Teach Your Boss About the Military for National Guard and Reserve Members


Managing a National Guard or a Reserve career is hard work. The challenge comes from the planned and often unplanned circumstances of how to integrate a military career with a civilian career. In addition, how do you keep both your military commander and your boss happy, informed, and without concerns that you can succeed in both career trajectories? With a little work, you can do both.


Keep a Joint Calendar with Your Civilian Boss on Military & Civilian Requirements. Information and coordination are some of the best techniques to keep your boss up to date. A joint calendar with your boss, either electronic or written, is a great way to keep them informed on your military requirements and informed that you have your civilian job requirements well in hand. A calendar demonstrates when you are in and out of the office as well as when major military and civilian job tasks will be completed. A calendar gives your boss comfort and expectation when you will and will not be present.


Schedule a Quarterly Sit Down with Your Boss on Their Priorities.  Most Guard and Reserve members do a very good job telling their employers when they will be away at weekend drills and summer training. Another good technique is to meet with your boss and ask them when it works for them for you to be away for any additional military training.  The vast majority of businesses have seasonality patterns that make the National Guard or Reserve member either more or less missed.  Meeting with your boss and asking about times that are more or less important for the military member to be away go a long way to helping the boss as much as you can.


Everyone likes a Plaque or a Nomination.  The Employer Support for the Guard (ESGR) program is an excellent program that allows military members to nominate their employer for various levels of local to national levels of recognition.  The levels of competition to become recognized at the national level are intense, but at each level this program is professional, fair, and well done.  In addition, many local National Guard and Reserve units have their own recognition programs for employers.  Getting your bosses name in an award and in the press for their support and understanding is always a great idea.


Have Your Boss Visit a National Guard or Reserve Drill.  The formal Boss Lift program as well as other National Guard and Reserve programs have the employers of military members come to a drill location and observe training, meet military commanders, and participate in select training events.  This is an excellent program that allows employers to deeply understand what military members do at their monthly drills and what it takes for a military member to be successful in the military.


Tell the Stories of Supporting the Local Community.  The National Guard and the Reserve are the local face of the military throughout the United States.  Help employers feel a part of this national level of support by telling the story of what the National Guard and Reserve does to support deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, fight forest fires, protect the community from flood waters, and serve as role models to the community.  All business leaders want to be connected to greatness and this is an excellent way to accomplish that connection.


Say Thank You and Mean It.  Military members should thank their employers for their support of the Military, the National Guard, and the Reserve.  It is a simple and meaningful gesture.



What Are Some Of Your Tips To Teach Your Employer About Service in The National Guard and Reserve?  Give your tips to make it easier for other members.


Additional Resouces:

  1. Managing Your Guard-Reserve Military Career & Your Civilian Career
  2. INSIGHT: Use Reserve or Guard Pay to Further Your Financial Goals
  3. Canceled Deployments – Do They Really Happen?

About the Blogger:

Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published 200 articles in 100 publications on career, business, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics.  Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better.  Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Creighton University.  Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.  Follow Chad @CombatToCorp and www.CombatToCorporate.com.