My advice to Veteran job seekers

Robert Resendez, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist


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Robert Resendez is a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist at VA—a position that allows him to coach Veterans living with serious mental illness as they recover and learn to live meaningful lives. His own career has been marked by jobs that he’s been passionate about—from air traffic control in the Air Force to working with Veterans both at the Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Me and Col Marr 001In his current role, he gets the most satisfaction from simply sitting, talking with, and listening to the Veterans in his care. He tells the story of one Veteran, who had years of experience and a master’s degree in his field, but wanted to change paths to be a custodian.

Robert’s advice was simple. “I tell my Veterans that they have to enjoy what they’re doing to be good at it, and that’s it. That will determine your job satisfaction, not whether or not it is prestigious,” he says.

When asked what other pieces of advice he has for job seekers, especially Veterans, he emphasizes the importance of using all of the resources available to you. Employers, he argues, can be picky when looking to fill a position, and it’s up to you to stand out as an applicant. The best way to do so is to have someone vouch for you.

“I was working with a General at one point, and he told me to let him know if I ever needed anything at all. I asked him right then for a letter of recommendation,” says Robert.

Like many, Robert has found the value in Veterans helping other Veterans, but he believes that it is a shared responsibility. Using his resources, both personal and professional, helped him along the way in his career, and its something he knows will make the difference in finding the right job.

If you’re interested in learning more about a job serving Veterans, like Robert, visit VAcareers.va.gov.

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VA Careers

Comments

  1. Thom Bryant, JD,MRP,USMC    

    A marine is imprisoned in Rancho Cucamonga HELP ?!!

  2. randy mills    

    On my earlier post about being fired- ” I did not intentionally mean for anyone that was working at the VA to be harmed or anything. I really believe that I was doing the right thing and only to do that for my health and others. However it turns out- ” I honestly pray that God will bring about good stuff to this VA and others. I never have had any beefs with the VA until this.It was not “THE VA I was having an issue with. I even think that all concerned believe that they were in compliance with the regulations. Maybe I am wrong and they are right. Oh-” there was that time when the good doctor removed 3 pieces of my lung in an attempt to perform a liver biopsy. There was ultra-sound available but he said if he thumped it and it sounded like a ripe watermelon -“That would be my liver ! I guess mine was not ripe enough. But all is forgiven and it really has worked out for my good rather than harm. Thanks,Randy

  3. randy mills    

    Hello,my name is Randy Mills. Do you know if there are any rules governing how “Compensated Work Therapy” (CWT) participants are to be treated while working in the “VA” Hospital. To begin, “I was fired from my CWT position on April 3,2015. I had been working in the “VA” hospital-Omaha,NE. since March 2,2015.The reason I was fired is that I had refused to place potentially infectious “Bio-Waste” into a regular,clear plastic, trash bag.I also refused to place these bags (20-30 bags) into the large, regular trash compactor and dispose of it in a wrongful,illegal,and dangerous manner. It posed an immediate and immanent danger to those who “WOULD” come into contact with it!! I explained to my supervisor the previous night I could not do such a thing !I was working in another area and had placed Bio-Waste in the proper containers as well.It is a “CRIME” against humanity and the regulations. History bears that out. We have laws to protect us-not to harm us.I could not do as he had ordered.I would not jeopardize myself or others to expose anyone to Bio-Waste and I took what I still believe was the right course of action. It angered him very much. A dangerous assignment for these reasons- “It was a clear and present danger of exposing myself and others to “Other Potentially Infectious Materials” known to OSHA as “OPIM”. I learned that terminology after I was fired! I was putting these regular trash bags into red, Bio-Waste bags marked with the “Bio-Waste” warning. I then placed these Bio-bags into a red,Bio-Waste container; labeled those with the correct, adhesive stickers to comply with “OSHA” regulations.I asked my supervisor why the correct and safe way was not being adhered for the disposal method. He said- “IT COSTS MORE MONEY TO SHIP IT AS BIO-WASTE THAN TO PUT IT IN THE REGULAR TRASH COMPACTOR” ! ! ! Once again I explained that it was an illegal act,a dangerous act,and against all ethics in Health and Safety for all concerned. That night I went home as usual and heard nothing more about it. But I did not do as I had been ordered. I would not have placed anyone in such a precarious situation of not knowing what were in those contaminated bags to possibly harm them. On the night of April 3,2015, a full-time regular “VA” employee working in my assigned area called my supervisor and told him I was placing “regular trash into Bio-Waste bags.My supervisor then called me. He said for me to stop and do it as he had ordered. I told him that I could not do that because it was a crime and if it was going to continue- “I would call the “VA” police and report him for such unlawful and dangerous act.I also told the person working with me the same. About 10 minutes later my supervisor and his supervisor came and asked me for the keys I had been given. I complied without incident.My supervisor then said to me- “We don’t need you anymore and for me to leave. This I did but I explained to both of them that I had tried to persuade or work with them on this issue but it had been in vain. He had told me earlier in the phone call that “He did not care who I called ! So I made a report to the “VA” police.Then I called the NATIONAL RESPONSE CENTER” They in turn notified other agencies such as the EPA,the CDC,OSHA,and a few more that slip my mind at this time. My supervisor had said that he did not care who I called. I agreed.I thought it to be the right thing to do.Granted,” I should have utilized the chain of command. I have an impulsive behavior and do not always think through an idea I conceive. I was angry,hurt,frustrated,and humiliated.I allowed my emotions to control my behavior and once again find myself in a situation I did not think through. I regret that decision now but once again- I do have impulsive and inpatient behavior sometimes.It is something I have been working on in my continued sobriety(8 months) and will continue to work on. I want my job back! I realize that it may not be in housekeeping anymore but somewhere in or around the hospital. I spoke with the “VA” union rep. yesterday and she advised me that since I was not an employee-but an outpatient in the CWT program that she may not be able to help me but she would try.”OSHA” says that I am an employee of the federal government and thus cannot be covered under their regulations as a”WhistleBlower” . I really don’t think of myself as a “WhistleBlower” I have been called other things,but never that.Could you maybe explain or guide me to whatever to find out what I am ? I know I am a service connected, (8 years of service) disabled American veteran. I know I am a citizen of a great nation.But right now I am an unemployed (all of the above) former CWT- patient-worker ? ? etc. I needed that job. I was using that money to pay creditors and get by on. Can you direct me as to who and what might cover outpatient CWT persons/non-government employees/federally employed persons who do not have a clue what to do when these situations arise. Also the Bio-Waste I refused to place in the regular trash was human feces,urinary jugs w/without urine,urinary catheter tubing from patients w/without urine and blood,gloves that may have been contaminated and gloves that were visibly contaminated,gauze w/without blood ,oxygen tubing from patients ,etc.. Just the usual run of the mill bloodborne pathogens and “OTHER POTENTIAL INFECTIOUS MATERIALS” that can and do cause,Hepatitis B,C ,HIV (Aids) and all manner of diseases-infections. The “VA” hospital in the Omaha facility policy does or did have the policy ” “It is only Bio-Waste if it is dripping with blood or soaking up blood.” I think maybe a revision came into effect this week from unseen forces that may have caused such a revision. I do not know. I have surgery on the 14th. of this month.Tuesday. ! ! WOW ! ! I may loose something but look at what I might get to take home with me. Thanks for reading this. You had mentioned a general had said to you -“Let me know if there is anything I can do for you and did so immediately. Wish I had the spontaneity sometimes to make impulsive decisions that would not get me in trouble.! ! ! Have A GREAT DAY. Please don’t forget about me. Who do I call? Thanks,Randy Mills

    1. Gary Hicks    

      In the military, we learned to always try to solve matters at the lowest possible level. If that does not work, move the problem up the chain of command: supervisor, director etc. VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline receives, screens, and refers OIG mission-related complaints within VA. Cases are accepted on a select basis regarding issues having the most potential risk to veterans, VA programs and operations, or for which the OIG may be the only avenue of redress. More information is available at http://www.va.gov/oig/hotline/.

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