As a major in the California Army National Guard, I generally know in advance when I'll be activated for military service. But this year, everything was different: Between the COVID-19 response and the California wildfires, I've taken military leave from my job at Google as a strategy and operations lead more than a few times. I was gone for three months to help with the COVID-19 response, followed by another week-long activation.
Helping my community during these difficult times has been both draining and fulfilling. When I’m activated on short notice, my team at Google immediately steps in to cover my work while I’m gone. I feel remarkably supported by my peers and manager and recognize how fortunate I am to work at a company that respects and welcomes people with part-time active duty military roles like me, as well as other veterans and their families.
Not only do I feel supported by my colleagues at Google, I am incredibly proud that Google financially supports those of us on active and inactive military duty through a generous military leave policy. Google pays 100 percent of their Google salary for the first 30 calendar days of their duty. After that, Google will pay the difference military pay so the reservist, guardsman or guardswoman continues to receive close to 100 percent of their Google salary for the duration of their service for up to five years.
While we honor veterans on Veterans Day, Google is deeply committed to supporting the community through programs, training and tools all year round. Just in the past few weeks, Google announced leave benefits for military spouses and Serving Veterans, a new mental wellness resource hub for veterans and their families. Google also recently launched a virtual career series for veterans who might be interested in exploring Google careers. If you are looking for a new job, you can type “jobs for veterans” into Google Search and then enter your military occupation specialty code or equivalent to see jobs that match the skills you’ve learned in your military experience. On today’s U.S. homepage, you’ll see a very special Doodle created by Texas-based Air Force veteran and guest artist, Jenn Hassin. The sculptural Doodle is created with hundreds of handmade paper rolls made from veteran-donated uniforms of five branches of the military.
Google has also long-supported veterans and military families who run their own businesses. Businesses run by veterans can add the “Veteran-Led” attribute to their Google Business Listing on Google Search and Maps in a few easy steps. Since November includes not only Veterans Day, but is also National Veterans Small Business Week, I also want to mention the Grow with Google for Veterans and Military Families resources developed for veterans and military spouses who want to boost their career skills or build their businesses.
Grow with Google recently hosted a virtual workshop to help veteran-led businesses thrive and a panel discussion with Jen Pilcher of Patriot Boot Camp and Charles Cathlin of TruGenomix about how they’ve grown their businesses online. Visit Grow with Google On Air to watch the free recording of this event.
One of these is Grow with Google’s Primer app lesson called “Build Digital Skills to Adapt And Grow Your Veteran-led Business.” The quick tutorial features tips for how to manage your business’ sales, operations, finances and more—all with easy online tools. You can download the Primer app in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to access this content on your mobile device. Just search for “veteranled” in the app to find this lesson.
Google doesn’t only focus its support on military members; military families are just as important. Many of these efforts are led by Mary Spence, a Google program manager and an Army spouse.
One resource Grow with Google helped create is the MilSpouse Career Roadmap. In partnership with Hiring our Heroes, this Google.org grant-funded research study surveyed more than 1,500 military spouses to create an interactive hub. It provides a variety of tools and resources that help military spouses find and build portable careers—including Google’s remote work search feature—plus education and employment resources from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program.
These are just some of the ways military members like myself, veterans, and our families are supported as part of the Google community. To hear my story and those of other Googlers in the military community, visit the Life at Google YouTube channel featuring Veterans at Google.