Take Time to Write and Solicit LinkedIn Recommendations

Today, it might feel like transition has slowed down. You may have approached your separation with excitement and enthusiasm, but suddenly find that the civilian sector stopped abruptly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviews aren’t scheduled as quickly, offers aren’t made as quickly, and you have time on your hands. Now is a great time to write LinkedIn recommendations for people in your network, and to ask for some from your close contacts.

Why Recommendations?

Recommendations on LinkedIn carry weight and influence. They are written by someone with a LinkedIn profile (so the viewer can check out the author’s credentials) and, if done correctly, recommendations can speak to your value, skills and experience in ways you can’t.

When you write your LinkedIn profile, you know you must promote your accomplishments. This is not the time to be obscure and subtle when highlighting your value. If you’ve done great things and are capable of creating tremendous value for your employer, you can share that on LinkedIn. You’ll list your job experiences, point to the results of your actions, and share the many ways you serve your communities through volunteerism.

But how do you say what a great person you are? How do you let potential employers know that you’re someone who’s overcome obstacles in life? Either would be difficult to say about yourself. This is where recommendations come in. A focused and well-crafted recommendation can say things about you that would be awkward to say about yourself.

How to Write a Recommendation

When writing a recommendation for someone else, start by asking whether there are any topics, qualities or skills they would like you to highlight. Hopefully, they have a personal brand strategy with specific keywords they are promoting on their profile. Use those.

Make sure you speak only about what you know. Don’t feel you have to stretch beyond your knowledge and comfort. For instance, if you’re asked to write a recommendation that points to skills you haven’t witnessed or claims to have experienced their character in ways you haven’t, you open yourself up to risk that could harm your credibility. When in doubt, leave it out.

Note the value of your recommendation to them and their future success. For instance, I am in the branding and marketing business. If I write a recommendation for a graphic designer, it would carry a lot of weight, since I’m an expert in the field. That carries a lot of responsibility for me to be sure I’m careful about who I recommend publicly.

Similarly, say you were to write a recommendation for a soldier you served with, one who is transitioning to a career in graphic arts. You know them to be resilient, focused and patient because of the context from the Army. Are you qualified to speak about their creativity, imagination and computer skills unless you have experienced those as well?

How to Ask for a Recommendation

Asking for a recommendation on LinkedIn can feel like asking someone to tell others that you’re nice/cool/fun/worthy. But LinkedIn recommendations are not popularity gestures, they are strategic brand builders.

Ask for a recommendation from someone you trust, who’s seen your work or experienced your value. Then, offer to assist them in crafting the recommendation. You might suggest the keywords they could include that are most meaningful to you or the area of focus you are striving for.

Do you want the recommendation to speak to your past (what you did in the military) or what they believe you’ll contribute in the future? Do you seek a recommendation that speaks to your character and integrity or one that highlights your unique skills and talents? When you drive the formation of the recommendation, you are controlling the narrative around how you’ll be presented.

When time permits, LinkedIn recommendations are great to give and get. Be sure to periodically reorder them on your profile so the most relevant ones are on top, not just the most recent. This means you are being strategic about how your LinkedIn profile communicates your value.

Source: Military.com

My Last Reenlistment into Navy

On August 3, 2019 I reenlisted back into the Navy Reserves after successfully reaching 20 years of Naval service. I intend to retire from Naval service in 2023 to pursue a new career. Here are the the pictures that capture my moment during and after ceremony.

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Stonewall’s 50th Anniversary a Topic in the Classroom

The history of the Stonewall’s riot remains largely forgotten—and unknown among young people. In the cultural imagination, it remains shrouded in myth. But the true Stonewall story can be taught.

It was just past 1:00 a.m. in New York City on Saturday, June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn. Patrons wouldn’t have been surprised when the officers arrived—LGBTQ-friendly bars were regularly raided. Ostensibly, these raids were to punish those selling liquor without a license or to arrest those “soliciting homosexual relations.” In reality, they were often used to justify the detention or humiliation of LGBTQ people.

We know that people gathered outside on Christopher Street, where those released from the Stonewall Inn met up with allies from the neighborhood and nearby bars. We know that the crowd (which at one point formed a “can-can” line directed toward officers) grew angry as police used brute force and billy clubs against lesbian and trans women showing the least bit of resistance. We know that early on, the crowd threw trash and coins―a nod to the payoffs that could sometimes be counted on to prevent such raids.

What graduated this tense standoff into several nights of violent uprising remains a point of contention. Coins and trash became bricks and flaming cocktails. Windows were shattered. And if the violence had ever truly been contained to just the police officers and those they were arresting, it soon wasn’t. We don’t know for certain who threw the first brick, the first Molotov cocktail or the first punch, but we do know this: The protesters at Stonewall weren’t just fighting back against this single act of violent injustice. They were standing up against a system of repeated oppression, humiliation and dehumanization.

The fight that took place on Christopher Street is often called a riot; other times, it’s labeled an uprising. No matter the word attached to what happened at Stonewall, this much is clear: It was a refusal to give in to law enforcement’s demands and go quietly.

Why This History Matters

On a micro level, the Stonewall raid represented an attack on LGBTQ people’s right to be themselves in public. It wasn’t the first. Genny Beemyn, the director of The Stonewall Center at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, explains that the queer community at the time faced regular police raids of their communal spaces. They couldn’t socialize openly.

“It was a community fighting back that had had enough of police brutality and being oppressed,” Beemyn says.

On a macro level, the raid represented the criminalization of queer identities. LGBTQ people were not just detained for going out in public. They were often imprisoned for what they did in private. It’s hard to understand the uprising’s intensity without fully appreciating those stakes.

Teaching Stonewall Beyond the “First Brick”

The story of the Stonewall Uprising is—in the cultural imagination—a story of bricks. And in celebrating the 50th anniversary of what many consider the origin of Pride events and the catalyst for the LGBTQ rights movement, people will talk about bricks. We will hear stories of the first brick thrown toward police. We will hear stories about who threw it. We will hear stories about how this brick incited a riot and, thus, changed history.

Many credit pioneering trans activist Marsha P. Johnson for throwing that first brick. But it’s not the only first that defines the story as we’ve chosen to remember it. Many believe that Stormé DeLarverie—a black, lesbian activist—is the famous thrower of the first punch; the one who turned to onlookers and demanded, “Why don’t you guys do something?!” Others credit trans activist Sylvia Rivera for throwing the first bottle or Molotov cocktail. And yet, Johnson herself clarified that she didn’t arrive at the riots until “the place was already on fire.” Rivera said she didn’t throw the first cocktail. Their words have been drowned out by their legend.

The story of the Stonewall Uprising is—in the cultural imagination—a story of bricks. Bricks thrown. Bricks unbroken. Bricks unburnt. The bar’s brick wall and two archway doors still stand despite the system that tried to dismantle them.

But outside of the two states where LGBTQ history is mandatory curriculum, that increased recognition hasn’t translated to K–12 schools, where Stonewall is rarely mentioned. Its history, among young people, remains largely unknown.

And even a monument cannot keep Stonewall’s more complicated story alive. Not every student will see the neon sign now proudly hanging in the bar’s window. Few will ever walk down Christopher Street, and even if they do, they will not find the Greenwich Village that Rivera, Johnson and DeLarverie knew. The broken glass, stray coins and trash have long since been swept from the street.

But an educator can help lead students there. They need not throw bricks; they only must lay them.

Read the rest of this article here.

Joe Biden, Ally, Stops at Stonewall Inn

The presidential candidate, whom many have declared the frontrunner among the two-dozen Democratic nominees, popped into the storied New York City gay bar on Tuesday night, NBC News reports — the same establishment where, 50 years ago this month, a routine (and typically humiliating or sometimes violent) police raid gave way to the rebellion that many historians consider to be the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. Well, it’s not the same establishment. After the 1969 riots, Stonewall opened and closed a few times, and everything inside is totally different. But you know what I mean! Same place!

Check out the full article at OUT website.