June 22, 2012

Make current job best so far in Air Force

by Col. Douglas Miller
56th Operations Group commander

Col. Douglas Miller

I have the best job in the Air Force, and I’ve had it 14 times in my career. Soon to be 15, as a matter of fact. That’s because I’m a firm believer that you make your own success and opportunities, and that you make every assignment, every job, the best it can be. Hard work and a positive attitude can make a good experience better, and can even change a nondesirable one into something great.

I’ve had bad experiences and worked with people who were less than professional or outright unpleasant. But I didn’t let them control me or dictate my actions. I had a prior boss (not my current one) who would make accusations that were incorrect before he had all the facts. Several of us chose to politely but directly point out the correct information instead of falsely agreeing with or ignoring and avoiding him. Everyone has a choice on how they will act or react in a situation, and it can be either positive and helpful, or negative and counterproductive.

Pick any situation, location, or even person and you can always find both good and bad. Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., is probably not the dream location for many people, and it was not for my wife and me as we drove there from Nellis AFB, Nev., for our next assignment. Yet, Cannon turned out to be one of our favorite assignments. Sure, it smelled like either cows or pigs depending on which way the wind blew, and it always blew, but we made some of the closest friendships of our lives and it was very professionally rewarding for me.

Life is too short to go through it wishing time away while waiting for the next assignment, job or relationship. Embrace what you have and accentuate the positives while minimizing the negatives. The “grass is always greener” syndrome can become a self-defeating habit. Make goals, plan for tomorrow, and work to make it a reality, but as we all know and are reminded more often than we would like, there is no guarantee that tomorrow will come. I am not saying to live today recklessly or selfishly “in the moment,” but rather to be satisfied in the here and now, not always needing something more and better.

There are always going to be problems, and by the look of things there will be no shortage of them in the future for our Air Force and our country, but when have there ever not been problems? My point is to expect adversity, plan for it and tackle it head-on with a determined, “never say die” attitude. The solutions will rarely be perfect or exactly the way you would have liked, but do the best you can, make it better or as good as you can, and move on. Some people will chose to complain and avoid being part of the solution, but things will never get better unless we step up and confront life’s many problems.

Luke AFB is blessed with plenty of problem solvers and people with can-do attitudes. It has been my honor to serve with you in the 56th Fighter Wing as part of the world’s greatest Air Force. I look forward to seeing you at my next “best job” in the Air Force.

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