PayPal Stories Archive

Meet PayPal Employee and Veteran Alex Cross
Transitioning into a new job can be a challenge, but transitioning into an entirely new lifestyle seems impossible. Yet that’s what Alex Cross did as a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who found himself facing the adversity of adapting from the military into the workforce. And today he has a personal mission to help other veterans successfully settle in as well.
Alex is currently the Senior Director of Mergers and Acquisitions at PayPal and is also the Chair of the PayPal Serve Affinity group. Before Alex joined PayPal in 2014, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 16 years and was Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps Legislative Liaison Office for his final four years, where he worked in the House of Representatives.
Why did you decide to join the Marine Corps?
After I got out of college, I worked in banking for three years and got my MBA, but I always felt like something was missing. I wanted to serve a greater purpose and a greater mission. I had been interested in the military, but the idea of joining was more of a teenage dream. Then I started to read more about it and realized that the military was what I wanted to do. I thought that I’d just join for three years and once that’s over, I’ll have served my country and learned some leadership experience. I joined shortly after that decision and those three years quickly turned into 16!
What kept you there for 16 years?
Three and a half years after I joined, which was around my time to leave the Marine Corps, we were in the middle of the Iraq War right after the attacks on 9/11. I thought, well I’m not going to leave the military when the country needs me most. I deployed to Iraq to serve my country like I wanted to, and every single time I thought about getting out and doing something different in the civilian world, the Marine Corps was offering me another great opportunity to do something really interesting, so I happily stayed.
What did you do after serving in Iraq?
After my last tour of Iraq, I went to Washington D.C. to work on Capitol Hill. I had a one year congressional fellowship for the House of Representatives and then worked as the Deputy Director for the U.S. Marine Corps Legislative Liaison Office. I was working in the House of Representatives on everything from budget policy, to policies around Women serving in “combat” occupations. It was a fascinating time.
Tell us about the Serve affinity group at PayPal.
Serve is an affinity group for veterans at PayPal with three separate goals. The first is to create veteran programs that help them transition into the civilian world, which is vastly different from the world they’ve known. The second part is around helping people to better understand the military and bring them into our community. And, lastly, we work with managers, leaders and co-workers on how they can lead veteran employees differently.
What does the transition experience for veterans look like?
Transitioning into the civilian world doesn’t take months, it takes years, and can be more challenging the longer you’ve been in the military. The transition itself is really about getting used to how the civilian world operates, especially learning that immediate obedience to orders isn’t necessarily applicable here. We want vets to understand that they can have dissenting opinions with their boss and can share their voice.
Networks like Serve can help veterans deal with these unique situations throughout the entire process.
It’s a testament to PayPal for recognizing that diversity isn’t just about what you see, it’s about what you’ve experienced and what you can bring to the table in terms of contributing to the business. 

PayPal Stories Staff 

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