Sunday, October 5, 2014

Handling the Zigs and Zags

In April I attended the Women in Aerospace annual conference in Arlington.  The conference was titled Aerospace 2014: Breaking the Mold, and it was really fabulous.  The speakers were incredible, and the conference was kicked off by the Secretary of the Air Fore, the Honorable Deborah James.  During her remarks, she shared her top 10 pieces of advice, especially in light of the mission of Women in Aerospace as a professional development and mentoring organization. Her #1 piece of advice?  Be prepared to zig zag.

In her case, she got her graduate degree in international studies from Columbia to reach her goal to enter the foreign service.  That didn't happen, and she ended up working for the House Armed Services Committee, and her relationship with the Department of Defense was born.  And she's been quite successful don't you think?

For me, I was a business major who had put personnel and finance on my dream sheet, and literally dropped the phone when my ROTC detachment called and said I would be headed to Keesler AFB for training as an Airfield Operations Officer (then called Air Traffic Control).  I was in a complete panic.  My Dad's sage advice was that I shouldn't worry, that the Air Force would teach me what I needed to know.  And he was right.  And I am so glad this zig zag happened.

What kind of zig zags have happened to you during your Air Force career?

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