Veterans are oftentimes encouraged to share their stories. It can bring a greater sense of understanding of what it was like to serve. Just like any personal story, this decision should not be taken lightly. Not everyone is equipped to hear the story. In the day and age of social media, everyone seems more than eager to put their business out there. So much so, that the concern for privacy and discretion seems to have gotten blurry. As more service members embrace their civilian lives, it can come with pressure to ‘put themselves out there’ to people who may not be ready for them.

For those seeking to understand a veteran’s story and have the emotional intelligence to best process the information, this can be a great way to bring awareness and connect with those around us. For those curious about the military life but have some subconscious bias to sort through, story time can increase fears and concerns. The reality is that while it is certainly noble to be vulnerable with our community, it may not always be well-received and can be easily misunderstood.


Earlier on in my transition, I ventured on to social media. Up through this point in my life, I had no social media and highly valued my privacy. This was a huge step for me to ‘put myself out there,’ and I left no stone unturned in my decision process. I knew that I had to be strategic on who I was connecting with, and I had a vision of a  professional roundtable for my network. From that point, the messaging and target audience collaboration has been a work in progress ever since. As I began making and sharing content, I found my stride in how to best share with my community. I decided to share with authenticity and candor for the veteran and military community. Knowing that my content and stories were not intended for everyone made a big difference in my expectations moving forward.

In many ways, the journey to navigate the world of social media as a veteran mirrors the challenges faced in the workplace. Just as you have to carefully consider the audience for any stories shared online, veterans transitioning into civilian careers often find themselves in professional settings where sharing military experiences requires a nuanced approach. The workplace can be as diverse as the online community, with colleagues who may or may not understand the complexities of military service. It’s essential to exercise the same discernment here, ensuring that your stories and experiences are shared with those who can genuinely appreciate them.


Over the years, there have been various emotions and experiences tied to sharing personal stories, both in social settings and the workplace. There were moments when individuals who couldn’t fully grasp my experiences tried to discourage me from sharing my truth. They would challenge these experiences and even attempt to discredit them. Naturally, I was prepared for the occasional confrontations, akin to the elusive trolls found on various platforms. I didn’t expect to be an exception, but I believed I was equipped because I had a clear strategy. I always kept my target audience in mind and found ways to connect with them, despite occasional disruptions from unanticipated critics. Staying true to my ‘battle rhythm’ and communication style, I embraced a fundamental piece of advice for any transitioning service member aiming to share their stories: your narratives won’t resonate with everyone, and that’s perfectly fine!


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Carin Richelle Sendra is a Post 9/11 USAF Veteran that served both in active duty as well as D.O.D security contracting OCONUS. She has spent time in both the private and public sector working within the Human Capital space assisting organizations to train and develop their teams. She has spent time as a lecturer for academic and professional development. Carin has spent several years supporting the military and veteran community while offering her unique perspective that many veterans encounter post-service. She has a Master's degree in Management studies from The University of Redlands and a certificate from Cornell University on The Psychology of Leadership.