Saturday, March 18, 2017

What should my "back up plan" be?

 I’m sitting here this morning drinking coffee when just a few minutes ago a friend stationed in Fort Bragg was voicing her concerns about an upcoming EMT Certification.  I offered some encouragement but then asked something more important.  Why do you want to be an EMT after you’re done with the Army?  She replied that she learned knowledge being in the Army as a medic and that she’d be able to make a steady pay check.  I replied back “ok, I know what advantages and qualifications you have.  I also realize it’d be a good living.  I don’t want to know that though.  I want to know WHY.  WHY do you want to be an EMT?  There should be a reason bigger than that.  There is always a why, and usually another "why" behind that why.  You’re answering what makes you want that career.  Not why.  She was taken back a bit and said she didn’t really know if she wanted to be an EMT.  This wasn’t meant to discourage her.  She’s a very intelligent person, one of the smartest people I met the 5 years I was in.  I wanted to make a point though.  If you don’t have passion for your job, it’ll be that.  A job, not a career.  Half of you didn’t even pick an MOS in the Army you wanted to do ( It’s ok, I didn’t either), and then you make the same mistake when you transition.  I’m not saying you need to figure it out as soon as you’re in the Army.  You do however need to broaden your horizons a bit.  Start reading more, watch something else than Netflix or Hulu.  You could have a passion for something right now that you might not see as a possible career and it very well could be.  It took me reading books…a lot of them, and finally figuring out I wanted to pursue a path in business, finance and entrepreneurship and eventually tie in a passion for helping military members with that (hence why I'm at USAA).  I didn’t discover this until I was about 2 years into my enlistment.  I did however start exposing myself to things outside of the Army and doing self education.

Some of you are going to be concerned about this.  You’re afraid you’ll find what you’re passionate about early in your enlistment and it’ll be the furthest thing from what you currently do.  Life is going suck and go by slow now that you realize you’re in the wrong job, isn’t it? Well, yes kind of.  Hear me out though.  You can still use this to your advantage.  Start doing self-education (reading, watching, learning) what you really want to do in your free time.  For example, say you figure out you want to be a physical therapist one year into a three year contract as a mechanic in the Army.  Great, that gives you two years to learn everything you can about physical therapy through self-education and networking with local ones in your area.  It also gives you time to get your core college credits out of the way using tuition assistance.  Once you’re out you’ll be far more knowledgeable than your peers who are just now learning.  Your interests may change, and that's ok.  Starting by taking college and doing self education to prepare will still build habits in you that are a much better use of your free time.  Start today with just asking yourself what you have an interest in and go from there.