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Don’t be the reason why

Chief Master Sgt. Hunt Biography Photo (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. John Michaels)

Chief Master Sgt. Hunt Biography Photo (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. John Michaels)

NEW CASTLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Del. --

I'll never forget my first feedback session with MSgt. Joyce Henderson who played a pivotal role in my development as an Airman. 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 MSgt. Henderson conveyed was for Airman Hunt to not be the reason 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. Consequently, 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, just because you believe you earned that promotion or that you are qualified for a certain position doesn’t mean you’ll get that opportunity. 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, you have to understand there is a possibility that you may not receive it.

Frequently, Airmen request feedback from me on why they missed a particular opportunity. Often, the reason why many of these Airmen are overlooked for these opportunities is the lack of focus they sometimes have on their own professional development. To bottom line it, a large portion of your professional development is in your hands.

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 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. However, 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. Many times we self-eliminate ourselves from a prospective opportunity because we fail to invest in our own 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!