One of the best career tips I ever learned was to take the tough Army jobs that no one else wants. Seek out Army jobs that are challenging, time consuming and difficult.
When you study most people in the Army, you will see they do the complete opposite. They play it safe. They stick to what they know and are comfortable with. They don’t put themselves out there, because they don’t want to fail!
On the other hand, when you study the top brass and top enlisted Soldiers, you will see that they had the tough jobs MOST of their career.
And what are the tough jobs?
If I had to boil it down to one sentence, it would be LEADERSHIP JOBS IN DEPLOYABLE UNITS.
Look for leadership jobs in deployable, MTOE units.
For officers, this would be Platoon Leader, Company XO, Company Commander, Battalion S3, Battalion XO, Battalion Commander, etc.
For enlisted, this would be Team Leader, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major.
On a side note, I’m not saying that other jobs aren’t important. Every job is important, but not all jobs are tough or career enhancing.
And I do know that when your packet goes before a job interview, a promotion board or a command board, not all jobs are created equal!
Speaking from personal experience, the people sitting on these boards are going to look at what type of units you were in and what types of jobs you had during your career! And if you’ve played it safe your whole career, you will not get selected over someone who has had tough jobs their entire career.
Once again, I’m not saying this is right, but it is a reality!
Good luck getting a job as a Platoon Sergeant if you’ve never been a Team Leader or Squad Leader.
Good luck being a Battalion Commander of a MTOE unit if you’ve never been a PL, CO, BN XO or BN S3 in a MTOE unit!
Does that make sense?
I want to tell you a short story to put all of this in perspective.
When I was a young Lieutenant, I served in the 64th Forward Support Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado. I was in a Maintenance Company.
While I was there, we had the Maintenance Control Sergeant Job open up. This was one of the toughest jobs in the battalion. It required long hours, high stress, lots of meetings and tons of interaction with senior leaders.
It was a job for an E-7 and I remember that MOST of the E-7’s in the battalion didn’t want the job, because of what I just mentioned.
But someone stepped up to the plate!
The guy did a great job and got promoted to E-8 shortly after finishing his time in the position.
Hopefully, you can learn something from this lesson.
Don’t be a slacker. Don’t play it safe. Don’t hide in TDA units, the school house, or non-deployable units!
Spend as much time as you can in the line! Lead Soldiers. That’s what being a Soldier is really about.
Determine which jobs will give you the best opportunity for career advancement and seek out those jobs.
Take the tough Army jobs no one else wants and do well in those jobs. Showcase your talents and you will be amazed at what opportunities will be presented to you.
What do you think? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.
*** This is part of a mini-series. Read the original post.