Career Focus: Make the right decision for yourself and family

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- On the last Wednesday of every month, I conduct a Right Decision Seminar for first and second term Airmen who are 12 to 15 months away from the end of their enlistments.

This briefing provides information to help Airmen make an informed re-enlistment decision.

The briefing begins with speeches from Kirtland's command chiefs.

They provide career perspectives and discuss factors that motivated them to re-enlist. It's interesting to hear them say that they never intended to make the Air Force a career. Instead, they intended to serve four years then pursue other dreams. However, they changed their minds after considering the tangible and intangible benefits our Air Force provides like superior benefits, job skills, camaraderie and family atmosphere. After the chiefs' introduction, attendees are given a financial management briefing.

The financial briefing introduces Airmen to prudent investment strategies. Topics discussed include individual retirement accounts, the Thrift Savings Plan, compound interest and mutual funds. This briefing provides valuable information to those who separate or stay. The financial briefing is followed by a military personnel programs briefing.

The personnel program briefings cover retraining, assignments, re-enlistment, promotions and other programs. For many Airmen, it's the first time they've heard about these programs. It's also an excellent time for Airmen to ask questions and receive solid answers. The Right Decision Seminar culminates with a benefits and entitlements briefing.

When I discuss Air Force benefits, I start by comparing civilian and military compensation plans. Suffice it to say, the Air Force is very competitive. Moreover, I discuss three things Airmen will need to do if they leave the Air Force: have a plan, have a marketable skill and education, and get a job that pays $15 per hour. If an Airman leaves with these things in mind, they will most likely succeed. Unfortunately, many of the folks I meet are not prepared.

Many Airmen separate without a plan. They fall victim to the common belief that anything different is better.

Military careers are demanding and stressful but so are civilian careers. In fact, many civilians are jealous of the benefits we have such as free medical, cheap life insurance and nonchargeable time off to attend appointments. Civilian life is different, but that doesn't mean it's better.

The Air Force also provides excellent job and skills training resources that many folks do not use. It is extremely wise to maximize your educational opportunities before separating.

Additionally, many Airmen squander educational opportunities while serving. This fact is especially tragic when the Air Force pays up to $4,500 dollars per year in tuition assistance.

Finally, Airmen intent on separating should seek employment that pays $15 per hour. An Airman with one year time in service makes about $15 per hour. Civilians who make less than $15 per hour generally have less access to employee benefit programs like health insurance, retirement plans and vacation days. Check out the following link to the U.S. Department of Labor to test this claim: www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/sp/ebsm0004.pdf.

The Air Force provides great benefits and opportunities for career and personal advancement. This is the primary message of Right Decision Seminars. I never attempt to trick or deceive anyone to stay in the Air Force. I present the facts and allow the attendees to make the decision. If folks choose to leave, I thank them for their service. For those who choose to stay, I welcome them back. My mission is to help Airmen make the right decision for themselves and their families.

If you would like information about Right Decision Seminars give me a call at 846-6636 or e-mail me at joseph.mulcahy@kirtland.af.mil. Supervisors and spouses are always welcome and encouraged to attend.

See you in the wings!
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.