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A Veteran's Story: Who Wants to Rest at Pike's Peak with Mount Everest Still to Climb?

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By: James R. | Change Management Specialist | Engineering

I lucked out. Nestlé Purina (Ralston Purina at the time) was my first job out of college over 20 years ago. I was a Financial Analyst with Protein Technologies International (PTI) for almost five years after that. During my tenure, PTI was sold off to DuPont and shortly thereafter, I left to pursue other opportunities.

Over several years, I worked for other good companies in St. Louis, including Maritz Loyalty Marketing and Wells Fargo Advisors, but always wanted to return to the Purina Family. I use the word "family" intentionally. Back then it was Ralston Purina. Then, like now, they provided the opportunity to build some very close and strong relationships with your co-workers. It's like being part of something bigger than myself or even my immediate team objectives.

Nestlé Purina really helps associates have a good understanding of how their specific job functions contribute to the big picture for the Company. It's this "wholeness" that brought me back to the Company years later. I had always felt a strong pull to return to a good, strong company. And then it happened. A former co-worker reached out to see if I was interested in pursuing a position on the Transition Management Team (Engineering).

In my mind, a Mount Everest opportunity was in front of me and Pike's Peak was in the past. So I approached the base of this climb and interviewed with several potential team members.

Today, I am a Change Management Specialist. I've had the opportunity to work at most of our factories in North America on several software and manufacturing equipment implementations. No two projects have been the same, and no two project teams have been the same. This keeps things challenging, interesting and fun.

My prior military experience had a lot to do with how I approached this new opportunity. It taught me flexibility, patience and improved my decision-making skills. Some believe that military service produces people that are rigid in their thinking and only trained to take orders. While that can be true to some extent, it equates more so to a highly motivated associate that is familiar with working in ambiguous situations, is flexible in their thinking, has a strong sense of teamwork and is very loyal. In my opinion, one of the best qualities on a veteran's résumé is that we are willing, able and ready to step into levels of responsibility that the job will require.

So if you know of other veterans looking for a great opportunity, please pass along a few tips:

  • Be aware that Nestlé Purina offers opportunities here in St. Louis and around the world
  • Put to use the many Military Skills Translator tools that are available; these can assist you in matching the skills and experience you gained while serving to civilian occupations
  • Read the job descriptions on our Careers Website fully to document how the skills, knowledge and experience gained in serving your country make you a good candidate for that job
  • Consider other avenues for entry into the company – contracting, internships and Management Development Programs
  • Go for it and don't let yourself or anyone else sell your experience short