From a "Thank you", to "How can we help you?"
“Thank you for your service”— I think a lot of us feel compelled to tell our vets such a thing, and for the most part we mean it. But maybe, and I’m just guessing here, we say it a lot of times to appease ourselves. Comedian Louis CK has a joke about this: he’s on an airplane, riding first class, and he looks back and sees a young veteran, imagining giving his seat away so that the young man can enjoy the comforts of first class in exchange for his service.
“I’ve never even done it once,” he admits through a laugh. “I’ve never even come close. And here’s the worst part: I still just enjoyed the fantasy for myself to enjoy. I was actually proud of myself for having thought of it.”
An exaggeration of many of our own experiences, of course, but it probably still rings true (even if we’re hesitant to admit it). And this is probably even more true when such platitudes are uttered from the mouths of corporate talk pieces. It’s one thing to say thank you, another to fully comprehend the gravity of the thing you’re being thankful for, and yet another entirely to take the extra step and act on it.
We’re looking for people who have the power to do so to change what it means to say “thank you for your service”, and to turn it from a phrase that, while kind, doesn’t necessarily make a life flourish. Employers looking to say thank you to veterans, we think, might find luck in turning the phrase into, “How can we help you?”