Air Force

January 17, 2014

New SecAF to Airmen: With change comes opportunity

140109-F-FC975-316-SECAF
WASHINGTON (AFNS) – The Air Force’s most senior leader gave insight into her life and shared career advice with Airmen across the Air Force during her first town hall Jan. 9.

Speaking from the Pentagon auditorium, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James spoke about her 32 years of defense experience, passing on lessons she’s learned, and encouraging Airmen to view challenges as opportunities.

James, who grew up along the New Jersey shore, originally came to Washington D.C. with her lifelong dream of becoming a diplomat for the State Department.

But that dream job never happened.

“I prepared all these years, and now the dream was busted,” James said. “… boy, was it devastating.”

With a signed lease, James had to stay in the city and figure out a way to move on with her career.

“You have to pull up your socks and get on with it,” James said. “That was when my dream shifted. I had to zig-zag in life.”

In 1981, James began her career in the field of defense.

“Now, more than three decades later, that is where I have spent my professional life,” James said of her experience, which includes everything from working for the Department of Defense to a related private sector industry.

James said her swearing in as the Air Force’s 23rd secretary is “the culmination of that period,” noting that not receiving what she thought was her dream job may have been a blessing in disguise.

James offered her story as an opportunity to talk to Airmen about how they approach their own career challenges today, particularly in the face of significant personnel cuts, forcing many to reconsider career opportunities.

“The projections are up to 25,000 reductions in personnel and hundreds of aircraft will come down as well,” James said.

With these cuts, James encourages commanders and supervisors to go make the first move, and help their Airmen.

“Reach out to them, go on the offense, and give them some advice,” said James, who encouraged mentorship throughout her address.

A theme in James’ short tenure as secretary has been opportunity. Opportunity is what set James on the path of working for the Department of Defense.

“One door closes, another door opens,” James said.

For Airmen who are looking to retire early or separate, or are worried they may be selected for involuntary separation, James encourages them to be proactive in their career, and to “own it.”

“If you don’t have enough information about your specialty and what is likely to happen in your career field, go on the offensive and ask questions until you get answers,” James said.

Although budget uncertainty means the numbers remain fluid right now, James pledged that senior leaders will strive to be as open with information as possible. Her goal is to disclose as much information as possible, as quickly as possible.

“We’re going to be transparent,” James said. “That’s our job. And get you as much information as possible so you can make those career decisions.”

James, who was formally sworn in Dec. 20, 2013, implores Airmen to own their careers, whether that’s as a member of the Air Force, or outside of the service.

“Manage your own career and take the reins so you can make a good judgment and proceed in your career,” James said. “Seize the opportunity. Don’t be afraid of the opportunity. You’ll be better off for it.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
HHM_14_Poster

Hispanic Heritage Month: Knowing the facts

In 1988, Congress established National Hispanic Heritage Month by amending the 1968 law that created National Hispanic Heritage Week. Under this law, the president was asked to issue an annual proclamation designating the “31...
 
 
4-of-11-photo

U.K. cemetery resting place for 452nd men

(Fourth in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) Thirty men killed while serving in the 452nd Bombardment Group during World War II are buried at an American military cemetery near Cambridge, England. They...
 
 

Comprehensive Airman Fitness: A lifestyle and culture

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Comprehensive Airman Fitness (CAF) is comprised of a multitude of targeted programs and activities as well as resiliency skills taught to enable Airmen to make sound choices. The program’s goal is to build and sustain a thriving and resilient Air Force community that fosters mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness. The new...
 

 

Suicide prevention takes courage, communication, official says

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Veterans Affairs Department has named September National Suicide Prevention Month, but the Defense Department continues its year-round, comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to address the issue of suicide in the military, a Pentagon official said Aug. 21. Army Lt. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, military deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense for personnel...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Megan Crusher

Padres honor Team March Airmen during Air Force Appreciation Day

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Megan Crusher San Diego Padres second baseman, Jedd Gyorko, greets Senior Master Sgt. Donald Branscum, 1st Sgt., 452nd Civil Engineer Squadron, as he took his position on the field, during the Pa...
 
 

Air Force revamps Air Expeditionary Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force will deploy Agile Combat Support (ACS) Airmen under its redesigned air expeditionary force (AEF) construct October 1. The primary purpose of the redesign was to look at ways to deploy more ACS Airmen with their units and standardize dwell times across the Air Force as much as possible to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin