Friday, December 16, 2005

A Question for YOU

Many of you have been reading my blog for quite some time now. I have never asked anything of you the readers (well, I haven't asked anything that wasn't rhetorical) but this time I am.

In a few months I will be out of the army and with that I will also be out of work. Those of you who have come to know me have read my thoughts and rants here on my blog and with those I ask you only for help with this. I am applying for jobs the regular way as well (as much as I can here from Iraq) but I know that all kinds of people have been reading what I write and perhaps one of you knows of some career that I would have never thought of applying for, but which would be good for me.

My blog tells more about me than any resume (but I have one of those as well) and so if any one of you has a career or job you think I might be suited for please feel free to email me and let me know. My email can be found on the right hand side of this blog.

On a separate note, I am very excited about going home (no I won't be home for Christmas, but soon after...) Take care, all of you.

Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley


Anonymous said...

I hope you hurry and get home to your family, and you guys have a great new year all together. Good luck on getting a job.

Lance said...

Hello Zach,

I'm a sailor up in Washington state and have been following your blog for only a couple of months now. Great question BTW. Your prose is very good, better than most out there, certinly better than mine. Writting seems to come natural to you, so that is an option. Your very direct, very concise and what you say comes from the heart. It is this that makes you good. As too what kind of writting...thats an even harder question to answer. This might depend on your other interests. Teaching at the high school, Jr. college or even a Ph.D is certinly within your reach. The later will take longer.

Given the fact that you did ask the question of what could you do on your blog, also says a lot about you. I would bet your a helping type and might also find interests in the helping professions. If you have a rated disability of over 30% comming to you, look into vocation rehab by the VA. Take it, they will pay for your job retraining....your degree. This would open up a lot of doors for you. With your real world experiences, you might want to look at becomming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or a Licensed Mental Health Care Worker. (I'm biased towards these) They are both masters programs and in most states you can even go into private practice. There are going to be a lot of vets who are going to need some help when they get home. Most who go into the social or mental health fields at this level are changing careers. I really do see you helping others in some capacity.

Have a safe trip home!

Kristen said...

Well, you already know my suggestion. Augusta can't be THAT bad... I'm just being selfish. I just think it would be awesome if we all ended up in the same place. I need Tara, she's one of the few girl friends that I have. Plus it would be a good transition job for you. You already have all the skills required as well as the clearance and you could use your time there to figure out what you really want to do with your life while Tara is getting her degree.

Pebble said...

Hope you find something you enjoy, that's what really matters.

Good Luck,


Anonymous said...


I can also see you as a teacher, perhaps college professor in a field that has some connection to peace making -- sociology, political science, anthropology.

Or perhaps an area in which you apply your knowledge of Arabic and experience in the Middle East (although this might be more laden with difficult memories).

In any case, I wish you well.


groovygrrrl said...

Hi there :)
Not a long-time reader but I think your question is a good one... I had to make a decision recently. I separated from the military in July to go back to school. After 16 years this was a hard choice to make, giving up the pension and the medical... but my boyfriend asked me a question I'll never forget: If you gave yourself permission to do whatever it is your heart wants to do.... what would it be?
It was the most honest question I'd ever been asked. It helped me a lot. I hope you find your way... I'll keep reading to find out :)

Anonymous said...


Kate said...

I vote with anonymous. My advice is find a job you can tolerate that will pay you enough to help support your family and go to grad school for an MFA. Study poetry and creative non-fiction. Then write your memoir. Your story needs to be read.

Take care dear Zach --

aikane said...

Zach, I wish I had more to add, but from what I basically agree with the suggestions above. Teach, write, counsel (my profession) -- and possibly consider politics in some way. The country needs leadership by people like you.

You will succeed at whatever you choose, so do what you enjoy most.

My best wishes for the holidays and your return home. A great new year to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I think you would be a great writer. But, what ever you choose to do, do something you really enjoy and have a passion for, not just something to get a paycheck. That is what really matters. What ever you do, I wish you the best of luck. Thank you for the sacrifice you have made for me and all Americans and our country, God Bless and Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that people have said you should pursue writing , because you are extremely talented. My boyfriend, Nate, told me about your blog, and I have been reading it for several months. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, and that it is wonderful that you are coming home soon. Merry Christmas!

Melinda said...

If you have a passion to write, then follow your heart. However, your linguistic and creative skills can carry over into the computer programming arena very easily (I suggest Oracle, but maybe others have better suggestions). You are always free to write or volunteer in your non-work life. Good luck in whatever you choose.

globalfriendshipnetwork said...

i think you can find another job on internet . lot of sites are there ... and as you are soldier employers will love to hire you cause if govt. and country trust you why not a businessmsn

Anonymous said...

Since Arabic speaking americans are needed in the government maybe you should pursue that, plus the fact that you would be a vet will be a bonus as well.

nothingnew said...

well zach I think the question is what are you looking for? Alot of vets go the obvious route of fireman or police officer. If you have a TS you could consider CIA or FBI (and they really need arabic translators). There are also a lot of jobs with the Federal Government. You will likely have to sit for the civil service exam but as a vet you get an automoatic bump in points. I think its five, if your wounded 10 points. You can go to school, study to become whatever you want to be, MGIB will pay for it, you would be crazy to not use it. Ultimately its all up to you. You are close to earning the right to come home and get your life back, stay focused for now, and when you get out, you will have plenty of time to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zachary, Choose what you love to do and would do whether you got paid or not, that is where success comes from. Follow your heart and listen to your self and others. Certainly you love to write, communicate and connect with others. You are a linguist and have developed a love, concern, and deep respect for the language, people, and culture. Find, discover, or create work that requires and recognizes these skills and is willing to support your plan to continue your education as you support your family. Think and dream big. You are a talented and gifted leader. Decide what you want and go for it and know you can always change your mind and career. From someone who knows you well and loves you much, Mom

Jenn said...

Definitely use your military experience to advance yourself. My hubby served in Desert Storm and found the training he had received was NOT very useful for civilian life.(I suppose if wanted to be a mercenary...that may have worked.) Anyway, he left the military with some hard feelings (certainly becuase of what he saw and HAD to do while in Kuwait/Iraq) and this led to him not wanting ANYTHING to do with the military. I think he made some hasty choices. Anyway, what i am trying to say is, even though you maybe seperating from the Army, use them for EVERYTHING you can.
Use them to further your education or even to branch off into some type of civilian government job. My hubby looks back now and wishes he had done so. He ended up re-enlisting in the Guard to try and get the few years he had for retirement...but in the end decided to leave because he knew he could'nt go over there again. I'ts been a tough road.
We wish you the best of luck. I am glad that you will be returning safely and I'm sure your family is too. Good Luck and happy job hunting.
(ps check out the many government job finders on the net, they are quite helpful)
Oh and I too think writing would be good...even if on the side!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir:

Your blog is awesome.

Please run for office. That's what you should do when you come home. Because from your blog, we can see your heart.

PubliusK said...

Teach, Zach. You're already doing it and doing it well. I don't know what your educational background is but in most states, you can find a way to get certified with a BA or BS. You may have to get your Masters later. I think you are needed as a teacher and it would give you an environment where you would be encouraged to keep writing. I think ultimately that you could make a good living and contribute a lot to society by writing but until it pays the bills....teach.

Ingrid S. said...

Hi Zach! I'm so glad to hear you'll be home soon! I've kept up with your blog almost daily, even though I haven't commented until now. I agree with a few of the posts here as viable options for you. A job with the government considering your background and experience in Arabic translating would be a natural fit - but I don't know if that would be fulfilling for you. It is necessary to have peaceful and experienced voices involved in the government dialogue and I think an intelligent guy like yourself would be able to contribute a lot and have a lot of influence. I also think you would make a great teacher. I don't think I would have passed chemistry without you! And I know there's a big kid in you waiting for the appropriate outlet. You would totally be the "cool teacher." ;) The similarities between these two options in their intention are that you need to continue to speak your mind and be involved in a thoughtful process for the greater good. ... which I guess means that writing and/or a political career aren't that far off base either ... gosh, I'm not much help am I?? Good luck, and let me know if I can help in any way.

Snag said...

Sorry I've haven't checked in for awhile, Zach.
Interesting question. I like teacher or counseling. After many years of woring hard as a welder after Vietnam, my uncle finally went back to school, got his degree, and went into counseling vets with drug and alcohol problems (of which there are a plethora from Vietnam).
However, I think with many soldiers, there is a dissatisfaction with having a "job." Soldiers have to work with those who haven't "been there"; people who don't understand how to make a job more efficient; people who don't understand the idea of team. At least that's what goes through my head, however unfair it can be of me at times. And the jobs themselves don't seem to have as much challenge as your war experiences.
I guess what I'm getting at is that there is some issues that occur when separating from the service that most troops have to address.
On a practical note, the reality is that we're a service economy now, so that means most jobs are dealing with the public. You could learn to be some sort of technician, but these jobs are disappearing overseas. Trades are always good; you can't beat the money you get from pipe-fitting.
Good luck with whatever you want to do. My vote is to read Bukowski and Kerouac and go for as much school as you can get away with.

Anonymous said...


I'm in the same boat you are - trying to figure out what to do with my life after I get out of the Army. I'm trying to stay away from using my Arabic skills, though... while still staying with what I know, the big, bad government. Analyst jobs are all the rage right now, as are document translators (and you can do that in the States). But do you want a stressful, long-hour, weekend-working career? Or would you rather be a Wal-Mart greeter? (Aw, hey, that rhymed!)

Here's a website a friend sent me. It's a group of private military contractors who are on the up-and-up, as opposed to those who want to make all the cash they can by screwing the government they work for...

I recently came across a retired Navy captain working on the community relations staff for the San Diego Padres. Wonder if major sports teams would hire us enlisted as quick as they snap up high-ranking officers? That's gotta be a cool job - and as change of pace as you're gonna get!

First things, you have to decide where you want to live. I want to go to Arizona, but my parents are die-hard Floridians. So I'll end up at MacDill, most probably, passing out towels at the gym!! My mom always says that if you procrastinate long enough, something unexpected will fall into your lap. Not that it's great for making plans, but it's true enough! If you don't plan, the future inevitably happens anyway. Whatever you pick, if you don't like it, you can always choose something else later! Good Luck, and I'll see you at ACAP!


banana said...

Take the LSAT, see what your score is, and apply for law school.

Law school is not fun, it's a blow to your ego, but it would be worth it.

You seem smart enough to me to be able to do pretty good on the LSAT. I suggest getting a LSAT book with some sample exams in there to see how well you do, to see if you need to take a prep course to strenghten some areas of the exam that you might be weak in.

A J.D. will open all kinds of doors for you, from FBI to criminal defense, to all other sorts of legal jobs.

Just a thought. And don't worry about the money. the Federal Government is generous in loaning you money (that you DO have to pay back once you're out of school).

tip: go to Kaplan or Princeton Review and you will find LSAT information.

Jana Lane said...

Zach - You won't be home for Christmas? The day you are home and your wife and children are holding you in their arms will be Christmas!
On your career search, I will admit to a bias: I am a teacher. I think you might find teaching very rewarding. You are willing to invest yourself, you are very articulate about your experiences and you open to the responses of other people, even the negative ones. In teaching you work with people who have problems but you also experience their daily successses. You develop lifetime relationships with students. You get to read and write.
The person who said find your passion is right. Give yourself time to do that. Be happy.

Anonymous said...

I would steer clear of the CIA. You have too much of a conscience to tolerate the crap that they deal out. That place will truly eat your soul. Since you can speak Arabic, why not consider companies who have dealings or contracts with Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco, the Saudi national oil company, might be a possibility. Other possibilities are the State Department or the UN. In the Seattle area, where does Microsoft develop the Arabic version of Windows?
If I am reading you correctly, the army is letting you out for good? No more stop-loss? If so, that's great news!!!!

-roamer in mich

jarvenpa said...

An interesting question, Zach. Like many who have posted above this response, I recognize your talent as a writer (but I would stay away from MFA programs)--and suspect you will, whatever you do, write. The important thing (I side with your Mom) is to find what you love most to do--and if you are fortunate, this will be something you will be paid for; otherwise, if you can, cling to what you love and find some way to get a paycheck that doesn't kill your soul.
You'll make the right choice.
I am waiting for the post that tells us you are with your family at last, and free of the military. Bless you.

Tickneen said...


I think you need to wait to make any big decisions. Our governement should allow you to come home and have a good 6 months off to reacclimate to civilian life. I cannot imagine ploppin back into the states and resume where you left off after experiencing what you experienced in Iraq. People returning from the service should be treated like royalty in my mind. I don't think the government does enough. I don't think society does enough. Take it slow, take care of you.

Peace dude

Maricel said...

Do what you are passionate about. Now more so than ever, you probably realize that life is short and it needs to be lived to the fullest. A suggestion, though, since you asked... how about being a war consultant for movies? lol I know a couple people that have done that and they ended up becoming actors also. You can also get into federal... fed jobs are definitely nice...good benefits and ok pay. You already have the experience.

Daniel said...

The first thing you need to do is chill out. People with skills like yours are few and far between. A massive bulk of them don't even put their knowledge of Arabic to use, making you an extremely valuable commodity. Becoming aware of your marketability will give you the peace of mind you will need to settle down when you get home and find the neutrality from which you will sprout anew, ready to take on the challenges of job-hunting. But you will need to take that time, first. Go with the flow for a while, and when you're re-aligned with yourself, make your move.

You're a lot more than you think you are; a year in Iraq has robbed you of that perspective. Take the time you deserve to realize that. And always keep in mind that, when you choose to find a job, there will be no contest. You will be in high-demand.

Be well, and see you in a couple days.

Anonymous said...

Try teaching Arabic!!

Or teaching Arab Culture to say, some universities, or high schools or perhaps middle schools.

American kids need to open their eyes and see beyond stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Zach!!To Tara too.

Hugs from here.

colorado bob said...

What ever comes... keep this blog rollin' it'll be good you, and the fan club.

And remember no matter where you go, there you are.

Kryten42 said...

Hi Soldier,

You have a huge heart and a lot of guts. I have enjoyed your blog immensely. I was once a CO, and I can tell you that you can just about do anything you want. You have many options. The only recommendation I would make is this: Take your time, study the options carefully, and don't believe what people will tell you about jobs at face value! Ask questions, and if you don't like the answers, forget it. :) You have many skills, possibly more than you can imagine. And you are not limited to the USA for work. You could work for a Japanese company (for example), they are always looking for good translators and they pay very well. I have several friends that spent a year or two (with family) in Japan and had a good enough stake to start a business back home. I worked for Aramco for awhile (security) Pay was great, conditions sucked. Every job has it’s good and bad points (as I am sure you are finding out!) :)

Whatever you decide, I know you will think of your family and what is best for them. :) It’s good to meet a man like you, even via the internet.

Have a good Christmas, and a great homecoming!
Peace and good luck. :)

Anonymous said...

I suggest you get a job with al jazeera. Your political views are in line with theirs. You could give them first hand information of the American military brutality in Iraq: killing of innocent civilians, raping of women , torture of Iraq prisoners,use of WP inhumanely, rigging of elections, and stealing their oil. You are truly an AQ hero and will be paid well. Do me a favor, never step foot on American soil.

Anna M said...

With your experience as an Arabic linguist, I doubt you would have any difficulty getting a job at NSA, DIA, FBI, CIA, INSCOM, MICEP and probably a few other agencies. If you want to work (as a linguist) for a contractor, I believe Titan is the primary one that hires linguists.

If you want to get out of that completely, become a teacher or a blogger (if you like to write). Start by creating an interesting blog, then go visit and write on other popular blogs (Daily Kos is my favorite). Write some interesting stories (diaries) and comments on the other blogs and you will gain a following. They will follow you back (with a link) to your own blog. If you write well enough, advertisers will also be interested, and you can make a living off of it. I'm sure the process take a while, though. You might consider writing essays or a book about your experiences. Send them newspaper editors or publishers.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...


what an amazing comment!!
Al-Jazeera does not need Zach, they need people like you to prove why Americans are there to kill them.

It is people like you who divide this world into black and white, into good and evil.

Maybe this guy is your friend:

Anonymous said...



You have the heart of a man and soul of a teacher.

You diary about your friend Az shows you are very likeable even by a total stranger.

Teach Zach!!

Rachelle said...


You have so much good to offer (and have already done so much!). I agree with many of the comments above...find your passion and follow your heart. Personally, I absolutely see you in a helping profession (counselor myself) or as a teacher. You may not become a millionaire doing it, but after so much emptiness and so many tough times, I hope the final gutsy decision you ever make is to follow your heart moving forward. Do not go into a field that will tear away your soul- there are not enough of YOU out there, so we cannot afford to lose the ones we've got. And eventually, your family will suffer too as you lose more and more of who you are. You are clearly a family man- a devoted husband and father. Whatever you do Zach, include your family in your decision. You have all been apart far too long and although bills must be paid, we all know that money does not bring happiness. Your honesty, integrity, insight and genuity will take you much farther than any level of education ever could. Do not deny yourself the pride of the wonderful human being you are. You will be successful no matter what you do- just be true to you and you cannot fail. Good luck to you. Get home safely and please let us know when you are back with your wife and their children have their daddy home.


"Storytelling is healing. As we reveal ourselves in story, we become aware of the continuing core of our lives under the fragmented surface of our experience. We become aware of the multifaceted, multichaptered ' I ' who is the storyteller. We can trace out the paradoxical and even contradictory versions of ourselves that we create for different occasions, different audiences.... Most important, as we become aware of ourselves as storytellers, we realized that what we understand and imagine about ourselves is a story. And when we know all this, we can use our stories to heal and make ourselves whole." ~Susan Wittig Albert~


You are such a prolific writer. I can feel everyword you describe as if I am also immersed in the same environment. You've told you're story very well that we firmly believe that peace and love never reign in war. You don't belong to that place, go on and follow a path you and your family deserve...peace, love and abundance this new year 2006.

You've found my blog sometime ago, and it is a narration of my lifestory as well, how I struggled to survive my every day. Everyone makes mistakes. Several times I did, but I always look back, reflect, and learn from those failures and mistakes. My DIGITAL BOOK, (, was created because of a learning process. In my experiences of failing and the subsequent self-examination of all the reasons why the failure occurred, I have written a book about my life.

Let us continue to share our ups and downs in life. I will continue reading your blog, hoping to read more happy stories, of how well you are doing with your new life and with your family. Life goes on and on, never stops...

The Dreamer said...

dear zach

i recently discovered your blog adn agree with the above; you would make a helluva writer or teacher. your stories need to be told and passed down.

i'm a viet name vet and was released from active duty in 1971, faced with no job prospects, i went to college under the gi bill. my major was business with a minor in psycholgy, but my true love was programming and writing, which i have persued since then.

it's too mad that most americans don;t spend more time reading some of the blogs in cyber space. there is more collective wisdom and sanity inn the blogisphere than in all of the corproate controlled media combined.

maybe the wind be always at your back and you live your dreams

i will add your blog to the list of blogs in nightmarehall.

kindest regards from a fellow vet from a previous american misadventure.

Anonymous said...

Just happened onto your site today - you are a terrific writer. Can I echo the other posts and recommend that some sort of chronicle of your experiences be part of your future?

Of course, I don't know you or your interests, but if you're not into office cubicles and flourescent lighting you might look into some non-military government positions. With your veteran status you'd almost have your pick of highly coveted permanent jobs, as civilian Federal positions have strong hiring preferences for vets.

I've worked for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for years and found that lots of ex-servicemen and women enjoy the jobs these agencies offer.

Wildland firefighting (my job) is mostly a summer position that offers hard (and, rarely, dangerous) but often exciting work in beautiful outdoor settings with great coworkers. It may require lots of time away from home in the summer, though (but plenty of free time in the winter).

Other jobs have a more steady 9-to-5 routine but still let you get outdoors. They include Biology Techs, Recreation workers, Timber cruisers, etc. Websites with more information include the Usajobs site, the BLM's Quickhire site, and another Quickhire site for the Fish and Wildlife Service. (These names can be googled for the appropriate addresses). Most of these sites also have links to other agencies, so further browsing is recommended.

Don't know if any of this is helpful, but it might be worth looking into...

Thanks for your site. You have considerable talent and tremendous humanity. Best of luck in your job search.

Melissa McKibben