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Leadership in corporate world requires adjustment for vets

By LEO SHANE III | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 9, 2012

WASHINGTON — Sean Orquiola said the hardest part of working in a corporate office after his tour in Iraq was figuring out how to motivate himself and others in a business-friendly way.

“It’s frustrating when you realize that you can’t make civilian workers do push-ups or just yell at them to get things done,” said Orquiola, who spent seven years in the Marine Corps Reserve. “I was used to being able to take control of everything, and as a sales rep you can’t do that.”

The former sergeant now works as a solution architect at CDW, with nine years of experience in both the sales and technology consulting sides of the company. He’s also involved with CDW’s veterans hiring efforts, and shares his successes and frustrations with new military hires he sees moving into an unfamiliar work environment.

“It was definitely a hard transition for me,” he said. “When you’re back with the military [and headed downrange], you don’t have time to relax. At the snap of a finger you have to move.

“Then when you come back, it’s like riding a roller coaster, you still feel like you’re moving quickly.”

Orquiola said he tells fellow veterans not to be discouraged by the change, and to take on the problems as they would any other military task.

“I knew I could lead a team,” he said. “But I had to demonstrate that again. It’s frustrating, but I used that. I looked at it as a challenge.

“The military and the corporate world are the same, just structured differently. But you have to learn that.”

shanel@stripes.osd.mil

Twitter: @LeoShane
 

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