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Change of plans

I’m writing this from an ice cream shop inside the bowling alley on Maxwell-Gunter AFB in Montgomery, Alabama.

The big news is this: I’m quitting the Air Force. I’m under contract, but it’s breakable until an actual commission is given, which wouldn’t have been until I graduated Basic Officer Training (BOT).

I did this because I realized that my career ideas have changed, and spending four years on active duty as a weather officer is no longer on the top of my list of things I’d like to do. Since getting a commission through BOT takes total committment, if you have anything you even think you’d like to do better, then it doesn’t seem worth bothering with. And four years away from home doing something I’m no longer 100% passionate about is also not worth it.

I should have dealt with this before I went to Montgomery. I could have phoned my recruiter and told him that I wanted out, and that would have been that. But a combination of not being completely honest with myself, lack of time towards the end of my master’s degree program, and stubbornness all contributed to why I continued with the commissioning program.

For the record, BOT itself is not why I quit. The program is intense and super-stressful, but it’s nothing I haven’t done before. But that stress was certainly a trigger that made me finally realize that I was taking a path I no longer wanted to take.

This is a risk. I don’t have a job to go back to. The job search has already begun, even here from Maxwell. I have career plans, but for now I need to worry about paying the bills. If that means I have to take a temporary job while I apply for stuff I really want, then that’s what I’ll do.

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