The four years I spent as a technician in the Oregon Army National Guard were some of my finest. It saw me through some great transitions, as I was hired right out of college, when I was still a Specialist. I got promoted to Sergeant, and then eventually commissioned.
That job got me through a lot of things in my life, and I think it gave me back double what I put into it. I don’t know how many of you might agree with me, but I feel that being a technician was one of the greatest blessings I could have asked for! Compared to the AGR force, the technicians get paid to do their jobs, and do it well – and directly support their MOS development too.
The only reason I left my job was because I got married and relocated about five hours away. Based on my limited experience, I still noticed things that I think would benefit those of you who continue to serve. I would like to offer some tips for technicians in the National Guard.
# 1 Stay on top of your appraisals – This is the biggest mistake that I know I made. I didn’t think of it the same way that I think of NCOERs and OERs. I was diligent about completing support forms for those – but I never once checked on my technician appraisals in the same way.
# 2 Remember that you are there to serve the M-Day mission and keep it operationally ready – In the same vein as some AGRs having issues with remembering why they are there, the technician force can run into the same mentality. By and large, I didn’t see this happening as much, but it is still something to be aware of.
# 3 Remember that your MOS development can affect your technician job, and vice versa – You have opportunities in the Army to develop yourself, and also opportunities in your tech position. Take advantage of everything you can. The better Soldier you are, the better at your job you will be. The better at your job you are, the better Soldier you will continue to be.
# 4 Take advantage of new opportunities – Not everyone is meant to stay in the same tech job for 30 years. Some are meant to move on to new opportunities if they present themselves. Or, you can look for new positions if you are interested in a new job. I know that I got told by my boss and old facility commander that if I wanted to, I could move forward. I was a GS-09, civilian (competitive) technician. I could have applied for a dual status job, or another civilian job. I loved where I was, but I could see why they recommended this to me – I am an officer and had a lot of potential to keep moving forward.
# 5 Use your PT time – This should go without saying – but most bosses are great about PT during the workday. I could choose whether to do my PT in the morning or afternoon, or not at all. I always did cross-fit outside of work, but it was nice to have time to run or do something else first thing and get my day started. This is definitely one great way to be paid to stay in shape for both of your jobs.
I think there are a lot of benefits to being a technician in the ARNG. I would like to hear more from those of you who are technicians – whether you have been one for 5 days, 5 years or 30 years. What tips do you have for other technicians, or those who want to become techs? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.