Reservists Can Take Steps Now To Ease Return to the Workplace – Maud Purcell Interviewed by Wall Street Journal

Joe Walsh, a major in the Rhode Island Air National Guard, flew home last week from the Middle East, where he had been stationed for the past six months. His family is overjoyed to have him home — and so is his boss.

“I’m ecstatic that he’s coming back,” says Sarah Fuller, president of Decision Resources Inc., a Waltham, Mass., concern that provides market research and consulting to pharmaceutical companies. Mr. Walsh, 40 years old, will return to the company in two weeks as vice president of sales. In the months that he was away, three other managers picked up his responsibilities, but sales suffered at the company. “He was the glue that held together the whole team,” says Ms. Fuller.

Most reservists and members of the National Guard hope for such a welcome from their employers when they return home. But relatively few of the thousands of people who have been called away from their civilian jobs in the past two years to serve in overseas conflicts or to support homeland defense are likely to have such a homecoming, say experts.

As a general rule, the longer that reservists are away, the greater the challenges they encounter when they return to the office.

That could be a sobering thought for the 20,000 Army Reserve and Army National Guard troops…

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