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Can you relate? An 8th Air Force Airman talks candidly about work life, challenges and value

Can you relate?

As service members we can often find ourselves in situations we have no control over. But we can always control our perspective, our attitude and how we meet that challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Lillian Combes)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Many times in the military we don’t have a choice about what challenges are thrust upon us. Many of us don’t get to choose our career field, where we work, who our supervisor is or when deployments happen. Sometimes it can be challenging to see the big picture, to remember why we do what we do, and to maintain a positive perspective.

 

The following Q&A provides an anecdote on how an Eighth Air Force Airman used resiliency tactics to make changes within himself and his work environment which was able to give him a new perspective.

 

1. What was your perspective on your current position? Did you feel undervalued or that your mission was unimportant?

I always knew that what I do is important. I try to talk to people in multiple divisions to see exactly how far my specific actions reach, as I feel it provides a sense of perspective. I just went through a time where I felt my actions weren’t appreciated by my immediate leadership, as I was seeing my wingman receive attention for projects that I had personally led to completion. This led to an admitted decrease in work efficiency as I didn’t see the point in trying.

 

2. What was your perspective on the importance of resiliency? Did you feel that it really had any impact on your career or your job satisfaction?

I felt that resiliency was very important. Being resilient is absolutely important in maintaining motivation to progress in our careers. That progression, itself, is what provides personal job satisfaction for me.

 

3. How did your perspective on your job change?

This was just a period in which I decided I should implement the resiliency tactics I had learned of in the past. I’ve always had an issue with personal communication, so I figured that was the place to start. I realized that my supervisor couldn’t know how to better serve me if I didn’t make my perspective known, so we sat down and had a mutual feedback in which we went over expectations. During the meeting we discussed my goals for the foreseeable future, and came up with a plan to see those goals through. Since then, I’ve practiced communication and goal setting specifically to increase my personal resilience. I’ve found that I’m more motivated to get things done timely and efficiently again, and that will ultimately get me back on track for career progression.

 

4. What role do you think leadership and NCO's play in this?

I think the role that leadership plays is probably the most vital aspect of maintaining resiliency. A leader who sets a standard of mutual communication ensures that all goals within a shop/section are met. Likewise, a follower who knows what standards to follow gets a boost to their resiliency and morale upon executing the vision.

 

5. How do you think we can create/change the culture at 8 AF to ensure a more resilient and valued workforce?

As mentioned before, I’d say that influencing an atmosphere of mutual communication among leadership and their subordinates will go a long way. Simple things like a supervisor learning what type of recognition their Airmen like to receive, be it awards packages or a simple verbal pat on the back, can add to a climate of value and resiliency. In general, people want to know that their actions matter, and effective communication is a great first step.

 

How many other Airmen can relate to this struggle? As service members we can often find ourselves in situations we have no control over. But we can always control our perspective, our attitude and how we meet that challenge.

 

Editor’s note: The end of this article was modified to meet localized intent; the original story can be read in its entirety on the Eighth Air Force website.

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