What the U.S. Army Taught Me about Resiliency in the Corporate World

By:Trey Weber

November 11, 2021

Amplifying Veteran Voices

Editor’s Note: In 2020, SunPower announced the completion of the strategic spin-off of its manufacturing division into a separate business named Maxeon Solar Technologies, Ltd. As a result, SunPower has expanded its offerings to drive future growth. The SunPower Equinox® system now offers multiple panel options, including front- and back-contact panels, all of which are responsibly and rigorously quality tested to provide the best energy solution for your home.

Most of us didn’t expect to be navigating life through a global pandemic during the final months of 2021. It feels like it should all be a thing of the past by now. During these last couple of years, one word has stuck out in my mind. It describes what people across the globe have had to harness during the transitions that the pandemic has brought about. Resiliency. Resiliency is a characteristic that many veterans are very familiar with. It’s a great tool, especially when it comes to managing stress in and out of the workplace.

In May of 2020 during the height of the pandemic, I transitioned out of the military from serving as Captain for the United States Army. With the increasing unemployment rate of the time, this transition was peppered with challenges. But it was also the perfect opportunity for me to put skills I had previously developed managing logistics and supply chain to good use.

My previous experience of managing a team of over 120 personnel played well into my new job as a project coordinator supervisor for SunPower. Since its spin-off from Maxeon in the summer of 2020, SunPower has been rapidly growing. I’ve seen this firsthand. Within the past year, my team has more than doubled, which means that I have taken on a heavier workload. But I haven’t let the fast pace and growth become an obstacle. I have dealt with many high stress situations throughout my career. Some of them have involved the safety of my own life or the lives of my team and friends. This includes my time serving in Iraq and Syria for the Special Operations Joint Task Force. These experiences have taught me how to put stressful situations into perspective.

Hear me out: I certainly don’t want to discredit workplace stress, while it isn’t life or death, it is a very real and pressing issue. I know how overwhelming it can be. When stress tries to take over, I typically take a step back and assess the scenario for easy solutions. I’ve found that taking a deep breath and beginning the problem-solving process can help me tackle many of the issues that come my way. But it’s important to point out that working from home has created a unique set of challenges. We have all seen a lack of personal collaboration at times and less opportunities for team building than there used to be. But I’ve been discovering ways to tap into my former training and adjust to the virtual landscape.

Here are just a few ways I’ve been managing work-related stress from home:

Staying active

The military made this easy. We had to wake up every morning and exercise, regardless of if you wanted to or what the weather was like outside. After the Army, I made the decision to keep up with my health through working out and it paid off. It’s a scientific fact that exercise helps to release endorphins that support both mental and physical health. Breaking a sweat is how your body gets rid of toxins, and honestly, it just feels great to accomplish something tough.

I’ve found that staying active helps reduce built up stress throughout the work week. The activity doesn’t have to be strenuous either. A simple walk (with or without your dog) can be a nice change of pace from the virtual setting you’ve been around all day.

Getting fresh air

It’s no secret, we’re big fans of the sun here at SunPower. It’s the renewable energy source that helps our highly efficient solar panels generate electricity. But one of the downsides of the pandemic is that people don’t get out as much. They stay home most of the day, making the case for getting some fresh air and Vitamin D vital. Sunlight is famous for more than helping home and business owners generate their own electricity, it also serves as a mood booster. In other words, putting a plan into place to go outside daily can be a great stress reducer.

Fostering relationships

Most people interact with their co-workers several hours a day but communicating online has changed the dynamic. That’s why taking a moment from your work duties to check in with fellow team members is more important than ever. Not only does a quick social chat open the door for teamwork and collaboration, it can also be a nice break from the stress of the day. In fact, social interactions like these are common practice for business professionals around the globe. I experienced this firsthand in the Middle East working with our partner forces and local vendors where business meetings start off with a cup of tea and discussions around family. You can get down to business but first, take a second to check-in and see how your colleague is doing or what they’ve been up to.

Work in or out of the home can be stressful and some days that stress can even feel overwhelming. Practicing self-care during these moments can make a huge difference. Healthy stress management is just one of the many things that veterans in the workforce bring to the table. Stay tuned for more in our Amplifying Veteran Voices blog series. 

And don’t forget to help us thank a veteran for all they’ve given to our country by sharing about our Military Alliance Program. Veterans and active duty members of the military are eligible for an exclusive $1,000 VISA Reward Card rebate when they choose SunPower® solar solutions.