I have been holding off on making this announcement for a few reasons. For one thing, I wasn’t even sure it would happen. When it did, I was afraid it was going to be taken away. Before I make “it” official, it requires a bit of backstory.
Most people who have followed me over my brief journey as a blogger are familiar with the saga of my last 2 years in the Air Force. My second year working Passenger Services was honestly the lowest point I have experienced in my life and in my 10 year career. I’m talking, pretty rock-bottom. I worked for some of the most difficult people I’ve ever encountered. It was a year of change after change after change with no real vision or direction provided other than “because we say so.” I faught to prove myself to people who really had no desire to mentor me, because I wasn’t a chosen favorite. It didn’t matter what I did, all it served was to spin my wheels and get no place. I saved the Air Force close to $200K in unprocessed funds that could have been lost at fiscal year closeout, and sacrificed time with my family to fix a program that ended up wrecked in the end. I saved a fellow airman’s life when we recieved an e-mail of suicidal intent via our organization e-mail box. In the midst of those events, amongst others, I made an attempt to salvage my career by attempting to apply for a position at the Airman Leadership School. I thought maybe if I could teach, I could find some enjoyment in my career again. It didn’t happen. My own management labled me as “average”, blacklisted for a PT failure from 2 years ago, and through some underhanded and shady handling, I was never even allowed to proceed to the interview stage. To add more insult to injury, I found out a fellow NCO applying for a similar position, with a similar record right down to the PT failure wasn’t put through the same rigamarole as I was. His paperwork was handled by the same people, who failed to scrutinize his records as they did mine. I should have blown the whistle at that point, but fear of reprisal made me keep my mouth shut. The final blow came after a massive mental breakdown. I ended up on anti-anxiety medication, which I am still taking.
I nearly lost my marriage. My relationship with my child was strained. I needed an out, and the 2 years left on my contract seemed like an eternity. So, now we are up to December/January timeframe. Money is tight, the military is looking to cut it’s forces, and low and behold my name shows up on an Enlisted Retention Board roster. I’ve been in for 10 years, I’m in an overmanned career field, and I’m subject to being involuntarily separated. I had two choices: Ride it out, let the Air Force decide for me, or volunteer and if approved get out on my own terms with some additional pay for volunteering. The difference in pay between the two options was enough that after some agonizing, the decision seemed pretty clear. It took the military forever to finally get their crap straight and at one point they froze processing of application approvals, so…we moved on with how to get through the next 2 years. Deployment, second child? Decisions, decisions.
I volunteered to separate from the Air Force, and on 1 April I was notified my application had been approved. 29 September 2014 will be my last official day as an Air Force Staff Sergeant. Pretty crazy, huh?
Song Title “Never Goin Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac