Florent Groberg shares the many transitions in his life – growing up in France, living in Spain, moving to America, learning to speak English, his uncle's murder, the impact of 9/11, joining the army, tackling a suicide bomber, and receiving the medal of honor. He discusses the difficulties of leaving the army and becoming a civilian.
- So, my entire life, since I was a little boy, my life has been filled with different obstacles and different changes, and periods of transition where I had to be adaptable and flexible. I grew up in France, I lived in Spain for a year, came back to France, then I had to go to the United States where I had to completely learn a new language, make new friends, adapt myself and be flexible in a new culture. Then, I got to high school.
In high school, you know, I had to play a new sport, make new friends again, but I had to learn a little bit more about myself and I had to go follow my parents instructions and the way they raised me, but really find myself as a human being and as a future adult. But I also had in the back of my mind the situation that happened with my family, the pain that we went through when my uncle was killed, and that I knew I wanted to do something forward, but I had to be patient, I had to be resilient, and I went to school.
You know, and that same thing happened right there when I went to college. I was excited, I was ready, and then 9/11 happened and that just threw me into a whirlwind. And again, I had to stand my ground, come up with a plan, but follow through. And then when I got out of school there was another obstacle in my way, I wanted to be in the army, but I was still French, so I had to go out there and renounce my French citizenship and that took 18 months, so I had to be patient, never give up, always understand that I was on a path and I was going to go seek through it.
And in the military, I was going on a successful career, and then August of 2012 happened where that door closed shut in eight seconds. Everything, my entire life, everything I had envisioned and planned for, that was gone in eight seconds, and I had to make that transition and I wasn't ready. In the hospital, I spent months beating myself to death over what had happened.
Survivor's guilt, angry, I didn't want anybody around me. But it took other warriors to reel me back in and give me that hope. I needed a support system, I needed people to believe in me the way I believed in them, but I couldn't believe in them because I didn't believe in myself. And what they did is they made me feel good about who was again, they gave me a purpose to continue on, a mission to continue on, and I was able to find myself again and move on.
But then, I had to transition, and I had to transition from the military mindset, that military self, in body and uniform into the civilian world and I was scared, I didn't know how to go about it. And again, I went back to the things I learned my entire early life. I cannot do it alone, I need to find successful people who had walked in my shoes, who understood where I came from.
I needed to learn from them, but I needed to ask for help and guidance. From my high school coaches, and prior to that from my father and mother, but from my high school coaches to Sergeant First Class Corey Staley, to Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee at the hospital who helped me find myself again, to now one of the biggest transitions that will ever happen out of the military into corporate America, to the civilian world.
My new friend Jerrad Shepard, a veteran who had served in the infantry but who had successfully transitioned and who was willing to go out there and teach me the ropes, take me under his wing, but I had to listen to him, and I wouldn't do that at first, but eventually I did. And because of a veteran who I trusted everything in who gave it all back to me, I was able to successfully transition out of the military into the civilian world, into corporate America.
And today, it is my mission to do the same for other veterans.
Discover how to understand your strengths and value, where your skills fit into today's job market, and how to translate your experience into a solid resume. Learn how a mentor can help you navigate the transition and open up new opportunities. With Flo's advice, you can find a new purpose and continue the journey you started in the military—bringing your talents to bear on a whole new mission in life.
- Taking initiative
- Understanding your value
- Translating your experiences
- Building your resume
- Using a mentor
- Setting realistic expectations
- Building a network
- Transitioning into a new job
- Bonus videos featuring stories of transition from veterans