Are you a driver or passenger?

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jason Truskowski
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
We all joined the military for different reasons: patriotism, education, benefits, a stable pay check or the chance to see the world. I'm sure there are many other reasons, but these are the most common when servicemembers are asked why they joined.

My career has been guided by a principle I like to refer to as "driver versus passenger." It is laid out like this: manage your career from the driver's seat, not the passenger's seat in the road-trip we call our tour of duty.

It means that the military will guide you through your career as they see fit. This is how all militaries are structured. If you choose to idly sit back and let the years pass you by, you will make rank, you will learn a valuable trade, you will obtain an education and in the end you will reap the wondrous benefits of retirement. Unfortunately, this is what I call, letting the military drive your car.

Now consider this; what if you chose to drive your own car and let the military sit back and enjoy the ride? I mean, you are paying dearly for your car, why not drive it how you want?

How many of us thought we'd be doing what we're currently doing at this point in our careers? Are you personally behind or ahead of your dreams and aspirations? I say, step out of the normal everyday job and try something new and exciting. You will personally and professionally grow while doing it. I guarantee it!

Set up a job shadow for a path you have been thinking about lately or head over to the education building and talk to the career assistance advisor about specific opportunities available to you. When is the last time you cruised through the assignments management system or critically-manned career field listing to see what was available? Try searching through those 8-classification career fields near the bottom of the AMS Air Force Specialty code list. You find a plethora of special duties available to you, in various career fields.

Bottom line: take control of your career and allow the military to help you realize your true potential and life dreams. Who says you can't have fun and learn multiple trades at the same time? Now get out there and start a road trip to someplace new.