How one veteran’s passion for service is driving FourBlock into the Lone Star State.
Service: U.S. Marine Corps, 20 years
Education: University of Maryland, College Park
Major: Government & Politics
FourBlock Affiliation: Texas Program Manager | West Coast Support
Hobbies: Reading, running
Queta Rodriguez, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, recently joined FourBlock as the foundation’s Texas Program Manager.
In anticipation of launching FourBlock’s first-ever program in Dallas, we spoke with Rodriguez to discuss her own transition journey, her desire to serve, and how she’s utilizing that experience and passion to drive FourBlock into previously uncharted territory.
FourBlock: What barriers did you face during your transition from active duty back into civilian life?
Rodriguez: Like many transitioning service members, I had no idea how to translate my skills and experiences to “civilian speak.” I knew what I was capable of and thought anyone reading my resume would see what a great asset I would be to their company. I was so wrong. The very first job I applied for was as an Administrator with an environmental company. I knew I would be great in the role and just knew they would see that too. I didn’t even get an interview.
I also did not plan appropriately for the loss of pay and benefits so adjusting to a new quality of life, although temporary, was a challenge.
What civilian jobs have you held since transitioning out of active duty? How were your experiences?
My first job was Operations Manager for a law firm. I thought going into law was what I wanted to do. Again, it was not a good fit. I quit after about 8 months.
A few months after I left my first job out of the military, I was hired as a Director of Veterans Services, working in local government. I always knew service was my passion, and I loved my job. Being able to serve transitioning military, veterans and their families has been one of my greatest privileges.
After 5 years working in local government, I’m excited to expand my experience by working with a national non-profit like FourBlock. I am truly honored to have been given the privilege to continue my service to those who have served.
What drove you to become involved with FourBlock?
I was really looking to continue serving our military and veteran community. FourBlock is doing such incredible work inspiring and equipping veterans and service members to reach their potential. Our nation’s veterans have so much to offer our civilian sector and being able to help bridge their military service to civilian careers helps not just veterans and their families but contributes to our companies and organizations in a meaningful way. It makes us better as a community, positively impacts our economy and our country.
What is it you like most about FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program?
What I think makes FourBlock so special is its university-accredited curriculum that not only gives you skills like resume writing and interview skills, but more importantly it challenges you to look inward, to do a deep dive into what really motivates and inspires you. Anyone can get a job. Finding a meaningful and rewarding career is more challenging.
What one piece of key advice would you give to veterans who are currently transitioning?
Put in the work to prepare for your transition and don’t settle for just a job. Work towards reaching your potential.