Keep yourself prepared for change!

  • Published
  • By Col. Keith Wesley
  • 934th Operations Group commander
With the arrival of 2013 come articles in newspapers and TV segments concerning New Year's resolutions: How to keep your resolutions, what celebrities are resolving to do, etc. I have a New Year's resolution idea for everyone in the Wing: Resolve to prepare yourself and your family for change.

As I look back on my career in the Air Force, I see lots of change. We like to joke about how "nothing ever changes" in the Air Force, but that's wrong. In my career, I've seen numerous bases close. I've seen the Reserve component go from being a strategic reserve to an operational reserve. I've seen the C-130 get numerous improvements to make it more survivable and effective in combat. I've seen travel pay evolve from getting cash at the cashier's "cage" to getting electronic payments via DTS.

If you accept my premise that we're living in a world of constant change, ask yourself the question, "What am I doing to prepare for change?" Here are some of my thoughts:

1. What's your Plan B? What if, a year from now, or 2 years from now, your job disappeared? Are you willing to move? What does your family want?

2. Don't burn bridges. Get your PME done, now. Get your degree done, now. Gain some new skills. Stay up to speed on your current job. If you think you're busy now, don't think it will be any easier in the middle of a major life change.

3. Talk to your boss about your career desires. Oftentimes, your boss or a friend might hear about a job opening that's perfect for you.

4. Keep an up-to-date resume ready to go. Gather a few letters of recommendation.

5. Stretch yourself. Look for a career broadening experience, perhaps in a leadership role, or an interesting staff job. You'll learn much and gain job satisfaction in the process.

6. Embrace and overcome anxiety. Change happens to everyone. It won't kill you.

7. Set military career goals for yourself: short, medium, and long-term. Document those goals with your boss via your Enlisted Development Plan or Officer Development Plan at least once per year.

Don't be the stressed-out person without a plan B. You'll feel a lot better about your personal situation when you create a plan and start taking steps to make that plan happen.