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When I arrived at my first unit in the Air Force, our Operations Sergeant told me something I've never forgotten.

 

“Because you just left tech school and are so closely removed from our career field's source curriculum, make sure you speak up early and often,” he said. "The rest of us have been out on the flight line for so long, we've settled into our own ways of working. You might actually have something new to offer.”

 

This was interesting to me because it inverted something I believed to be true: the classroom (an environment of ideas) was less valuable than the workplace (an environment of action). While I still generally believe this to be true, we need to integrate ideas with action rather than pit them against each other.


This directive from ops also flew in the face of what I believed about the hierarchy of the military.

 

However, through hundreds of Dog & Pony Shows for general officers and senior enlisted, interfacing daily with QA and Pro Super on the flight line, and working directly with the Weapons Systems Officers who operated the weapons we loaded, I learned that we truly did operate under a decentralized command, not under a rigid hierarchy.

 

If you speak respectfully, directly, and knowledgeably, your ideas that lead to applicable action will be heard.

This takes some time to get right in the civilian workforce. You will stumble through it like I did, but once you discover your own way of integrating this military framework into your professional approach, you will be an elite culture add to your organization.

 

Terminal leave is too late. Do the work that's right in front of you, and see what happens.

 

✍🏼 My name is Carey Kight. I was a flight line weapons troop in the Air Force. Now I help veterans build ⚡️SKILLS⚡️ to successfully transition from service-to-civilian.

 

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