Own Your Career !

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Robbie L.Hunt

I'll never forget my first feedback session with Master Sergeant Joyce Henderson who played a pivotal role in my development as an Airman. Sergeant Henderson was a no-nonsense Senior Non-Commissioned Officer who had her hands full with the poster child of an Airman who needed guidance and direction. While I can't remember every aspect of the feedback session, her words, “Don’t be the reason why you don’t get something” has been something I have echoed throughout my career.

Essentially, what she conveyed was for Airman Hunt to not be the reason why he missed out on an opportunity. Often times we look at external factors as reasons why we did not get that promotion or that duty assignment we wanted. Subsequently, in looking at those external factors, we often fail to look at ourselves and our hand in not obtaining that opportunity.

Now, I am a firm believer in honest dialogue so I’m just going to put it out there. Just because you believe you earned that promotion, raise, award, or that you are qualified for a certain position doesn’t mean you’ll obtain it! Throughout your career you may miss out on a promotion, a position, and/or educational prospect. Just because you posture yourself for a certain opportunity, it is imperative that you understand there is a possibility you may not receive it. However, you should do everything within your locus of control to ensure that you don’t eliminate yourself by taking a lackadaisical approach to your career. Frequently, Airmen request feedback from me on why they may have missed a particular opportunity. Often, the reason why many of these Airmen are overlooked is the lack of focus they sometimes have on their own development i.e. taking forever to get Professional Military Education (PME) completed, not maintaining their records, etc.  To bottom line it, a large portion of your professional development is in your hands and not doing the simple stuff can eliminate you from the discussion.

Professional development, consist of a myriad of different possibilities to you as an Airman. Upgrade Training (UGT), Professional Military Education (PME), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), Credentialing Opportunities, and civilian education are often taken into consideration by many who are considering you. While supervisors play an important role and hold Airmen accountable for UGT and job qualifications, Airmen are responsible to get their training and education completed. No one is going to hold your hand! This is especially true when it comes to getting your PME requirements done or obtaining your CCAF or equivalent.

You’ll be encouraged by your supervisors, leadership and even peers to accomplish the basic requirements needed to progress as an Airman. On the other hand, no one is going to dictate your career path. It is up to you to take control of your own career planning. This means setting comprehensive career and personal goals, moving closer to what you want to accomplish in the future. It behooves you to invest your continued education, training, and development. Investing in yourself ensures that you are ready for that next opportunity. Ensure that you do everything in your control to make that next step in your career.

Don’t be the reason why you miss out! Own your career!