MCLAUGHLIN AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, W.Va. --
In the Air force we often hear the term “Quality of Life” used in many different situations. We as leaders must always be concerned with our Airmen’s quality of life, but sometimes I think we lose focus on the true meaning of this statement. I feel we often forget that readiness always comes first and sometimes what we do as Airmen isn’t pleasant or fun. Our work may make us hurt; our shifts may be long and sometimes we don’t experience the best living conditions. We must remember that readiness is why we’re here and our mindset makes all of the difference on how we perceive our environment!
When I arrived as a new Law Enforcement Specialist at my first active duty assignment, I was met by one of our Master Sergeants. I can still remember what he said to me that day, “You will hear people say negative things about our base, their co-workers and the town surrounding us, so let me say this, don’t form your opinion of this place based on what you hear; form it from what you experience. Only you can decide what your life will be like here.” After that discussion, I became very conscious of what I witnessed going on around me.
I listened to some of my peers complain about their quality of life on and off duty. They complained about how inept the squadron leadership, their flight chiefs and their supervisors were. I listened to them criticize the dining facility and whine about having to work the busy entry points in the heat and cold or having to watch the aircraft on the boring flight line. They complained that there was nothing to do in the area, then they’d say that even if there was something to do, because of 12 hour shifts, they didn’t have enough time off to do it! I think you get my point…
However, I also witnessed airmen who found plenty to do during their time off. They spoke in a positive way about the squadron and its leadership. They enrolled in college, went to the gym, the movies and the mall. They traveled to the beach with friends or took trips with their families, etc. These same people looked forward to participating in base training exercises, working the entry gates and relished the quiet time when assigned to the restricted area. These people were “high speed, low drag” airmen to me. Their perspective on quality of life was totally different. They were operating in the exact same environment, working the same hours and making the same pay as the other group!
I worked to adopt their positive mindset and follow their example of military life, consciously working to maintain the right attitude greatly improved our quality of life. We prepared ourselves for and expected misery sometimes. While those periods weren’t fun, they were tolerable and in the end made us stronger Airmen.
What I’m trying to say is this; are we not all responsible in part for our quality of life? Isn’t our perspective of our surroundings up to us? For example, if someone gives you ten dollars, are you going to be happy or disappointed because they didn’t give you twenty? How you feel about it is up to you.
The Air Force provides us the tools we need to get our jobs done, provides us places to eat and to maintain our physical fitness, etc. Point blank, we are responsible for our warrior mindset and should embrace the standards we are expected to uphold. Remember, the mission can’t be done if we don’t maintain the right attitude, and remember, we are here to Fly, Fight and Win!