‘Softie in question: RJ Naugle
Job title: Senior PM Lead, Risk Reduction Team.
I’m also the co-lead of Microsoft’s Military Veteran Outreach and Recruiting Program – “We Still Serve.”
Did you join the military before or after college?
I graduated from Western Michigan University in ’03. 9/11 had obviously happened in the meantime. I come from a military family and am very patriotic. I had a good job offer on the table with a subsidiary of GM, but I decided to enlist in the army in order to serve my country.
I started as a supply specialist and then volunteered to go to airborne school and become an airborne paratrooper. I was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, with 1st Special Forces Group, Airborne. That’s where I met my wife. She’s a helicopter pilot. So – as the joke goes – she flies ‘em and I jump out of ‘em.
I later became an officer. We moved to Maryland and Kentucky where I worked as a civilian during the day, building quality assurance and process improvement systems, and was an active reservist in the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade.
I understand that the transition from military to civilian life and career can be quite difficult. Tell me about the process for you.
I was offered to go to flight school to become a pilot, but I would have had to stay in Kentucky. My wife is from Washington State and we had always planned to move back here. I started putting out my feelers to Microsoft and other companies in the Seattle area. I networked with a few veterans who could help me transition into the civilian sector, but there were no official veteran services here at Microsoft.
As for leaving the military: it is tough to give up something that you are so passionate about, especially your sense of service. Now, I fulfill that sense of service by helping to facilitate a smoother transition for other military veterans.
How did you get involved in that process?
I engaged some folks who had started an affinity group for veterans here at Microsoft. It’s called “The Microsoft Military Community,” focused on the support of our 500 plus members and committed to developing programs like the US Military Veteran Outreach and Recruiting Program – “We Still Serve”.
What are some of the things that you’re doing for veterans inside and outside of Microsoft?
“We Still Serve” is designed to support and assist transitioning veterans through the Microsoft recruiting process. We connect them with other veterans at Microsoft who act as advisors and can communicate what it means to be a Program Manager, Software Developer, etc. at Microsoft in correlation to military skills and specialties.
Visit our We Still Serve site.
Watch our video about Microsoft We Still Serve video below (updated 10/26/2010):