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The Perk of Being on the Sidelines

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- "It ain't my job" are words you should never hear an executive officer say. In fact, when it comes down to it, we are synonymous with being a jack of all trades.

As a direct extension of the commander, we're usually the point person to help the commander and unit operate as smoothly as possible on a daily basis. In my case, I ensure that the 45th Medical Group does just that!

In times of reduced manpower, budget shortfalls, and ongoing deployments across the globe, it's not uncommon for many of us to have a high tempo job with challenging responsibilities. Without a doubt, these two traits are the common answer provided when asking an executive officer to describe their job.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, however, it can also be one of the most rewarding jobs in the Air Force.

For example, the position gives junior officers a unique top-down perspective that is not normally afforded to others. Furthermore, it is a gateway to see how senior leaders prioritize and use their roles as decision makers in order to meet organizational objectives.

In turn, this helps shape personal leadership styles and abilities in order to grow into the senior ranks of colonel and general officers. Being an executive officer isn't always business-minded though. Meeting dignitaries on a frequent basis is definitely a perk to the job. I've met members of Congress, Presidential Cabinet members and 4-star generals; Mr. President, where are you?

Although being an executive officer might appear to be a job that is typically done on the sidelines, it is important to realize that we probably share many things in common - we're both working for the greater team and often find ourselves doing things that aren't always "our job".

Regardless, no matter what job you have, take it from someone on the sidelines - always take challenges head on and seize the opportunity to continue your personal and professional growth as a member of the profession of arms. At the same time, however, don't forget to seek out the perks along the way!