'I have arrived!'

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. LuAnn Gaylor
  • 355th Mission Support Group superintendent
When I made staff sergeant, I thought, "This is it! I have arrived!" My ego was quickly squashed when my supervisor informed me that not only was I going to continue the duties I was already performing, but now I also was getting three Airmen to supervise, mentor and lead.

After several years of studying and working hard, I moved on to the next level. When I made master sergeant and joined the senior noncommissioned officer ranks, I thought, "Certainly this is it. I was shown the secret handshake. I have arrived!" Once again, reality slapped me up alongside the head when I realized I had even more people to supervise, was responsible for the smooth operation of the section, and I needed to step up my community service, self-improvement and base involvement if I wanted to get promoted again.

A few more years passed, and I thought I was a lot wiser. I had the graying hair and subtle wrinkles to prove it. When I made chief master sergeant, I thought, "Holy smoke! I'm finally a chief! I'll get a special parking spot, take long lunch hours, play golf every Friday, and I won't need to do anything extra because I'm not going to make 'E-10.' Surely, I have arrived!"

The truth is I haven't arrived. I've just begun. If I want to make this Air Force better for those who come after me and want my Air Force, our Air Force, to continue to be the best, most feared in the world, then I have to show our future leaders and the American public that it's not okay to sit back on my laurels and it's not okay to abuse the stripes I have the privilege of wearing. If I believe in our core values and don't want to become the epitome of the old adage, "Do as I say, not as I do," or one of those ROAD (retired on active duty) sergeants, then I need to:

- Take responsibility when things not only go right, but especially when they go wrong.

- Continue with my off-duty education - knowledge is power!

- Volunteer within my unit, base and community.

- Identify problems, and have possible solutions on the ready for my superiors.

- Lead from in front of my desk, not behind it and the email I send.

- Support events such as graduations, promotion ceremonies and retirement ceremonies regardless if I have a personal relationship with the stars of the show. I am a part of one team and need to support all Airmen.

- Pick up that piece of trash in the parking lot that so many have just walked by or on.

- Always exceed the standards and not be afraid of hurting someone's feelings or being the bad guy when correcting others.

In one form or another, these things have been a part of every creed we have ever had. The list could go on and on. Do I want to make "E-10?" Of course I do, and I want to not only earn my paycheck, but hopefully, just hopefully, when it comes time to close this chapter in my life, I can look in the mirror and say I gave it my all and I made a difference in some Airman's life.

No, I haven't arrived. Have you?