Career Decisions? Your advisor is here to help!

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tyler J. Bolken
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Over the course of a career an individual is often shaped by their peers, mentors, and leadership. The Air Force takes an additional measure to help Airmen navigate through their choices with career advisors, whose direct responsibility is to counsel Airmen on decisions that will affect them and their families.

A career in the military encounters multiple unique challenges, such as regular geographical moves, duties beyond a designated job, and unforeseen hardships brought on by the oath to “support and defend.” For Reserve Citizen Airmen, who often only serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year, there can also be the challenge of outside distractions and wearing multiple professional hats.

“We emphasize Airmen remember why they joined in the first place,” said Master Sgt. Camille Benton, 944th Fighter Wing career assistance advisor. “We know they have lives outside of the time they spend here.”

On top of family obligations most Reserve Citizen Airman perform a balancing act between their military career and their civilian career.

Considering this dynamic, Benton expressed how important it is for leadership to be engaging with and checking in on their Airmen beyond the few days they spend in uniform each month.

“Right now we are losing a lot of Airmen after their second enlistment,” said Benton. “We are regularly working with leadership to help build support for Airmen and encourage them to extend their service.”

To help facilitate this support there are also career advisors embedded in all of the units throughout the wing.

“There are times where members don’t even know who their advisor is,” said Master Sgt. Leah Taddei, 944th Security Forces Squadron. “Information and keeping members informed is huge.”

Taddei was the 944th Operations Group career advisor for more than three years and she says her biggest takeaway from the role was the relationships she formed.

“This forced me out of my bubble and I met outstanding people,” said Taddei. “To be able to assist across other career fields gave me a newfound appreciation for what our members do.”

When talking about retaining Airmen, Benton explained the importance of understanding the reasons Airmen choose to continue their service or separate from the military.

“I often start with asking what they need from us,” said Benton. “We have to maintain mission, but there is often flexibility and it is our responsibility to help members navigate through that.”

Benton also mentioned several resources available to members, such as Airmen and Family Readiness, “myPers” on the Air Force portal, and the Reserve Management Vacancy System.

“Retention is our number one focus,” said Benton. “The mission is the mission, but without the people it doesn’t matter.”

If an Airman needs advice or counsel on their future choices they can reach out to their squadron career advisors, their supervisors, or their First Sergeants.