Searching for a civilian job after a career in the military, Tamar Jimenez knew she needed a company culture that prioritized true teamwork. She also hoped that her workplace would understand the value and transferable skills she was bringing to the table as a veteran — something that many veterans find missing in post-military roles.
Luckily, Jimenez found all that and more at XPO Logistics, where she is currently a Freight Operations Manager. Prior to this position, she worked on the international logistics side of the business, managing everything from sales to finance and customer service teams. Although the nature of her role has changed, the spirit of comradery she’s found at work has been constant.
“I chose to work at XPO Logistics because of its culture,” she explained. “Getting familiar with them via previous capacities, both as a customer and a vendor, it became apparent that the team concept was important. It was a primary variable which I longed to be a part of. The company’s business flow, inclusiveness and comradery are also second to none.”
Recently, Jimenez told us about the ways her team at XPO has helped her feel at home, as well as her advice to other women joining male-dominated industries.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I’ve been in this role for two months. Beforehand, I served as a Freight Operations Supervisor in Northern California, and prior to that I worked on the international logistics side managing sales, import, export, finance and customer service teams.
What factors were most important to you in transitioning from a military to civilian job?
I initially focused on furthering my education. Both my bachelor’s degree in Global Business Management and my MBA were made possible through the GI Bill and College Fund.
Deciding on a field of work was equally important and possibly even more pressing, yet remembering my admiration for the intricacy of logistics during my first deployment solidified my choice.
Are there any challenges associated with that transition that people may not be aware of?
The most common challenge associated with the transition is the translation of one’s military rate (MOS) to civilian terms. Explaining your experience and how your skills apply to civilian positions in an interview can be doubly challenging, so practice well.
What did XPO Logistics do to help ease the transition, and how have you felt supported working here?
I chose to work at XPO Logistics because of its culture. Getting familiar with them via previous capacities, both as a customer and a vendor, it became apparent that the team concept was important. It was a primary variable which I longed to be a part of. The company’s business flow, inclusiveness and camaraderie are also second to none. Along the way, I have come across colleagues at XPO who also served, and the Military Recruiting Team has been phenomenal in helping us all feel at home.
Do you believe your military background has provided you with any unique perspectives or talents that aid your career today?
My military background has provided key perspectives to processes and protocol. Discipline is crucial in my industry, as is diversity. Moreover, ensuring that each member understands their role and how truly vital they are to the organizational success is paramount, and it is through the military that I have learned how to bring these variables together for the organization's success.
What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day?
First thing I do is check in with my teams to be sure everyone is focused, operating safely and in good spirits. The last thing I do each day is reflect on what I can do better tomorrow.
What about outside of work — how do you most enjoy spending your time?
I serve as a mentor at my old university and at a local women’s shelter for single mothers who need help getting established, permanently housed and rehabilitated. I also love spending time with my three daughters, hiking, road trips and reading.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women, and especially other women veterans, who are looking for jobs right now?
I encourage all my mates to support each other, rise above and to not let go of their self-drive. For women, I would recommend that they stay true to their goals and not let the path overshadow your destination. For those who are joining a male-dominated workforce, I say embrace the challenge and do not be discouraged by having to prove yourself out there every day as if it is your first.
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