FSS and your career

  • Published
  • By By Maj. Troy Fiesel
  • 934th FSS operations officer
"People don't choose their careers; they are engulfed by them"   - John Dos Passos

I think the novelist Mr. Passos knew something about career development.   If one doesn't take ownership of their own destiny, no one else will.  That can be difficult in today's fast paced world for even the most talented executive.  Well Mr. Bill Gates, try having two careers to foster and develop. 

Let me briefly outline a few points to assist with your military career progression:

1.  It is your board, make sure you are ready!  All of us know when our next promotion is.  This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.  There are mechanisms in place to notify individuals of their upcoming promotion and what documents need to be available. However, these mechanisms are only a data point.  It is up to all of us to ensure we are "career ready" at any time.  Ask yourself:
"Do I have a current military resume?
"Is my EPR/OPR current?
"When is the last time I received an award?
"Have I completed all of the required PME and is it documented in my file?"
"Am I current and passing in Fit to Fight?"

2.  Do I have a mentor?  We get asked this a lot in the military.  I suspect some of us just have a name or two we "fill in the blank" when asked this question in an interview or when completing AF Forms.  Look at this mentor question another way.  Ask yourself, "Who is my 2 a.m. in the morning call?"  In other words, who is that one person you would reach out to first no matter what time of the day, no matter what the situation.  Is this person one of your mentors?  If not, why?  You might be missing a valuable insight.  Mentors don't always need to come from within the organization.  Sometimes those with the clearest visibility are the individuals furthest removed from the situation.

3.  Utilize available resources.  I often joke that people's concept of reality diminishes once they pass through the front gate.  We get several calls a day in the Force Support Squadron.  Some of the requests can be a little out there. Customer expectation management is something I speak to our staff about on a regular basis. The 934 AW is one of the few organizations left that you can call and reach a live individual without pressing 20 buttons.  This might be a little overkill but the point is the Air Force is catching up to the era of electronic based customer service.  Many, if not most of the actions we use to handle in person are now completed via on  myPers or VMPF.   Do you know what these systems are?  Do you know what capabilities they have?  More and more actions will be automated in the future and those not keeping abreast of the changes will be left behind.

These are just a few tips that can help navigate the waters of constant change and demands.  There are several other survival skills out there but remember what Mr. Passos said, take control of your career before it takes control of you!