7 Things No One Will Ever Tell You About Working With Veterans
When I walked through the front door of our law firm nearly four years ago I was not quite prepared for what I was getting myself in to. I had never worked for a law firm, barely knew any attorneys and was working to finish my Master’s Degree in Corporate Communication. I was nervous to say the least. I was expecting everything to be like Law and Order. Or, for our younger audiences, I expected it to be like the set of “How to Get Away with Murder.” The world of Veterans Disability Law is nowhere near as glamorous as what you will see in the law offices on these shows. For me it’s much better. I have made a bunch of friends, had some life changing experiences, and realized most attorneys are just regular people. The one area in which I was not prepared for the most though, was working with Veterans. Here are 7 things no one will ever tell you about working with Veterans. (In VA Disability)
- Veterans know a lot about what is going on. Honestly, most of the Vets I talk to know quite a bit about what is going on with their cases, as well as the VA Disability process as a whole. A Veteran usually knows where his case is in the process, how long things take, and what to expect. This is in sharp contrast to the area in which I worked previously, pool/hot tub sales. Let’s just say that when someone walked in off the streets wanting a hot tub, I had to start somewhere after how waterworks. It wasn’t in an area in which a lot of people had knowledge. This was way back in 2005 before the internet was used for research as much as it is today. It’s actually quite refreshing having someone who knows the process asks you for help.
- You will get attached. Maybe this isn’t the case with everyone, but it’s definitely the case with me and the people I work with every day. I know I have talked about this in the past, but I genuinely enjoy getting to know Veterans. In the past couple of years, I have met NASCAR driver Austin Dillon, been to a Miley Cyrus concert, met countless NHL players, and even had a photo taken with Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead. Getting to know Veterans tops all of that. Also, I have very eclectic tastes. I have actually made friends with some of our clients after their cases are over. Our case managers get to experience this on an entirely different level. I can recall Jess talking with clients about football when fall started, or Tiffany talking to another Veteran about his horses. Our case managers get to form real bonds with their Veterans.
- You will get frustrated. My frustration and the frustration my coworkers feel is not with the Veterans themselves, it’s with the process of VA Disability. Because we get to know our clients so well, we also get frustrated with the VA when a claim comes back denied. Especially when there is a ton of evidence to support the claim. We are passionate about what we do.
- It can be emotional. Trust me, there is a huge difference in having to pretend to care when someone would tell me that their hot tub quit working and trying not to get too emotional when a Veteran has told you about some of the things he or she has encountered in their lives. While I don’t leave work in tears every day, it is a lot to process. This was especially true when I started working here at 27 years old and hearing individuals as young as 18 tell me about losing friends or getting sexually assaulted in the service. It’s not all bad emotions though. We are thrilled when a client gets a favorable decision. One instance in particular recall standing next to Heather, our lead VA Attorney, calling a client in which I had bonded with prior in his case. She was calling to tell him he was approved for a claim that we had been working for a very long time. I wanted to be there when she told him the good news.
- You will learn a lot. VA Disability is no walk in the park. I’ve been doing this for a while and I am still learning. Also, things are never black and white, so it can be quite confusing. Before seeing the trailer, I thought the movie “50 Shades of Gray” was about the 38 CFR. You also learn a lot about the military and how nuanced the institution as a whole is for the individuals who serve. A lot of experiences are the same, but the little differences make for many different views.
- It’s very rewarding. Regardless if it simply a Veteran telling me “thank you” for helping him out with a question, or letting a Veteran know that they are approved for 100% and can find a place to live now, it’s a feeling not too many other things can match. Just last week a young Veteran came in to become a new client of ours. A recent transition in the firm has me working with Veterans in person more, which is really cool. He was nervous at the start. However, while talking, he became more relaxed. This was someone who you could not help but like. When I left he thanked me because he felt more at ease. He said that because of our interaction he was not worried anymore. I’ve seen transition within individuals who I met at the beginning of the process and are much better now that their case is over and they are getting the benefits they deserve. Witnessing that change is powerful.
- It will make you proud. I work in the social media part of the time. That includes writing this blog, and of course being on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. You see a lot when you spend a large part of your day in social media. This person I know goes on and on about how much she loves her job because it pays so much and she gets to go on exotic trips to destinations like Orlando, Florida. (Sarcasm is intended there.) While there are certain perks to what I do, that is not why I like it. I get to tell people that I work with Veterans. The people who defend our country, and are often forgotten let me into their lives, get personal, and they allow me to be part of the representation for their VA Disability claim. I can honestly say I am proud of the work I do.
I may not always work in VA Disability, but when that time comes I still want to work with Veterans in some capacity. I never believed this is the type of work I’d be doing. I didn’t realize before that simple interaction with people I respect so much would be this positive.
I encourage you to call me today for a free phone consultation. I’d love to discuss your options and see if Jan Dils Attorneys at Law can help you get the benefits you deserve. Reach me toll-free at 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather we contact you at a different time, fill out this form now so that we may contact you later.