By Chief Master Sgt. Tamala Hartz
97th Security Forces Squadron
How are things between you and the Air Force these days? Would you say the two of you are in a committed relationship? Are you happy with the Air Force? Is the Air Force happy with you? Are either of you thinking of ending the relationship? These may sound like silly questions, but when you really think about it, your relationship with the Air Force is a lot like your relationships with friends and loved ones. A career in the Air Force will require work, maintenance and sacrifice similar to those efforts given to our personal associations.
Just like any extensive time spent with a person, extended time spent with the Air Force will mean a series of good times and not-so-good times. There will be times when you’ll wonder why you’re in this relationship, and there will be times when you can’t imagine yourself without the Air Force. Like all other relationships, the Air Force will give and take. A few of the great opportunities you have in the Air Force that you may not find in civilian companies include: the sense of being part of an organization bigger than yourself, travel, fair promotion opportunities, competitive pay and benefits, protection from unfair work practices, and other quality of life options for you and your family. Just like in other relationships, in order to have the great things you must make some sacrifices. Throughout your career, you will be afforded the opportunity to work long hours, take multiple deployments, go on remote assignments, and be exposed to harsh work environments. It’s going to mean understanding your time in the Air Force as a process of give and take, just like you do in any successful relationship.
When you think about the key components in a successful long term relationship you’ll find it requires strength of character, putting the other person’s needs before yours, and a predominant desire for exceptionalism that makes you unique to a person. Does any of that sound familiar? It should. It basically means integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all you do. When you swore your oath of allegiance to enter the Air Force you essentially changed your relationship status to reflect a committed relationship to the Air Force and these are the requirements of that relationship.
As we move forward through challenges and endeavors, work on and treat your career as you would a relationship with a friend or loved one. Some days it will seem like you are facing the most difficult times of your life, and other times you will feel like you are truly living the best days of your life. At the end of a career whether it is four or thirty years, I hope your relationship with the Air Force is a positive one that improved your life and you as a person. Thank you, for what you do every day.