Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Soaring Above the Rest

Nearly 13 years ago, I felt like I was “stuck” in my hometown of El Paso, Texas. I knew that if I didn’t get out of there I wasn’t ever going to leave; it was just one of those situations. The problem was I didn’t have any plans-- didn’t set up for college or anything .The February before I graduated high school, I got a phone call. Somebody on the other line asked, “How would you like to have your college paid off, and get out of El Paso?” Those two things sounded great, especially since I was at a point in my life where I didn’t know what to do. 
 I joined the Navy as a fire controlman (FC) so I went into the advanced electronics career field. I did that for a little less than twelve years. It was at that point, I was at my second perform to serve (PTS) look.  I had been doing counseling before and I really enjoyed it. FC was closed up, which meant I wasn’t going to be able to reenlist as a fire contolman. Luckily for me,  PTS came back approved  and my options for convert were NC (navy counselor)  and NCR (navy counselor reserve). I decided that if FC is not the way for me, I’ll go on to bigger and better things. I chose career counselor because I like helping people.
After being on board USS Nimitz for just seven months as a navy counselor, I was selected as Senior Sailor of the quarter. I thought there was no way that I had a chance at all, especially since I just came onboard. All of those other stellar Sailors have their air and surface warfare qualifications, and they’ve been leading their Sailors for a lot longer than I have. There was definitely a lot of competition and I really don’t know how I made the cut. I’m only doing my part, I feel like I’m only doing my part. Those other fist classes are really top notch. It’s absolutely an honor. It was completely unexpected. I’m blushing here now because I still can’t believe it. This shows me that I’m heading in the right direction. Hopefully I can influence other people to break out of the norm. If everyone’s disgruntled, break out of the norm, share a smile with somebody. Help somebody out. Do a little more than your fair share; I think it’s all about morale. That’ll boost morale in my opinion. These awards aren’t necessary, but the command chooses to do it in order to recognize the people who are going out of their way to do a good job. It also encourages others to do something else to try to reach that point. I will continue to do the same.
Being a first class, you’re expected to be a leader. When you just do the bare minimum day in and day out, everyone below you can see what you’re doing and they learn from that. If you have a whole bunch of people who are following you and see that you don’t try to do anything over the top, you don’t try to do anything above what is required; they too will be average to subpar sailors. I’ve never wanted that for myself and I can only hope that I’ve influenced other people to strive to be excellent.
I’ve definitely grown up and I’ve learned a lot since joining the Navy. If I fail, I fail my sailors and I’m not going to let that happen. I only used to talk, hang out and get all of my information from people my own age. Being in the military you have friends who are way older than you, you have friends who are your age, and you have friends who are younger than you. You get to see things in a different light. You get to help influence the decisions in a good way those people who don’t know as much.
My advice to people who are losing motivation is to just smile through it and push ahead a little more. The more you push and sweat now, that’s less you have to do later on. It always ends up working out in the long run. When I was an FC our motto was work hard play harder. As long as the work gets done, time off and all of those extra incentives will come. You just have to work.