On this November 11th, we remember and honor the countless veterans who have served and sacrificed so much for our freedoms. We are fortunate to have the privilege of working alongside veterans here at Absolute, and this week I had the chance to catch up with a few of them to ask what it was like to serve. Listening to their stories was really uplifting, and I am pleased to be able to share a little of our conversation.
“Back in 1982 while attending college, I was debating whether to serve in the military,” started Jeff Everton, Absolute’s senior director of sales readiness. “My parents told me at the time that it would be worthwhile getting to have some real-world experience besides just book smarts, so I applied to the US Navy and went on to study advanced strategic weapons systems electronics, which was an intense program just to become a submariner. When I was at my 10-year mark, I had to decide whether to go into technology and get out of the military, or make a full career of it, so I chose to leave and went to a training position at Dell. It’s hard to believe that I spent a full three years of my life under water in submarines.”
“I served in the National Guard for eight years,” said Natalya Rashchupkina, a technical writer with the Security, Risk and Compliance team. “My dad was in the military in the Ukraine. I did not plan to join the military. When I graduated with my bachelor's degree, I didn't really know what my options were. I lived in New York City, but what do you do with a Sociology degree. A few months after graduation, I enlisted. I picked an IT job with a bonus, medical care, student loan repayment, and more money for college in the future. The military shaped my life, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the experience.”
“I served for four years,” added Steven Keene, channel account manager. “I was a freshman in high school and headed for Lackland Air Force Base here in San Antonio, Texas. We pulled into the gate on 9/11, the moment that the second plane hit the World Trade Center tower. As a young man, seeing the base jump into action was a genuinely formative moment for me. It didn’t matter what kind of disaster was happening, seeing the response and knowing that people were willing to help eventually led to my naval career.”
“I also enlisted in the Navy,” added Steve Silva, who works at Absolute as a cloud engineer. “Right at the beginning of my senior year, I didn't want to do college applications and wanted to enjoy my last year of high school. I had my sights set on going to the military despite my parents’ objections. I was in the fifth week of bootcamp when 9/11 happened and my parents’ worst fears had been realized, with the US going into a war-time state. My experience in the Navy along with the people I met during my time of service will always be in my thoughts and I cherish the people I’m still in contact with today. I spent my enlistment on the USS Wasp LHD-1, stationed at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, and completed my four years of service in 2005 as Operations Specialist Second Class Petty Officer.”
“I initially joined in 1993,” said Tom Eberspecher, a technical support engineer. “I was purposely looking for the most horrible job possible to test myself, so I went in as an undesignated seaman and spent two years essentially scraping paint on two different ships (including the last remaining World War 2 ship) that I helped decommission. At the end of my enlistment, I wanted to go somewhere other than San Diego, but there was nothing available, so I left. Years later, I joined the Reserves and was placed in a submarine unit where I served for 10 years. I was deployed to the USS Ohio for about three months and then got deployed to Somalia from 2019 to 2020 where I rode out the first part of COVID. Currently, I’m serving in the Air National Guard with a Cyber Defense squadron.”
It was wonderful to connect with these veterans and listen to their stories. There were many common threads in our experiences that highlighted for me some of the defining moments that many veterans have encountered, along with the opportunities for growth and advancement that service can bring.
Each of these veterans and their stories reminded me that the experiences we have can truly shape our lives, and even the course of history. Beyond simply paying tribute to these courageous men and women who have or are serving their countries, we at Absolute are also committed to creating more career opportunities for veterans. Without exception, these people come out of the military with incredible discipline, an enviable work ethic and highly prized skills. As they transition to civilian life, we want to be there to support them with interesting, rewarding careers.
With that, I just want to repeat that I and the rest of the Absolute team are incredibly grateful for the service of our veterans. Their contributions to our work are seen and valued every day, and we wouldn’t be the company we are without them.