What branch of the military did you serve in and for how long?
Actually, I am currently still serving. So far, I have been in the Army National Guard for 3 years and have 3 more to go for my service, which will combine for a total of 6 years.
Why did you join the military and what was your experience like?
This may be a common response, but I joined because I love this country. I am so appreciative of the opportunities I have been allotted as a citizen of the United States and the wealth of resources I have been blessed with, I felt it was my duty to return the favor with my time and service.
So far, I have really enjoyed my experience and have learned a lot about myself I didn’t know before. I think it takes adversity to reveal who one is deep down by stripping away the superficial and comfortable qualities and making room for those qualities that make for a dependable person and a reliable leader.
How has that service strengthened you as a person or changed your outlook on life?
In more than one way the service has helped me to become a lot more independent. I initially joined while in high school and at that time I was very dependent on others for most things. Rides to school, home cooked meals and wasted free time are easy to take for granted when you haven’t experienced anything different.
In short, the military has taught me the importance of gratitude over entitlement. And really, that’s one of life’s most important lessons. When one learns to appreciate what they have rather than what they don’t, everyday seems to offer endless opportunity.
Has it helped you in your career?
If I had to boil it down, my time in the service has taught me how to work hard and be part of a team. But it’s so much more than that. Any struggle I’ve had to overcome while serving has directly translated to empowering me in my career. Discipline, determination and self-perseverance go far in the professional world and I have the military to thank for these strengths.
The first skills that come to mind are prioritization and efficiency. After joining, you learn very quickly the critical importance of effectively prioritizing your actions. The ability to separate what is necessary from what is not and making the most of limited time has easily benefited my professional career.
In regards to the latter, efficiency can be a hard lesson to learn but the service definitely helps. The military is largely based on efficiency in regards to time and money. Each must be rationed so that the greater entity can function as a well-oiled machine, and you don’t forget this behavior when switching back to civilian activities. From a professional perspective, this penchant for getting the most out of the least is invaluable. An employee that makes the most of the work day and has the capacity for seeing the “bigger picture” will be an asset to any company.
Do you have any advice for those with children wanting to serve or are considering serving themselves?
There are plenty of great reasons to join the military and a lot of great benefits that come with the decision to enlist. If anyone was thinking about joining I’d tell them to take full advantage of their benefits, especially getting your schooling paid for. The service is largely about bettering yourself and this is signified no greater than in their willingness to put service men and women through college. I’d suggest taking a step back and really evaluating your expectations for what serving will entail and what you hope to gain from the experience. Understand that the person who exits those doors won’t be the same who entered. You’ll be stronger internally and externally and the world will be ripe with opportunity.