If you wore our nation’s uniform for more than a few minutes, you were probably bombarded with how critical it is for you to keep an accurate, organized file of all your important records, documents and awards to documents your military service. Grunts and squids move often. And everywhere. It’s a proven logistical impossibility for the military to track all your records, notably with everyone’s mobility. Even with advanced technology and online applications, is your career worth risking to reliance of the cloud?
If you had a successful career that you supported through your own organized documentation, you next were introduced to a new admin headache – the Veterans Administration; this was the next hurdle where servicemembers absolutely MUST carry their own torch; their level of healthcare would have suffered without self-advocacy. Certainly, this blog is not intended to finger point at either government agency, but to point out this advice that has long been a reality – self advocacy is only effective with self-administration. You may have been the Early Promote from your last command, but if you cannot produce an eval or fitrep to support that claim, your promotions will suffer.
So, what logic justified that you would stop keeping a thorough binder of your accomplishments, yearly performance reviews, and other important information or events in your civilian career? Were you lulled into the comfort that you’d be going the same physical office every day; hence, your paperwork should always be available there? Or tricked to think the commitment to other coworkers parallels military service?
Contrarily, your civilian career ranked more important than your military time. Unlike the routine deployment cycles and inspections across your branch, the civilian world lacks consistent or commonly recognized events; these evolutions are often time for grunts and squids to shine, and those accomplishments noted on performance reviews. Additionally, your management may not be as trained to make note of their personnel’s achievements. The sense of responsibility up and down a civilian chain of command certainly lacks what veterans have known. Finally, make sure to shift your focus: businesses serve a mission and purpose, of course, but the bottom line can never be ignored. Always be mindful of how you improve efficiencies, processes, and costs.
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