Joining the DaVita Village as a Veteran
Our unique culture creates an environment that people look for in an organization and we are fortunate enough to have created this special place. However, it can sometimes take an extended period of time for teammates to embrace our culture. Being a Veteran created additional challenges for me because I also needed to adapt and overcome my previous military culture.
Eleven years of being molded and trained to operate a certain way at a very young, impressionable age is difficult to change. I stepped foot into the corporate world, and after struggling to adapt in college, this was just another battle for myself to conquer. I knew I could “survive” this new environment because I didn’t have to worry about being physically threatened each and every morning going to work. The new threat was unfamiliar now because it wasn’t anything physical from an enemy, it was an emotional threat brought on by a known enemy: myself. Self-doubt, negative self-talk and feeling unworthy was brought on by my own thoughts, or stories I created to protect myself coming into this Village because I knew I was different: I was now a Veteran.
Abandoning 14-16 hour work days in an engine room onboard a naval vessel where my work environment reached upwards of 150 degrees+ while riding massive waves, and not being responsible for an entire crew floating in the middle of the Indian Ocean upon joining the Village was head scratching.
How am I supposed to fit in here? It’s hard to explain to teammates the “why” behind the difficult transition for a Veteran. However, as I learned to find the similarities of both cultures, I began to understand my role in the Village more and more. The team and accountability aspects of our core values stood out to me because these were values of the Navy that helped me become successful in my military career. I began using the similarities as a foundation for myself being an active veteran citizen to make impacts in my new environment. I learned that what I do at work or in my community can impact others in many ways. At DaVita we call this creating ripples in our community, which provided me that sense of purpose I lost when I left my military service.
I started to use my skills from the Navy as a Logistics Specialist, to seek resources and programs offered by DaVita. Surprisingly enough, DaVita was more than a military friendly company–they were intentionally striving to be one of the best companies for Veterans to work at. The Village is an 11-time GI Jobs Military Friendly award winner, 9-time Military Times Best For Vets Employer, 8-time Military Friendly Spouses Employer recipient and a 2013 Freedom Award Winner Lifetime Achievement Award.
I learned year after year and award after award that this wasn’t just a place that says they are military friendly–they show that they are through their programs. A few programs that helped me grow in the Village were The Star Troopers Program, where we honor our veteran patients, teammates, physicians, send care packages and letters to troops. Then there’s TAMS, Thriving After Military Service, and V2V, Veterans to Village, programs that focused on my transition and to help me overcome the new threat to myself and achieve success in this new place called the Village.
Through it all, my time in the Village has been a great transition, and I couldn’t have imagined myself being with another company, doing what I do day in and day out. The Village provides the sense of purpose I was seeking after the military and accepted me for who I was. but also provided me the resources and support I needed to become a successful teammate in this Village.