Viewpoints: Mentors provide guidance, expectations amid new Air Force experiences

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- I started with the Air Force as a Palace Acquire intern roughly 18 months ago. Adjusting to the Air Force culture has been exciting, but challenging. There is so much to learn and remember, such as the many protocols, the vast number of acronyms, and even just navigating the two areas that make up Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. While this adjustment has taken time and effort, my mentors have made it easier, and have had a huge impact on my career.

My mentors have taken time out of their very busy schedules to help guide me. Sometimes they help by providing calm guidance, and sometimes their help takes the form of things like discussions about government resumes or expectations of the job. My mentors have also helped me to navigate the waters of career paths within the Human Resources Management field.

One of the things I appreciate the most is their help in leading me down the paths I find interesting. They also ensure I have received the proper training, and that I am on the right track with my professional military education and my individual development plan. My mentors have all had an open-door policy with me and have always been willing to listen.

I’ve learned in training that great leaders are also great followers. I consider my mentors to be excellent examples of living this principle. My mentors have a culture of transparency and give me honest feedback. I want to follow leaders that “walk their talk” with transparency and genuineness that can’t be faked or hidden. My leaders have been truthful and good listeners. They provide me with realistic and manageable expectations for the Palace Acquire program.  This, at times, has been difficult and challenging, but it has also been immensely rewarding. I wouldn’t change a thing.