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First Sgt. speed mentoring – it’s worth it

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

In the Air Force, professional development is a crucial part of becoming a good leader and getting promoted. That said, it doesn’t usually sound like an enjoyable time.

When my leadership said, “This would be a great opportunity for you, you should go!” (Which really meant ‘hey you’re going to this and you’re going to do it with a smile like a good Airman’). I’ll be candid, I’d much rather be at the gym running or lifting weights than go to some ‘event’ sponsored by a bunch of senior NCOs at the DFAC at 0630.

Wednesday rolls around, and I get up at 0530 to shower and drag myself to the DFAC by 0630. When I get there, I get a cup of coffee and make my way to the dining area, and I'm greeted with an empty room. So I sit down and drink my coffee because I’m already here so I might as well enjoy the quiet time.

I finish my coffee and take it to the tray return area. A Senior Master Sgt. comes out and tells me the event was moved into the meeting room.

Once seated, I notice there were only five people there other than me. Two Senior Master Sgts., two Master Sgts. and a Senior Airman with a line number for Staff Sgt. A bit confused by the lack of people, I start listening to what they’re talking about. I start taking notes on the points I think are interesting and good advice for where I am in my career.

They talked about ways to be a better leader and how to be more dedicated to your job, whether you like it or not.

This was one of the most significant points for me. Personally I don’t like the job I’m in, and as a result, my work has started to reflect my lack of interest. I don’t want to be a lousy Airman and suck at my job just because I don’t like it. I want to be good at it, so I can get good ratings and hopefully get approved for cross-training when my time comes.

Master Sgt. Thee Thorpe, 90th Medical Group First Sgt., told me if you want to be a good Airman and make it in the Air Force you’re going to have to suck it up during the hard times and get through it with a smile. You may not like what you’re doing, but it has a purpose in the mission, and that’s what we’re here to complete. Well, that’s what I took away from what he said, let’s hope that’s what he meant because what he said really resonated with me.

I went into Speed Mentoring expecting it to be a waste of time, but I was completely wrong. I now have a mentor to talk to when I start moving down the wrong path.

If you’re interested in being a successful Airman the Speed Mentoring sessions are extremely useful to all ranks. The plethora of knowledge in that room is enough reason to attend. Slick sleeve all the way up to those four shiny stars, everyone would benefit from this.

I’ll leave you with this: just go. You have nothing to lose, and in the unlikely event you don’t take anything away from it at least you got to sit down and have a cup of coffee with some new people.