Air Force

January 17, 2014

New SecAF to Airmen: With change comes opportunity

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James talks to a gathering of uniformed and civilian Airmen during her first town hall meeting Jan. 9 in the Pentagon auditorium, Washington, D.C. During her address, James spoke about her 32 years of defense experience, passing on the lessons she’s learned, and encouraging Airmen to view challenges as opportunities.

WASHINGTON — 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 by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Nellis readies for Red Flag 15-2

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, approaches the runway for landing during Red Flag 15-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb....
 
 

Nellis to host AF wounded warrior trials

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, British and Australian wounded warriors will convene here Feb. 27 through March 5 for the 2015 Air Force Trials. The trials are an adaptive sports event designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of seriously ill and injured military members and veterans. Nellis...
 
 

Just American: A century of Black life

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) — Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted Harvard-trained historian Carter Woodson....
 

 

Don’t underestimate importance of sacrifices

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — As I was reviewing some enlisted performance reports and decorations, I started contemplating a huge event in my life that occurred almost 20 years ago. In April 1995, I asked my then girlfriend Tiffani, a fellow Airman at the time, to be my wife, for better or worse. We...
 
 
awards

2014 NTTR Annual Awards Breakfast

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Mikaley Towle (From left to right) Staff Sgts. Jeffrey Golson and Kerri Rude, Master Sgt. James Rouse, and Cheryl Daniels pose for a group photo during the Nevada Test and Training Range 2014 ...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Nellis hero recognized in Portraits in Courage

Courtesy photo Tech. Sgt. Patrick McGillivray, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, poses for a photo while deployed in the Wardak Province, Afghanistan. McGillivray was recognized in the ninth v...
 




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