriad of reasons. I did not like the “bro vet culture” that seemed to permeate everything within my bubble of veterans I typically ran into, and found much of the community to be overtly toxic. Additionally, I did not see much value in interacting with others who have served. In my mind, I was an average Marine who served, got his G.I. Bill for college, and moved on without looking back much.
The Qualtrics Veterans Group has made me an active member of the veteran community. Having a space to interact with other veterans, discuss our service, and come together with respect has been incredibly rewarding for me. So has learning from others in this group. We have veterans across generational lines, services, military occupational specialties (MOS), different wars, and both officers and enlisted represented. This kind of diversity of experiences has given me a much greater appreciation for service and what it means to each individual.
Every Friday the Qualtrics Veterans Group meets for 30 minutes to chat, check up on each other, and build camaraderie. I have the privilege of directing these meetings, and have also been able to lead interviews that we do every other week in a “deep dive” into each member’s story of service. This has opened my eyes to many different reasons for serving, types of services, and impacts that serving in the military has brought them. There is none of the overt machismo or one-upmanship you might expect. Instead we are able to be ourselves and celebrate our service.
What does “celebrating service” even mean though? In my mind, it recognizes the overall effort that millions of Americans have put into protecting our way of life. It recognizes that you sacrificed much of the time in your youth to something greater than oneself. It means still taking pride in service, even if your main goal was to be able to afford college. Celebrating service means not caring why someone signed up, but that they did.
If someone asks me if I served before joining the Qualtrics Veterans Group, I would say yes. What is different now is I say it with my whole chest.
Happy Veterans Day, and Semper Fi