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.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang

Airman retires after 37 years of service

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang Chief Master Sgt. Karen L. Krause, 452nd Maintenance Operations Squadrons superintendent, receives a flag from a Blue Eagles Total Force Honor Guard member during her retireme...
 
 

Look past 1947 for Air Force roots

The Air Force officially turns 67 this month, but my Uncle Gino thinks it’s older. He’s 90 and the lone surviving brother of my father. Both of them served in World War II, as did two of their siblings. My father was in the Navy, as was his eldest brother, Europeo (his real name, I...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Pilots earned top honor for WW II actions

Courtesy Photo First Lt. Donald J. Gott and 2nd Lt. William E. Metzger Jr. of the 452nd Bombardment Group, were killed when their heavily damaged B-17 Flying Fortress exploded Nov. 9, 1944, as they raced to friendly territory i...
 

 

A reminder of our 24/7/365 responsibility to ourselves and each other

All Airmen have a responsibility that last much longer than a one-month campaign. This responsibility extends beyond ourselves and includes our work environment, our families, friends, fellow Airmen and our communities. While Suicide Prevention Month is observed across the United States in September, the month-long event is a reminder of everyone’s 24/7, 365-day responsibility to...
 
 
HBI-Web-Graphic

Online risk assessment offers ways to evaluate, improve health

How well do you know yourself? Poor health is not always obvious. Even people who appear healthy can be at risk for medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Health Risk ...
 
 

Life is all about choices

Back when I lived in the rural Midwest, late September and October was harvest time for the farming communities. For many frantic weeks, farmers would be out in the fields from morning to night, trying to beat the first snowfall, gathering in the crops they had planted earlier that spring. In southwest Minnesota the harvest...
 




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