Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Remembering When...

9/11/2001...a day we all will never forget...EVER!  I was a young military officer back then, still honing the skills of leadership.  I had already been military for five years prior to that day, but it changed my service and my thoughts on what it meant to serve our country.  Every single one of us was hurt, pissed, and ready to do something about it!

For those of you whom are not military, if you have ever watched the show "Army Wives", it gives a good reflection on the daily lives and struggles of military families, albeit Hollywood style.  However, the issues are real and reflected quite well throughout the series.  Heck, there are times it makes me wish I still wore the uniform so I could volunteer for things and go back to making a difference.  The episode last year with the military funeral really rang out loud in my heart.  Then the season finale this past week hit me like it was happening for real, the storyline is done so well.

Perhaps it is the thought that my career ended with unfinished business or the fact I still struggle sometimes with the new identity of being a veteran instead of active duty.  Don't get me wrong, I love my life and where I am, but there is always the reflection where you wonder what you could have done differently.  I guess that is normal in everyone's life though.

Exactly one year after the attacks, I found myself in Uzbekistan, just mere miles from the Afghanistan border living in a tent and doing what I vowed to do that day, something about it!  A friend of mine was part of an aircrew that was flying a mission that day.  I gave him an American flag to take with him and he did.  That flag represents more to me that just about any of my medals or awards ever received in my 16 1/2 years of service.  It is properly displayed within my shadow box to remind me daily of what I have done and where I have been.  It reminds me to be grateful and to do something with my life each and every day.  I hope I keep that promise to myself, to those no longer able to do so, and to those within my life.

How do you remember and honor those lost?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Life vs Work Rewards

Well, within the past several weeks, I've been fortunate enough to finally land quality interviews with sensational opportunities.  One interview was via panel and was perhaps the most intense interview I've ever encountered.  The second one was well planned with numerous people in the process, yet it had a hint of fun in it.  I came away asking myself, if offered both positions, which would I want.  The money isn't a huge consideration because the starting salaries are fairly close, so what does one look at when making their decision...I don't know.  Here's my thoughts on weighing this hefty decision I hope is presented to me within the next few weeks.

Let's take a look at the first opportunity first, it is a senior executive position.  This is the type of position one works for throughout their professional career reflecting the years of leadership training, the time dedicated to pursuing the degrees required and recommended.  The hours may be long, but the prestige would be immediate and the impact on my professional life would be vast.  The hours and working environment are not really known yet, but I do know I would be responsible for much immediately.  This is definitely the easy choice for prestige.  Now, let's look at the other side, the personal side.  When I interviewed, I interviewed with the senior leaders in a room I was escorted to and then escorted right back out afterwards, no view of the working environment whatsoever.  There is a huge part of me wanting this position because the work is for the home community, very directly.  Yet, the job itself was a personal graitification with the job title.  Yet, I can also see the intense levels of stress which may come with the position and affect my life, my family, and my health.

Now, let's take a look at the interview I completed earlier today.  The interview and position were not unexpected, yet there was a surprise.  Part of the interview process was a tour of the facility, complete with the on-site health clinic and fitness center.  I also saw the employees in their natural work environment in addition to the interview room.  Yes, I was escorted, yet, I was not hidden from where I would spend my days.  Three words kept coming out during the interview:  professionalism, team, and fun.  Yes, I just said fun.  The leadership knows the work can be stressful for the employees at times, so they work hard to maintain morale and dedication to the work center.  In my research, I also found they were an extemely veteran friendly company, has won awards for its leadership development, and voted consistently high by its own employees.  Almost all employees had been there for over 15 years, that speaks volumes as well.  The job title isn't as prestigious, but the work is meaningful as well.

Having said all this, either position would be an honor to be invited to hold.  The first position is an individual position and the second one is held by several individuals.  So, there are pros and cons to both.  When the time comes and if the offers both come, these will all be factors I utilize within my decision making process, along with the benefits and long-term goals of the organization, my family, and myself.  Positive perspectives produce positive people, and this journey too shall be an adventure.  I'm looking forward to it!