Chief shares ‘Top 10’ lessons learned over career

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Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.

The 944th Fighter Wing bid farewell to their command chief as she retired after 27 years in the Air Force in a ceremony Feb. 12 at Luke Air Force Base.

Chief Master Sgt. Rhonda Hutson, 944th FW command chief, said her tear-filled goodbyes to the men and women of the wing during an emotional ceremony attended by more than 150 family members, friends and wing members.

During the ceremony that highlighted her movement up the ranks and her service to our nation, Hutson shared the top ten things she learned in her career “David Letterman” style.

In her words:

No. 10 – Don’t try to fool your supervisor by covering up dumb things you’ve done. Own your mistakes and work diligently to correct them. We are all human, but the recovery is the test of character. In keeping with that theme – words matter, especially when talking to senior leaders. Everyone fails. Choosing to learn from mistakes and apply that lesson moving forward that matters.

No. 9 – Success is not a solo act; it comes from teamwork. You didn’t get to this point in your career by yourself. Make sure you thank everyone around you – always.

No. 8 – Using a quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” People want to know you genuinely care, and they will go to the ends of the earth with you. They don’t want to know about all the decorations and accolades you have – they want to know you – the person.

No. 7 – Always be humble, kind and compassionate. Conceit is a very ugly thing, as nobody is irreplaceable. Everyone you come into contact with today is dealing with something in their lives – keep that in mind.

No. 6 – No matter how busy you think you are, take that two minutes and talk to another Airman. That two minutes could be what saves his life.

No. 5 – Mentorship is an invaluable thing. If it weren’t for someone taking the time for me, I would have had a very different and undesirable ending. Pay that forward every day.

No. 4 – Not everyone has the best intentions, but that doesn’t mean you should be the same way. Always be true to your heart and yourself. Treat people with respect and kindness.

No. 3 – There is an epiphany when you realize the difference between when you sign on the dotted line and when you truly join the Air Force. For me that was later in my career, but I challenge you all to think about this.

No. 2 – Don’t be afraid to share your story. Everyone has one filled with rich experiences. Being brave enough to do so will enrich others’ lives around you.

And, the number one thing I’ve learned in my career is that one day your life will pass before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching. Savor every moment and live your life to the fullest. You never know when your time is up.