“Opportunity” doesn’t call ahead, make sure you have a plan

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Kahn Scalise
  • 302nd Airlift Wing

When opportunity knocks, it usually doesn’t call ahead of time to schedule an appointment. At least it never did for me.

For me, the opportunities came suddenly and out of nowhere. Whether it was making the transition from active duty to the Air Force Reserve, landing a position at Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters, or my current assignment as the 302nd Airlift Wing command chief, the key was always being prepared.

Preparation is something I’ve learned to focus on throughout my career and I try to always be ready for what might come next. Being ready means developing my job expertise, continuously working on my civilian and professional military education and communicating my career aspirations to my mentors and leaders.

Although nothing beats face-to-face meetings and conversations with your supervisor or mentor, another way to communicate your career goals and assignment desires is through the Reserve Enlisted Development Plan. This tool allows you to let Air Force Reserve leaders within your career field know the direction you want to take in your career. They will be looked at by development team boards, education boards and key personnel lists.

Those leaders will review your R-EDP along with your overall record and provide you with methods on how to reach those goals. They will share their thoughts regarding possible special duty assignments, civilian and military education opportunities and future leadership positions.

Even though the R-EDP is only required for technical sergeants and above, I believe it’s still valuable for all enlisted Airmen to complete – it’s one of the most powerful tools I’ve used throughout my career to be ready when opportunity knocks.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you are preparing your R-EDP:

•           Think about your short and long-term career goals, education interests and future assignments you may be interested in.

•           Remember to focus on what you want to do for the Air Force.

•           Prepare your R-EDP in a timely manner.

•           Know the dates of the boards you may meet.

•           Make sure your military record is accurate and up to date with performance reports, professional military education, civilian education, duty history, point summary and decorations.

•           Be sure to share both military and civilian experiences and achievements.

I know that as reservists our time is limited, but completing the R-EDP is important because I want each and every one of you to be ready when opportunity unexpectedly decides to knock at your door. So, I urge you to work with your leadership and start your R-EDP today.